Notre Dame Football: Irish Redshirt Freshmen to Watch for in 2013
The majority of Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly's third recruiting class—the nation's 20th-ranked (per Rivals.com) 2012 crop—is primed and ready to contribute in the fall after watching from the sidelines last season.
Four members of the group—quarterback Gunner Kiel, defensive back Tee Shepard and wide receivers Justin Ferguson and Davonte' Neal—are no longer with the program.
Despite their departures, there remains an abundance of talent patiently waiting for an opportunity.
Following are a few names to keep in mind.
C.J. Prosise, WR
Originally recruited to Notre Dame as a safety out of Woodberry Forest, Va., Prosise has since begun training as a slot receiver to fill the void left behind at the position following Neal's decision to transfer.
His transition to the offensive side of the ball has been a smooth one according to Irish outside receivers coach and passing game coordinator Mike Denbrock (via South Bend Tribune):
He has really been a bright spot here -- the last few practices in particular. As he gets more and more comfortable in what we're asking him to do, there's a guy who has all the tools to become something pretty good.
Per the depth chart over at IrishIllustrated.com, which was last updated April 8, Prosise is currently slotted second on the depth chart at slot receiver behind senior Daniel Smith, a South Bend (Ind.) Clay High School product.
Prosise's position on the depth chart should hold little value, as his potential is seemingly limitless—at least in the mind of his high school coach, Clint Alexander, and Kelly (via South Bend Tribune). "Coach Kelly mentioned when he was here visiting (over the winter) that he believed C.J. Prosise was a championship-level receiver. I said, 'I know.'"
Mark Harrell, OG
Having arrived at Notre Dame at a lean 6'5" and 270 pounds, Harrell, a Charlotte, N.C. native, was a leading redshirt candidate who would benefit from taking part in Irish strength and conditioning coach Paul Longo's system.
The results of that redshirt season spent in the weight room and at the training table have paid dividends for Harrell, who has beefed up to a massive 305 pounds.
Not only did he move up on the scale, but Harrell jumped up the Irish depth chart as well.
The departure of Jordan Prestwood from the program in addition to the career-ending injuries to Brad Carrico and Tate Nichols opened the door quickly for Harrell, who is currently listed second on the depth chart at left guard behind Connor Hanratty.
Advancing to a starting position is likely out of the picture this season barring injuries, though Harrell will be in the thick of that race next spring, summer and fall.
Scott Daly, LS
It's not often a long snapper is mentioned in press clippings, but such is the case today.
Daly, a Downers Grove, Ill. native, was an undersized offensive lineman at Downers Grove South High School two years ago, but his exceptional ability as a long snapper didn't go unnoticed.
Coaching staffs around the country vary in their philosophies of offering scholarships to long snappers and Notre Dame falls among those programs which find value in it. Daly's only other scholarship offer was from Northwestern, but he committed on the spot during a visit to campus for the Irish's 2011 Blue Gold Game.
And with the starting long snapping position now Daly's—along with the fact that he's the only true long snapper on the roster—his decision to commit more than one year before enrolling as a freshman is paying off.
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