Notre Dame Football 2011: Top 10 Potential Difference Makers for the Irish

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Notre Dame Football 2011: Top 10 Potential Difference Makers for the Irish
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The recent preseason rankings placed the Notre Dame football team in the Top 20, but the ceiling for this 2011 Irish team is much higher than that. In order for the team to live up to that hype, individual players will need to perform beyond their current expectations.

Think back to the most recent Irish team that surprised with great individual performers. (Okay, so it takes a lot of thinking.) In 2005, Brady Quinn, Maurice Stovall, Jeff Samardzija and Tom Zbikowski emerged as legitimate stars. There are similar examples of individual excellence on every great team. 

In 2011, with lofty expectations in Brian Kelly's second year and dare-we-hope-for-it whispers of a BCS berth, these are the top 10 Irish players who need to elevate their games to make January bowling a reality.

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