Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly struggled to locate a go-to signal-caller during his first season in South Bend in 2010.
However, last year he found his man in quarterback Tommy Rees.
Rees finished a solid 2011 sophomore campaign with more than 2,800 yards passing, in addition to 20 touchdown passes and a quarterback rating of 133.4.
Despite leading the Irish to an eight-win season, there are major questions surrounding Rees' incumbency as the starting quarterback.
Rees will be suspended for the season-opener against Navy, after pleading guilty to misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor during an arrest in May, according to espn.com.
While this may not greatly affect the chances of Rees putting together an impressive season in 2012, the remaining talent on the quarterback depth chart may do the trick.
Redshirt freshman Everett Golson is drawing a great deal of hype, taking first team reps during offensive drills in practice according to Matt Fortuna's article on espn.com. A 2009 South Carolina all-state selection by the Associated Press, Golson is a dual-threat quarterback who could bring an added dimension to the Notre Dame offense.
Nevertheless, there is good reason to believe Rees can take his game to new heights this season.
Here are three reasons Rees will surprise in 2012.