Welcome, everyone, to the weekly One Foot Down listicle! Each week on Friday, Pat Rick and I will alternate providing for you all a listicle of the greatest/top/best Notre Dame Fighting Irish-related things we can think of. They might be more serious, but mostly they will probably be wacky (what else would you honestly expect from the two of us?). We are AMPED to provide these for you each week.
This week, I present to you all the top transfers of the BK era. These are players that made the most/best impact after they transferred into Notre Dame. Coach Kelly actually has had some pretty successful players come to Notre Dame and launch great seasons/finishes to college careers after transferring to play for the Irish. These guys all succeeded pretty well in their time with the Fighting Irish. This list takes into account their impact in college, and any professional career stats are not taken into account for being on this list.
Top Transfers Since BK Took Over as Head Coach
The “Here’s Hoping” Pick: Jack Coan
Obviosuly, we cannot yet determine if Jack Coan, graduate transfer from Wisconsin, will be one of the top transfers that BK has had. We hope that he will perform well enough to make the list. Without having played an official snap yet, we will not determine anything yet. Here is hoping that Coan will be on this list at the end of the 2021 season.
Carlisle transferred from the USC Trojans back in 2012. This was a huge get for Brian Kelly, especially as someone coming from a rival school. Amir sat out the 2012 season due to an injury, but he started to play 2013-2015. He had a decent, not great, college career. He really exploded for more receving yards in 2014 and 2015. He originally transfered as a runnin back, but got moved to more of a slot receiver role. He had 23 catches for 309 yards in 2014 and 31 catches for 351 yards in 2015. That led to 4 total TDs in his career.
Riggs transferred from the Florida Gators after the 2013 season. 2014 would be his last year in college football. This is also a case of someone who came to Notre Dame and made a good, not totally overwhelming, impact. Interestingly enough, Riggs played a full season at Florida in 2013, so he did not transfer for lack of playing time. He wanted to play cornerback, though, after playing safety in Gainsville. He came to South Bend and had 36 tackles in his graduate transfer season. That was pretty good considering that BVG-led defense tanked in the second half of that 2014 season. Riggs held overall pretty steady.
McCloud transferred to Notre Dame very recently, coming to the program as a graduate transfer for this past 2020 season. He was a cornerback at NC State, and he continued playing at that position. He made a direct impact last season in the secondary, completing 33 total tackles while having one interception on the season. Nick helped the secondary out this past season, leading to a lot of the lockdown defense we saw from the Irish in 2020 (we’re not going to go there with getting hurdled by Najee Harris, though). He transferred before the Irish became a part of the ACC for a season, but it was interesting to see a pseudo-intraconference transfer happen for Notre Dame.
BENNY SKOW. THE SKOW SHOW. Ben Skowronek was another graduate transfer for the 2020 season. He transferred from Northwestern as somebody looking to make a bit more of an impact. He gave us some solid stats — 29 catches for 439 yards and 6 TDs. Besides that, though, he was just generally a monster. He was leaping over defenders for catches and TDs. He also came in clutch multiple times. He had the physicality and the sneaky speed that Ian Book would rely on so that the offense could get a boost or a needed third down conversion. He was incredibly fun to watch while becoming a fan favorite and pretty much the next cult following of OFD.
Man. Alohi Gilman was, to me, incredible. He transferred with undergraduate eligibility left. He also did something you don’t normally see which was transferring from a service academy. Gilman transferred from the Naval Academy, having to sit out the 2017 season. He was able to make an immediate impact at Safety in the 2018 season. He was an absolute monster. He had 94 total tackles with 2 interceptions. He was one of the main anchors of an absolutely stout defense that led the Irish to an undefeated regular season and the College Football Playoff in 2018. He backed it up the next season, too, with 74 total tackles and 1 interception. Alohi was a boss leader on the team, too, and I will never forget his halftime speech against USC to make sure the undefeated season would finish out that way. Alohi Gilman was a special player and one of my favorite ones in recent memory. He balled out and gave ND fans a lot of memories.