Notre Dame Football: Most Important Returning Players for Irish in 2013

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Notre Dame Football: Most Important Returning Players for Irish in 2013
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The cornerstone of each of the nation's annually elite college football programs is a solid foundation of experience in all three phases of the game. 

For the first time since fall 2006, the Irish will likely be labeled as an "elite" team by the vast majority of preseason college football publications, most notably Phil Steele, Athlon and Lindy's. 

That distinction has been earned, as the Irish have accumulated quality depth across the board during the Brian Kelly era. 

While Notre Dame will be without the services of tight end Tyler Eifert, safety Zeke Motta and center Braxston Cave in 2013, plenty of key pieces remain for a run at another appearance in the BCS National Championship Game. 

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