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Notre Dame Football: My "Counting Down The Irish" Ballot, 25-21

Tis the season for Top 25 lists. Here's how I contributed to the best one EVER.

Notre Dame v Syracuse Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

It's August and that means that our friend Douglas Farmer is continuing the good work that his predecessor Keith Arnold was doing at Inside The Irish. That's right, it's time for Counting Down the Irish.

In an effort of providing full disclosure, I will be releasing my ballots with a brief explanation a little later each day, after Doug posts the results.

My rankings are based on the importance of the player to the success of the team. Or, at least, that's what I'm telling myself.

#25 Tyler Newsome, Punter

A good punter is as important as just about any defensive player. They are, in many ways, the first line of defense. Tyler Newsome has the ability to be a really good punter, and has shown flashes in his time at Notre Dame. Can he become more consistent? If so, he will be a huge asset for the defense and the team.

#24 Jay Hayes, Defensive Line

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like we have been waiting on Jay Hayes to emerge as a real player on the defensive line for a very long time. Hayes has never been outstanding when he's gotten his chances, but he has played well. Perhaps the change at defensive coordinator this year will be the tipping point for his success. Notre Dame needs more from its defensive line this year, and Hayes is in a position to provide that "more."

#23 Justin Yoon, Kicker

I'm actually ashamed that I have Yoon voted so low here. As a fan of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, I know all too well how many close games the Irish have played over the years. So many of those games have been won or lost by the foot of a kicker, and I'm sure there will be a few more this season. Yoon is often the difference between a win and loss. Lotta pressure.

#22 Greer Martini, Linebacker

If I was ashamed with my Yoon ranking, I am emotionally destroying my soul with the Martini rating. Martini is the "People's Champ" this year (if you are unfamiliar with my work, just be patient — I'll get to that later this week). Martini is going to start this year, and will be an incredible partner with Nyles Morgan. I will happily eat this ranking.

#21 Cameron Smith, Wide Receiver

When Smith transferred to Notre Dame over the offseason, I thought that he would become a contributor right away due to his relationship with Chip Long and DelVaughn Alexander. What is becoming obvious is that his knowledge of that offense has him excelling in camp right now, and he is staring down a starting job.