Notre Dame Football: Irish Players Poised for Breakout 2013 Seasons

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVAugust 13, 2013

Aug 9, 2013; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly talks to his players during practice at the LaBar Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame has plenty to build off from a stellar 2012 football season that brought the Irish to the BCS title game. But as is the case with any major college football program, a few major parts need to be replaced.

While obvious departing players such as Manti Te'o and suspended quarterback Everett Golson will dominate headlines around South Bend, Ind., the Fighting Irish will have to bring up a few players early on to contribute and fill the shoes of their predecessors.

Let's take a look at those players most likely to break out in 2013. 


Max Redfield, Safety

Last year, it was freshman safety Nicky Barrati who emerged as a backup. This year, all signs point to Max Redfield.

The true freshman looks to follow in Barrati's footsteps after Barrati went down with a season-ending shoulder injury in training camp on Saturday, according to Chip Patterson of CBS Sports. 

Barrati emerged as a backup last season and played a lot on special teams. Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune reported that Barrati took some first-team reps in camp this fall. 

Now, it should be Redfield who steps into his shoes. The highly touted recruit garnered four stars from as the fifth-best safety in the nation for 2013. 

It'll take a lot for Redfield to break out with a heap of depth at the position, but he brings the most to the table and has the raw talent and hype to fit in well with the system.

If there's any upcoming safety to keep your eye on, it's unquestionably Redfield. 


Corey Robinson, Tight End

With the graduation departure of All-American Tyler Eifert at tight end, there's no secret that head coach Brian Kelly is looking for young players to step up at the position.

Recruited as a wide receiver, Corey Robinson has all of the pass-catching needs at the position, and his quickness in a 6'4" frame could create mismatches. Plus he's the son of seven-foot NBA legend David "The Admiral" Robinson, so there may still be some growing left to do for the youngster.

Eifert excelled last season as a massive target who ran routes like a receiver and had the size to run over linebackers. Robinson may not have the latter as of yet and is not likely strong enough to be an ideal blocker at the position, but he certainly has the height and route-running to make for an interesting pass-catching option at the position.


John Turner, Safety

Here's another potential candidate to replace the hole left by Barrati's departure in 2013.

John Turner wasn't nearly the recruit that Redfield was coming out of high school, but as the 31st-ranked safety in his class per 247, he's not chopped liver either. 

Turner did not play in 2012, but his experience has paid off so far this season, as he's made an impression on Kelly, per Hamilton: 

John Turner has had a very good week for us. and Eliar hardy. both those guys – well, the old coaching cliché, it's not our job to notice you. It's your job to make us notice you. We have now noticed Hardy and John Turner. they have put themselves in position along with (Austin) Collinsworth, along with Shumate, Farley, where we've got pretty good depth there."

Turner was the first name to come up with Kelly as far as players other than Redfield who could step up, which means a lot given the amount of players that Kelly named after the fact.

Given Kelly's many players on deck who are ready to replace Barrati, that further proves the importance of standing out, which Turner apparently has done so far. 

If Turner can overcome Redfield's pure athletic ability, he should be able to garner some extra playing time in 2013 and potentially break out.