Depth Chart: Irish Offense

Updated depth chart and notes for each position for Notre Dame's offense heading into Saturday's matchup with No. 17 Stanford.

Notes: (The number in parenthesis represents each player's remaining eligibility entering the 2012 season.)

LEFT TACKLE

Senior Zack Martin 6'4" 304 (2)
Sophomore Nick Martin 6'4" 290 (4)
Freshman Ronnie Stanley 6'6" 304 (4/5)

Notes: Stanley didn't play last week with Nick Martin taking over for his brother as the Irish pulled away from the Hurricanes. Head coach Brian Kelly explained redshirt rules in a unique manner (to the press) last week, suggesting any Irish player that doesn't appear from this week forward, and who hasn't played in more than three of his team's games previously, could be eligible for a redshirt designation from the NCAA. Stanley would fall under that category.

Said Zack Martin of Stanford in 2011: "As an offensive line last year we got our butts handed to us by them. We'll have a new attitude this year."

LEFT GUARD

Senior Chris Watt 6'3" 310 pounds (2)
Sophomore Conor Hanratty 6'5" 305 pounds (4)

Notes: Hanratty saw extended action in the blowout of Miami last week -- he'd likely be the first guard off the bench should either Watt or Mike Golic (below) go down.

CENTER

5th-year senior Braxston Cave 6'3" 304 pounds (1)
5th-year senior Mike Golic, Jr. 6'3" 295 pounds (1)
Sophomore Matt Hegarty 6'5" 296 pounds (4)

Notes: Hegarty saw valuable playing time last week -- he's the only varsity center returning for 2013. Said Cave of Stanford's defensive front heading into Saturday's meeting: "They play really hard. They use their scheme fully to their advantage. They're coached well. They have Coach (Randy) Hart out there. He's all about playing to the whistle and going as hard as you can. I've seen it first-hand with him here (when Hart coached the Irish D-Line in 2009), so I know exactly what to expect."

RIGHT GUARD

5th-year senior Mike Golic, Jr. 6'3" 295 pounds (1)
Sophomore Conor Hanratty 6'5" 305 pounds (4)
Sophomore Nick Martin 6'4" 290 (4)

Notes: Martin is technically listed as the team's backup right guard, but his work as the No. 2 left tackle last week vs. Miami suggests otherwise. Junior Bruce Heggie filled in at RG with Hanratty on the left side as the Irish went to their second unit in the fourth quarter.

RIGHT TACKLE

Junior Christian Lombard, 6'5" 309 pounds (3)
Junior Tate Nichols, 6'8" 325 pounds (3)

Notes: Nichols made his college debut last week in the win over Miami. After redshirting in 2010 as a true freshman, Nichols redshirted last fall due to knee and shoulder injuries. He missed the first four games of 2012 with a patella tendon injury as well.

TIGHT END

Senior Tyler Eifert, 6'6" 251 pounds (2)
Sophomore Troy Niklas, 6'7" 260 pounds (3)
Sophomore Ben Koyack, 6'5" 253 pounds (3)

Notes: Niklas is a de facto 12th offensive starter, earning as many snaps as any receiver this season with the possible exception of T.J. Jones and, of course, Eifert. Koyack played his best quarter of football since the season opener as a run-blocking tight end vs. Miami late last week.

(Z) SLOT RECEIVER

Senior Robby Toma, 5'9" 185 pounds (1)
Freshman Davonte' Neal, 5'9" 171 pounds (4/5)

Notes: Toma receives the lion's share of snaps with Neal playing an occasional snap or two in the first half of recent contests. Toma ranks fifth on the squad with 15 pass targets through five games, securing 11 passes to date. The greatest road block to playing time for Neal is likely his perimeter blocking technique as a true freshman, as Toma has improved greatly in that regard as a senior contributor.

(X) WIDE RECEIVER

Junior T.J. Jones, 5'11" 190 pounds (2)
Sophomore DaVaris Daniels, 6'2" 190 pounds (4)

Notes: True freshman Justin Ferguson has settled into a special teams role (kick return as a first-line blocker) after catching a pass late in the season opener vs. Navy. Jones ranks third on the team with 24 pass targets, corralling 15 catches including 13 for first down yardage. Daniels is fourth on the team with 19 receptions despite playing in just 14 of 20 quarters this season due to injury/scoring margin).

(W) WIDE RECEIVER

5th-year senior John Goodman, 6'3" 215 pounds (1)
Junior Daniel Smith, 6'4" 215 pounds (2)
Freshman Chris Brown, 6'2" 172 pounds (4/5)

Notes: Brown has started the last two weeks and been targeted downfield on the first drive of both. He's yet to secure (or touch) his first collegiate pass despite three targets. Smith played less last week than in any game to date, but he's shown quality blocking on the perimeter each week and could see more time vs. Stanford as a result Saturday. At present, Brown's presence indicates a pass more (or at least a run away from his side) more than Smith's indicates a running play call.

RUNNING BACK

Senior Theo Riddick, 5'11" 200 pounds (1) OR
Senior Cierre Wood, 6'0" 215 pounds (2) OR
Sophomore George Atkinson, 6'1" 210 pounds (3)

Notes: Riddick looks to return from an elbow strain suffered vs. Miami. He's first on the team in pass targets (26) and rushing attempts (68). Atkinson leads the team in yards, yards per carry, and is tied with Riddick with three rushing touchdowns. Wood is the leading rusher since his return in Week Three from a two-game suspension, amassing 213 yards and two scores on 35 carries (6.08 per rush).

QUARTERBACK

Sophomore Everett Golson, 6'0" 185 pounds (4)
Junior Tommy Rees, 6'2 215 pounds (2) OR
Junior Andrew Hendrix, 6'2" 225 pounds (3)

Notes: Rees has appeared in each of the team's five games this season, starting last week for Golson who violated team rules. Hendrix hasn't played since the opener. He led the Irish on their only two touchdown drives last season in a 28-14 loss to Stanford. Golson hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since the first quarter of a Week Three victory at Michigan State, though he played his best game to date last week in Chicago, rushing for 51 yards and throwing for 186, mostly in the first half, in a 41-3 route.


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