In the weeks leading up to the kickoff with the Temple Owls on September 2nd, here at OFD we’ll be giving you 17 predictions for the 2017 season for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Without further ado, let’s get to it.
No. 5: Josh Adams Becomes a 1,000-yard rusher
Even after a great first two seasons in South Bend, Josh Adams doesn’t seem to get the hype and attention he deserves. In his freshman season, he broke the Notre Dame record for most yards as a freshman with 835. He also averaged 7.1 yards per carry in 2015, which was among the top 15 in college football. Adams also rushed for a 98-yard touchdown in the home finale against Wake Forest — the longest in the history of Notre Dame Stadium.
He followed up a spectacular freshman season with 933-yard campaign in 2016. He also showcased what he can do in the passing game, as he caught 21 balls for 193 yards and a touchdown. There is no doubt that if Notre Dame had been more committed to the run last season, and if he hadn’t been hampered by a preseason hamstring injury, Adams would have been well over 1,000 yards. This will be the year he gets there, though.
Now, because of his big play ability, Adams doesn’t need 200+ touches (only Cierre Wood in 2011 has had over 200 carries in the Brian Kelly era). If he can get anywhere from 160-180 carries this season, we could see him anywhere from 1,200 to 1,400 yards.
The Irish bring back four of five starting offensive linemen from a year ago, including Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson. They also return an impressive array of receivers, headlined by Equanimeous St. Brown. They have a strong group of tight ends, led by Alizé Mack and Durham Smythe. Adams will be complemented in the backfield by uber-talented Dexter Williams. Lastly, Brandon Wimbush looks like a promising dual-threat quarterback. My point here is that the Irish should have a balanced offensive attack that should keep opposing defenses on its toes.
Adams will get to the 1,000 yard mark this year, and I’ll go one step further and say he’ll go well beyond, in the 1,200-1,400 yard range.