Three have since been lost due to injury in starting Mike linebacker Jarrett Grace (broken leg), rotation wide receiver Daniel Smith (broken ankle), and backup freshman running back, Greg Bryant (knee surgery).
Head coach Brian Kelly thus has 72 scholarship players available entering the program's Week Seven bye. Another, freshman WR Torii Hunter, is not likely cleared for contact for 2013, dropping the number to 71.
Below is a look at the original 81, with up-to-date information for each.
Senior Swan SongsThe following 11 seniors and graduate students have concluded or will conclude their respective Irish careers by season's end:
OT Zack Martin: Has started every game of his career at left tackle, 45 consecutive after redshirting in 2009 under former head coach Charlie Weis. Should he be blessed with good health through season's end, Martin will break career starts record set by former OT Sam Young (50) at Stanford on Thanksgiving Saturday.
OG Chris Watt: Has started 32 consecutive games at left guard. Ranks among the top seven Irish players through six games played this fall.
ILB Dan Fox: Returns to the starting middle linebacker spot after a season-ending injury suffered by Jarrett Grace. Fox recorded his first career fumble recovery, interception, and touchdown last week vs. Arizona State. He ranks third on the squad with 36 stops.
ILB Carlo Calabrese: Tied for the team lead with 40 tackles including four for lost yardage. The last five weeks have represented the best of Calabrese's career.
NG Tyler Stockton: Has played in four of six games this season, his first playing time since injuring his shoulder mid-season 2010.
K Nick Tausch: Backs up junior Kyle Brindza as the team's field goal kicker. Missed his only attempt to date, a 39-yarder vs. Temple in the season opener.
OLB Danny Spond: Forced to retire early in August camp due to a severe migraine condition. Remains with the team tutoring the outside linebackers, especially those at his former Drop (Dog) position.
WR T.J. Jones: Likely the team's MVP through the first six weeks. Has 33 receptions for 481 yards and four scores.
WR Daniel Smith: Final season was unfortunately truncated by a broken ankle suffered in Saturday night's win over Arizona State.
QB Tommy Rees: Has now won 21 of the 29 games in which he was the main or dual-triggerman under center...
CB Bennett Jackson: Team captain scored his first career touchdown in Week Three win over Purdue. Ranks third on the squad with three tackles for lost yardage...
Eligible For MoreThe following 10 seniors can apply for a 5th-season of eligibility in 2014:
NG Louis Nix: The team's best overall player will, barring injury, will elect to forgo his fifth season to enter the NFL Draft at season's end. Will graduate at the end of the winter semester.
OT Christian Lombard: One of two locks to return among the group, Lombard has started each of the last six games at right guard after starting the previous 13 at right tackle.
S Austin Collinsworth: Joins Lombard as a lock to return to the fray for a fifth year in 2014. Has started the last four games at safety and five of six this season.
CB Lo Wood: Injured his ankle in a Week Two loss at Michigan and has played sparingly since. Wood's chief role at present is as a member of the kickoff coverage unit. Earned his Notre Dame degree in May 2013.
TE Alex Welch: The team's third tight end, Welch has played sparingly this fall and largely as a member of the kickoff return unit after missing 2012 with a torn ACL.
ILB Kendall Moore: Member of the team's kickoff and punt coverage units, Moore moves into a possible rotation role at Will linebacker with the injury to junior Jarrett Grace.
DE Justin Utupo: Longtime member of the kickoff coverage unit, Utupo has appeared in every game this season.
OL Bruce Heggie: Shoulder injuries have prevented playing time this season. Heggie has served as a scout team offensive tackle, guard, center, and defensive lineman.
WR Luke Massa: Serves as the team's holder and joins Welch as a quarterback protector in the team's "Victory Formation."
Juniors On PaceNine juniors have played this season and in both 2011-12 and will thus enter the 2014 season as "true seniors."
DE Stephon Tuitt: Leads the team with 4.5 tackles for loss and is tied for the team lead with three sacks while adding a (diving) interception touchdown. Is projected as a first-round draft pick should he forgo his senior season in 2014.
RB George Atkinson: Posted a career-best 148 yards vs. Oklahoma in Game Five and leads the team with 323 rushing yards and two scores.
TE Troy Niklas: Tied for the team lead with four touchdowns, just two less than the programs's all-time record for a tight end (Ken MacAfee 6 in 1977).
RB Cam McDaniel: Second on the team in rushing yards (259) but first in carries (63) and is tied with Atkinson with two rushing scores, the first of his career.
OLB Ishaq Williams: Serves as a backup boundary linebacker and defensive end while starting as a defensive end and/or inside coverage linebacker in the team's nickel and dime packages.
Kicker/Punter Kyle Brindza: Dual role has been a success to date with a 41.5 yard average in the punting game while hitting eight of 11 field goal attempts. Is 11 for 11 in his career in the fourth quarter and overtime.
TE Ben Koyack: Scored the first touchdown of his career on his first catch of the season last week vs. Arizona State. Plays regularly as an in-line tight end in the team's "12 package" (two tight ends).
ILB Joe Schmidt Earned a scholarship over the off-season; starts as a member of the kickoff and punt coverage units and played last week as the team's lone inside linebacker in the dime package after starter Jarrett Grace was lost to injury. Enters the bye week as the team's backup Mike linebacker (behind Dan Fox) as a result.
WR Josh Atkinson: Moved from cornerback in August and has served as a scout team wide receiver this season. Atkinson played vs. Temple in the season opener but not since and would thus be eligible for a medical redshirt should he suffer an injury (without playing in a game) this season.
Juniors in Class OnlyEach of the 13 juniors listed are eligible to play college football through 2015. Daniels, Grace, Farley, Martin, Springmann, Councell, Brown, Hardy, Rabasa, Hegarty, and Hanratty all sat out their true freshmen season of 2011 to earn the right to apply for a fifth year in 2015. Carlisle and Hounshell's situations are explained below.
WR DaVaris Daniels: Tied for the team lead with four touchdown receptions and ranks second behind Jones 25 receptions and 385 receiving yards.
ILB Jarrett Grace: Season ended prematurely due to a broken leg suffered Saturday at Cowboys Stadium.
C Nick Martin: Has executed every snap under center this season, his first as a starter.
RB/Slot Amir Carlisle: Played at USC as a true freshman in 2011; transferred and sat out 2012 in South Bend due to a broken ankle and has played in all six games this fall, the bulk of the last three as a slot receiver more so than running back. Has 38 carries in 2013 but just eight over the last three games after fumbling his final carry late in a close game vs. Purdue.
NG/DE Tony Springmann: Suffered a severe knee injury in August camp and is out for the season. Springmann would have figured heavily into the defensive line rotation this fall and is the undervalued missing piece up front.
CB Jalen Brown: Earned special teams duty vs. Michigan but hasn't appeared since. Ranks as third-team cornerback with the freshmen pair Cole Luke and Devin Butler as the second unit entering the bye week.
S Eilar Hardy: Has played in four games this season including an appearance vs. Michigan as a safety. Missed the Purdue contest due to suspension (violation of team rules) and the Michigan State game thereafter but returned to the kickoff coverage unit vs. Oklahoma and Arizona State. Has reportedly been passed on the safety depth chart by freshman Max Redfield, though the latter has not yet appeared from scrimmage.
ILB Anthony Rabasa: Has not played since the home finale vs. Wake Forest last season.
C Matt Hegarty: Plays as a member of the field goal and punt units but has not earned a scrimmage snap this season after missing much of the off-season and part of 2012 with a heart condition that required surgery.
RG Connor Hanratty: Has not played this season after appearing in six games last fall including each of the final four. Suffered what was reported as a mild neck injury in August camp.
DE Chase Hounshell: Has not played since mid-season 2011, his true freshmen season, losing two years (2012-13) to shoulder surgeries. Hounshell could technically play through the 2016 season, receiving two years of eligibility due to time lost to season-ending surgeries (and never appearing in a game over a two-year span).
Note: Part II will feature the team's underclassmen: sophomores, redshirt-freshmen, and true freshmen.