Notre Dame has been downright spoiled at the wideout position over the past few years.
Golden Tate. Michael Floyd. The Fighting Irish have been loaded for a long time.
Now, though, they don’t have a weapon on the outside that’s recorded at least 500 receiving yards in a season, let alone sniffed 1,000. Someone has to step up. Here are a handful of receivers that’ll be in position to do so.
3. DaVaris Daniels
Daniels didn’t catch a ball in 2011, but that doesn’t mean he won’t make an impact as a redshirt freshman this year. The 6’2”, 190-pound Daniels is so promising that Matt Fortuna of ESPN ranked him No. 15 among Notre Dame’s top players.
He’s an explosive playmaker—with a 38-inch vertical, according to Fortuna—and until Gunner Kiel develops and can consistently march the Fighting Irish down the field, they’ll need big plays.
If Daniels can stay out of trouble, he’ll be a keeper.
Any by the way, believe it or not, we aren’t related.
2. Davonte Neal
Neal is kind of a big deal. ESPN ranked him the No. 1 athlete of the 2012 recruiting class. He has more than enough athletic ability to make an impact from day one at Notre Dame.
Brian Kelly said he isn’t afraid to play freshmen. Neal is one of three talented first-year wideouts, but he’s without a doubt the top dog.
In a couple years, he and Kiel are sure to form one of college football’s most deadly duos, but for now, he should still be able to make an impact with Tommy Rees.
1. T.J. Jones
Jones started 12 games last year for the Fighting Irish, and he posted solid numbers. He recorded 38 receptions for 366 yards and three touchdowns across from Floyd. And because he’ll enter the year with the most experience, he’s Notre Dame’s best bet to take over as the No. 1 wide receiver, at least in 2012.
He won’t have to carry the load though the air. Tyler Eifert will gladly do that. But Jones has been able to produce since his freshman season, so as a junior, finally out of Floyd’s shadow, he could blow up.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.