Freshman WR #15 Corey HolmesBall skills? Check. Height, athleticism? Check, check. Experience vs. top competition? Check, and then some. College-ready body and a weak positional depth chart? Probably not, and not even close. Holmes will have to be a camp standout to earn time among this crop of Irish receivers considering the inherent advantage of time each has over him. And their collective talent matches.
Realistic Ceiling: Enters camp "behind" seven non-freshman plus classmate and early enrollee Justin Brent, so Saturday playing time would be a lofty goal.
Other side of the coin: A redshirt-season, which would likely benefit both Holmes and the program greatly down the road.
Sophomore WR #16 Torii Hunter, Jr.Ranks among 10 relative rookies (true or redshirt-freshmen) for fans to keep an eye on throughout August camp. Hunter will be 19 months removed from breaking his femur when the Irish begin the session on August 4 -- it seems realistic to expect his best is yet to come in an Irish uniform after he impressed head coach Brian Kelly last December, but failed to capitalize (at least noticeably) on that momentum during the 2014 spring session.
Realistic Ceiling: A weekly role in Notre Dame's 6-or 7-player deep game day receiver rotation. Perhaps in-season momentum gained as a slot option alongside Amir Carlisle and C.J. Prosise. Potential for lead punt return duties.
Other side of the coin: Definitive No. 8 (or No 9) receiver status, and thus, spot duty.
Junior NT #94 Jarron JonesThere's Jaylon Smith. There's Sheldon Day. And there's Jarron Jones. No, those aren't Notre Dame's three best players, (two of them likely are) but they might be the three most important in terms of 2014 success because adequate backups aren't readily available for any of the trio.
Notre Dame is a deep, talented, young squad, but you don't win with rookie nose tackles. Jones has to be solid at worst for the Irish to reach their goals this fall.
Realistic Ceiling: Definitive top 15 player (on the roster) at season's end. Notre Dame challenges for a spot in college football's inaugural Final Four as a result.
Other side of the coin: Intermittent struggles which would make Notre Dame highly susceptible to run-oriented teams and/or balanced attacks.
Freshman QB #14 DeShone KizerIf he plays, something went wrong. Kizer is a strong prospect but he'd doubtless be overmatched against the daunting 12-game slate the Irish will face. Moreover, there are no plans for him to play in 2014 -- any action would jeopardize a redshirt season and greatly impact his 2016 and 2017 status on the roster. (He'd be pitted vs. Malik Zaire: one of the two likely wouldn't concede as a career backup, and history tells us, a transfer would follow.)
Previous high-profile Irish recruits Dayne Crist, Everett Golson, Gunner Kiel, and Malik Zaire each redshirted as freshmen. Expect Kizer to follow suit.
Realistic Ceiling: Scout Team Player of the Year. A much-needed redshirt season which would prove of great aid to his development and chance to some day start in South Bend.
Other side of the coin: Thrown into action and thus burns a season of eligibility which would place him in the same eligibility class as Zaire, something the staff hopes to avoid. Further, injuries to Everett Golson and thereafter Zaire would not bode well against at least 10 teams on the Irish schedule.
Senior TE #18 Ben KoyackOne of the team's 10 best projected players entering August and a no-doubt starter, Koyack's emergence from Game Five last fall (Oklahoma) through season's end was a bright spot in Notre Dame's four-loss 2013 campaign. Expect Koyack to be head and shoulders above his position mates throughout camp and the 2014 season.
Realistic Ceiling: Mackey Award Semi-Finalist; Top 5-8 player status for the Irish; No. 2 receiver overall.
Other side of the coin: A repeat of 2013. In other words, a year in which he underachieves early, but breaks out late. Notre Dame's offense needs 12 quality efforts from Koyack between Aug. 31 and Thanksgiving Sunday.