It’s been just more than a month since Irish wide receiver DaVaris Daniels was readmitted to Notre Dame:
Ready to get back to it.— Toot Daddy Fresh™ (@DaVarisDaniels) May 30, 2014
As we discussed in our power ranking of Notre Dame’s positional units heading into 2014, Daniels provides a huge boost to the Irish receiving corps. A rising senior, Daniels possesses plenty of past experience (12 starts) and production (80 receptions and seven touchdowns).
But what is reasonable to expect from the Vernon Hills, Illinois, native this season? Without T.J. Jones, is Daniels poised to post elite, Jones-like numbers?
We’ll set over-under lines for Daniels for some of the key receiving statistics and predict if he falls short or tops the mark.
We’ll set the line at 70 receptions for Daniels in 2014. In three of the last four seasons since Brian Kelly took over as the head coach at Notre Dame, a Fighting Irish wide receiver has reached 70 grabs.
|2012||Tyler Eifert, T.J. Jones||50|
However, it wouldn’t be too surprising for Daniels to fall slightly short of the 70-reception plateau. There’s a deep stable of young, talented pass-catchers behind Daniels, so there likely won’t be an overreliance on the senior.
How many receptions will DaVaris Daniels tally in 2014?
Moreover, Notre Dame’s running backs appear ready to shoulder a major offensive load, as senior Cam McDaniel and sophomores Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston combine to form a capable three-pronged attack. Their ability may result in fewer pass attempts in 2014.
For Daniels to notch 70 or 80 receptions like Jones and Michael Floyd, he’ll need to improve upon a porous catch rate, according to Bleacher Report's Keith Arnold. Arnold observes that Daniels was actually targeted two more times than Jones in 2013, but Daniels had a catch rate of less than 50 percent.
Receiving Yards: 1,000
In three of Kelly’s four seasons in South Bend, Indiana, the Irish have had a wide receiver clip the 1,000-yard mark. And while we may not be as bullish on Daniels duplicating the reception totals of Jones and Floyd, he stands a better chance at cracking 1,000 receiving yards.
How many receiving yards will DaVaris Daniels have in 2014?
Daniels has averaged 15.4 yards per catch during his two seasons on the field with the Irish. At that rate, it would take Daniels roughly 65 receptions to amass 1,000 yards.
Those numbers appear within reach for a wide receiver who averaged 10.7 yards per target playing with quarterback Everett Golson in 2012, according to Arnold, compared to 6.7 with quarterback Tommy Rees. That 10.7 yard-per-target average is more in line with that of top receivers. Jones, for example, produced 10.2 yards per target, per Arnold.
Daniels should top 1,000 yards considering his penchant for long plays, too. The rising senior has recorded a reception of at least 20 yards in 15 of the 24 games played in his career. Daniels had touchdown grabs of 61 yards (BYU), 82 yards (Purdue) and 32 yards (twice against Temple) in 2013.
Receiving Touchdowns: 9
It might seem like nine touchdowns is selling Daniels short. After all, he registered seven scores as the No. 2 receiver in 2013. But it’s worth analyzing the touchdown totals of past leading receivers under Kelly.
|2012||Tyler Eifert, T.J. Jones||4|
While it wouldn’t be surprising for Daniels to record double-digit touchdowns given the aforementioned proclivity for big plays, the Irish have a capable group of pass-catchers to steal some red-zone targets. Tight end Ben Koyack (6’5”) and wide receiver Corey Robinson (6’4.5”) present longer options than Daniels (6’1.5”).
How many receiving touchdowns will DaVaris Daniels score in 2014?
Seven different Notre Dame players hauled in touchdown grabs last season, up from five in each of the previous two seasons. The Irish appear willing to spread the wealth around again in 2014.
Still, touchdowns are a fickle statistic. Daniels could very well explode for 12, as Floyd did in 2010, or be limited to four, as Jones and tight end Tyler Eifert were in 2012 during the run to the BCS National Championship Game.
All statistics are from UND.com unless otherwise noted.
Mike Monaco is a lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco_ on Twitter.