When the Trojans were atop the college football mountain under Pete Carroll, they were known for their tendency to play many highly-touted recruits right away—and those freshmen usually played major roles in contributing to USC’s championship reign.
Fast-forward to 2011, and it appears that the freshman mojo has flipped towards the way of the Fighting Irish. So far this season, Notre Dame has already seen major contributions from youngsters like Aaron Lynch, Stephon Tuitt, Ishaq Williams and George Atkinson III.
After seeing them play significant snaps through six games, it’s clear that these freshmen are already the real deal. And the scary part is, we still have yet to see promising freshmen like Josh Atkinson, Everett Golson, Cam McDaniel, Davaris Daniels and Chase Hounshell garner significant playing time.
Of course, you don’t want to rely on freshmen too much (see Texas vs. Oklahoma). But the luxury that coach Brian Kelly has is the fact that he doesn’t have to lean too much on underclassmen.
He can keep sprinkling the young guns into the lineup sparingly and watch them continue to play with a young swagger.