Can these freshmen help Brian Kelly lead Notre Dame back to the BCS Championship Game?
Despite a berth in last year's BCS National Championship Game, the Notre Dame Football program stands to have some turnover for the upcoming season. With the losses of players like Manti Te'o, Tyler Eifert and Theo Riddick to the draft, as well as Everett Golson to academic suspension, some new faces could make an immediate impact in South Bend.
Greg Bryant, RB
With the departure of the aforementioned Riddick and Cierre Wood, the ND backfield is young and untested. Enter Bryant, the second-ranked running back in the nation.
Standing at 5'10" and 210 pounds, the incoming freshman is a power runner who could immediately step into the lineup, wearing down defenses with his tackle-breaking ability and good hands. With uncertainty at quarterback, he could be instrumental to the Irish's success.
John Montelus, OG
Guard isn't exactly the most glamorous position in football, but it sure helps to have a good one. Montelus is a massive young man, measuring in at 6'5" and 295 pounds. Praised for his feet, flexibility and size, he will most likely be the guy blocking for Bryant from day one. The only thing that may hold him back is a shoulder sprain that he is currently rehabbing from:
Max Redfield, S
With Zeke Motta leaving Notre Dame for the NFL, this No. 5-ranked safety recruit has the inside track to the starting job. Known for his elite athleticism and superb ball skills, Redfield has a lot going for him. Though he could improve his tackling ability, this freshman has very big upside for the Notre Dame defense.
Max Redfield becomes the highest-rated defensive back to sign with Notre Dame in the http://t.co/ifvnJjAc era. That's an 11-year span.— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) February 6, 2013
Unfortunately for Notre Dame, there is a lot of uncertainty after a very successful 2012-13 campaign. Still, the Irish managed to reel in the fourth-ranked recruiting class according to ESPN, so the future remains bright.
These three players are guaranteed nothing in terms of a starting job, but Brian Kelly and his staff will have a difficult time overlooking their sheer talent. Only time will tell if these three make an impact in their freshman year, but it appears that each of them has every opportunity to do just that.