Notre Dame Football: 5 Irish Underclassmen Poised to Explode in 2012

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Notre Dame Football: 5 Irish Underclassmen Poised to Explode in 2012
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The term "next man in" has joined the ever-increasing number of phrases in the coach-speak dictionary. It's a way of softening the blow of losing impact players, at least to the fans and media. For Notre Dame, some key impact players are gone, including all-time leading receiver Michael Floyd and Cat linebacker Darius Fleming.

Replacing such elite players as Floyd, Fleming and others will require some of Notre Dame's young players to take their games to the next level. Some got a taste of major college football last year, while others will see the field for the first time next month.

Here are five Fighting Irish freshmen and sophomores who will soar to new heights in 2012 as the "next man in."

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