Douglas Farmer over at NBC’s Inside The Irish has, once again, collected ballots from 12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish media members to rank the top 25 players for 2018. I am one of the 12, and have
foolishly wisely decided to share my exact ballot with y’all.
The ballots were collected before the start of fall camp, so please keep that in mind.
#25 Asmar Bilal ROVER
- Actual: Jonathan Bonner DT
I believe I am the only one that ranked Asmar Bilal. As of today, he is still the starting ROVER, but is some major competition heading his way. Perhaps my ranking is based more on hope than reality — but what is the #25 ranking for if not for that? Bilal has the athleticism to be great, but has struggled in coverage in the past.
#24 Houston Griffith SAFETY
- Actual: Tyler Newsome P
The idea of Griffith becoming a starter at safety is still a bit up in the air. There is no question that he will play early and often. At any rate, he’s still a freshman. As poor as the safety play has been at times for the Irish over the last few years, winning the starting job doesn’t mean an automatic jump in stature — even if the player is ridiculously talented like Griffith.
#23 Miles Boykin WR
- Actual: Liam Eichenberg LT
I ranked Boykin lower than any of the other voters. After what has been going on at fall camp, I already regret the decision. My thinking at the time was that we were all placing too high a value on what Boykin did to win the bowl game against the LSU Tigers. If that game wouldn’t have happened, would so many of us think of Boykin as a playmaking / game-changing wide receiver? I will be thrilled to be proven wrong.
#22 Jafar Armstrong RB
- Actual: Tommy Kraemer RG
With certain loss of Dexter Williams to start the season, Notre Dame will need more than just Tony Jones Jr. in the offensive backfield. While Armstrong has never took a carry in college, I think he has a lot of potential to be a player that can provide a lot of help, and a lot of game-breaking speed at running back. In fact, I’m just about sold that Armstrong will end up having a really, really good season. There have been comparisons to Josh Adams in terms of his “one cut and go” style. I like that.
#21 Liam Eichenberg LT
- Actual: Justin Yoon K
After the losses of Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson to the NFL, there is some uncertainty along the Irish offensive line. Eichenberg was beat out last year at right tackle by both Tommy Kraemer and Robert Hainsey. That isn’t a terrible thing, but it doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence moving forward either. Eichenberg is the starter at left tackle, and we are just going to have to see what he brings to the game.
- Michael Bryan, 18 Stripes
- Bryan Driskell, Blue & Gold Illustrated
- Matt Freeman, Irish Sports Daily
- Elizabeth Greason, The Observer
- Tyler James, South Bend Tribune
- Laken Litman, Indianapolis Star
- Tim O’Malley, Irish Illustrated
- LaMond Pope, Chicago Tribune
- Ryan Ritter, Her Loyal Sons
- Pete Sampson, The Athletic
- John Vannie, ND Nation
- Joshua Vowles, One Foot Down