Notre Dame Football: Post-Spring Two-Deep Depth Chart

Matt SmithCorrespondent IIIApril 22, 2013

Notre Dame Football: Post-Spring Two-Deep Depth Chart

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    Another spring has come and gone for Notre Dame football.

    Now the long wait begins until the start of fall camp in early August, leading up to the season opener on Aug. 31 when Temple comes to Notre Dame Stadium.

    The Irish had a productive 15 practices over the past month, but question marks remain, primarily at the skill positions.

    Where do things stand as the team breaks from formal football activities for the next three months? Let's look at how the preseason depth chart projects coming out of the spring.

    Note: Class designations do not reflect any redshirt years taken.

Quarterback

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    1. Everett Golson (Jr.)

    2. Tommy Rees (Sr.)

    Barring a significant injury to Golson, Notre Dame is in pretty good shape under center. While Rees might be short on talent, he certainly isn't lacking big-game experience, having led Notre Dame victories against Miami, Michigan and USC.

Running Back

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    1. George Atkinson III (Jr.)

    2. Cam McDaniel (Jr.)

    Atkinson III still hasn't shown that he can be a feature back despite being one of the fastest players on the team. McDaniel has shown he can be an effective runner between the tackles and can also contribute in the passing game. Amir Carlisle will somehow be involved, either here or at slot receiver if his collarbone is fully healed by August.

Wide Receiver

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    1. T.J. Jones (Sr.)

    2. Daniel Smith (Sr.)

    With a strong performance in the BCS National Championship Game, Jones showed late last season that he can be a No. 1 receiver. Smith doesn't have great speed but his size will get him on the field this fall.

Wide Receiver

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    1. DaVaris Daniels (Jr.)

    2. Chris Brown (So.)

    It took a little while, but the light appears to be shining brightly now for Daniels, who also had a strong close to the 2012 season. Brown needs to become a little more versatile, but his speed makes him a legitimate deep threat.

Wide Receiver

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    1. C.J. Prosise (So.)

    2. James Onwualu (Fr.)

    This position could be used as a second tight end spot, but that will remain in limbo until the fall. Prosise picked up his new position quickly after shifting from defensive back, but he still needs some polish if Notre Dame wants to use fewer two-tight end sets this season.

Tight End

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    1. Troy Niklas (Jr.)

    2. Alex Welch (Sr.)

    The 6'7" Niklas should be able to ease the loss of All-American Tyler Eifert despite not being able to stretch the field quite as much as Eifert. Welch is the best blocker of the group at tight end and should be 100 percent by the fall after a knee injury cost him the 2012 season.

Left Tackle

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    1. Zack Martin (Sr.)

    2. Ronnie Stanley (So.)

    Martin is a rock on the left side of the line. Stanley saw some early action last season and should be the heir apparent to Martin in 2014.

Left Guard

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    1. Chris Watt (Sr.)

    2. Ronnie Stanley (So.)

    With Watt having to miss the Blue-Gold Game, it was Stanley who assumed the starting role. If either of Notre Dame's dynamic duo on the left side goes down this season, Stanley should be the first man in at either spot.

Center

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    1. Nick Martin (Jr.)

    2. Matt Hegarty (Jr.)

    Martin has seized the role vacated by three-year starter Braxston Cave this spring. Hegarty appears serviceable as well, perhaps leaving the Irish in better shape than they thought they would be coming out of the spring.

Right Guard

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    1. Conor Hanratty (Jr.)

    2. Mark Harrell (So.)

    This is really the only remaining question mark along the offensive line. It's Hanratty's job to lose heading into the fall, but Christian Lombard's ability to move inside from tackle gives the Irish some added flexibility here.

Right Tackle

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    1. Christian Lombard (Sr.)

    2. Steve Elmer (Fr.)

    With 13 starts, Notre Dame would prefer to keep Lombard on the outside. A season-ending injury to teh senior could shift Stanley over to the right side, but Elmer has shown in his first spring that he can immediately be a capable No. 2 tackle.

Defensive End

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    1. Stephon Tuitt (Jr.)

    2. Jarron Jones (So.)

    Anything short of a first-team or second-team All-American season for Tuitt would be a disappointment. Depth is a bit of a concern, as Jones has yet to show that he can be a regular contributor.

Nose Tackle

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    1. Louis Nix (Sr.)

    2. Kona Schwenke (Sr.)

    "Irish Chocolate" won't be scoring many points this fall like he did in the Blue-Gold Game but he might be the best nose tackle in college football. Schwenke is 50 pounds lighter, but can help spell Nix.

Defensive End

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    1. Sheldon Day (So.)

    2. Tony Springmann (Jr.)

    If Day becomes more consistent, he can be nearly as productive as Tuitt. Springmann is an overachiever who has outperformed expectations. Incoming freshman Eddie Vanderdoes could push both Jones and Springmann when he arrives in the summer.

Cat Linebacker

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    1. Prince Shembo (Sr.)

    2. Ishaq Williams (Jr.)

    Notre Dame has two elite talents at perhaps the most critical position on its defense. Shembo doesn't always get the credit he deserves playing alongside Nix and Tuitt.

Will Linebacker

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    1. Dan Fox (Sr.)

    2. Carlo Calabrese (Sr.)

    The platoon situation will continue in 2013 with the pair of fifth-year seniors. Fox is better in pass coverage while Calabrese  excels against the run, as Atkinson III learned the hard way in the Blue-Gold Game.

Mike Linebacker

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    1. Jarrett Grace (Jr.)

    2. Kendall Moore (Sr.)

    There isn't much depth here, but Notre Dames likes what it has in Grace. Replacing Manti Te'o is an unenviable task, but Grace's run-stopping ability should help ease the transition.

Dog Linebacker

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    1. Danny Spond (Sr.)

    2. Ben Councell (Jr.)

    While Spond was one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2012 season, Councell was one of the most pleasant surprises this spring. The ability of this pair will allow the Irish to take their time with developing star freshman Jaylon Smith

Cornerback

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    1. Bennett Jackson (Sr.)

    2. Lo Wood (Sr.)

    Jackson missed the spring after undergoing shoulder surgery but will be healthy in the fall. Wood was a projected starter last season before a foot injury in August.

Cornerback

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    1. KeiVarae Russell (So.)

    2. Josh Atkinson (Jr.)

    The foresight to move Russell to cornerback last summer is about to pay huge dividends as the sophomore continues to get better. Atkinson will be fighting with fellow junior Jalen Brown to hold off a trio of freshmen for the No. 4 cornerback spot.

Safety

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    1. Matthias Farley (Jr.)

    2. Austin Collinsworth (Sr.)

    Notre Dame will demand more of its safeties this year and Farley appears ready to take another sizable leap forward. Collinsworth should be involved in nickel packages this fall after a shoulder injury caused him to miss last season.

Safety

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    1. Elijah Shumate (So.)

    2. Eilar Hardy (Jr.)

    True freshman Max Redfield could throw his name into the hat here but Shumate has the edge to start the season opener. The Irish still aren't quite sure what they have in Hardy, who should be ready to contribute now two years removed from a torn ACL.