Camp Capsules: A Season of Seasoning?

Rounding out the squad’s (at present) 87-man roster, with a dozen rookies – one freshmen and one redshirt-frosh – that appear slated for a season on the sidelines this fall.

We put a bow on our camp capsules series with a look at 11 freshmen and one oft-discussed sophomore looking to make an impression at Camp Culver next week.

Players are listed in order of plausibility that they’ll find the field on Saturdays this fall.

Sophomore QB Montgomery VanGorder
-- 2015 Projection: Scout team duties intermixed with occasional Saturday appearances
-- Confidence in that Projection: Medium
-- Looking Ahead: Look for VanGorder to make his collegiate debut at some point this fall, largely as a measure to preserve a season of eligibility for freshman Brandon Wimbush. It’s also possible VanGorder, a preferred walk-on pledge who earned a scholarship prior to 2014, will return to walk-on status to accommodate a (welcomed) numbers crunch for Brian Kelly’s 2015 Irish.

Regardless, VanGorder represents Kelly’s ideal No. 4 QB: a walk-on that can run the scout team but also shows well enough to be awarded Saturday spot duty as needed.

Freshman WR Equanimeous St. Brown
-- 2015 Projection: A redshirt season
-- Confidence in that Projection: Low
-- Looking Ahead: Notre Dame has seven returnees in the unit and that doesn’t include 2014 slot receiver C.J. Prosise, the team’s newly minted No. 2 RB. Numbers and logic call for a redshirt season for Brown in his rookie year, especially since classmate C.J. Sanders is likely to contribute as a punt returner and backup slot, a position that needs depth in Prosise’s absence.

But is Brown and his college-ready, six-foot-five, 195-pound frame too talented to sit? Wasn’t DaVaris Daniels in 2011, then part of a talent-starved receiving corps? Brown’s 2015 fate depends on his ability to quickly pick up the concepts of Notre Dame’s passing attack, because there’s ample veteran talent at his position.

Freshman WR Miles Boykin
-- 2015 Projection: Scout team duties, unless…
-- Confidence in that Projection: Medium, the “unless” relates to Boykin’s ability to block on the perimeter, because as talented and diverse as the Irish receivers appear to be, there’s not one top notch blocker on the outside, at least not since 2013 WR James Onwualu flipped scrimmage last spring.
-- Looking Ahead: Can Boykin, listed in the six-foot-four, 220-pound range, earn time because he’s able to aid the Irish power rushing attack? Could he aid the Irish return units? His physicality gives him a shot in August.

Freshman CB Nick Coleman
-- 2015 Projection: Special teams contributor
-- Confidence in that Projection: Low
-- Looking Ahead: Coleman has the suddenness and balance to immediately help the Irish return units, but kick return (Amir Carlisle) and punt return (Will Fuller, C.J. Sanders, and later Greg Bryant) offer a crowded house. Look for Coleman to earn camp mentions from Kelly for his quick feet, the end result being second unit special teams duties in September as the staff weighs playing him vs. preserving a season of eligibility for the future Irish cornerback.

Freshman C Tristen Hoge
-- 2015 Projection: Part-time scout team, part-time varsity action, but a redshirt season
-- Confidence in that Projection: High
-- Looking Ahead: It’s expected Hoge, a natural center and early enrollee last spring, will be afforded the chance to beat out projected No. 2 Sam Mustipher. It’s likely Mustipher will retain the role he won in the spring, but an injury to either Mustipher or starter Nick Martin would put Hoge in the mix, and he’s capable of being a game-ready rookie rather than eliciting too much shuffling from the coaching staff.

Freshman S Nicco Fertitta
-- 2015 Projection: Scout team duties; potential special teams work
-- Confidence in that Projection: High
-- Looking Ahead: Anyone that can help turnaround Notre Dame’s hideous kickoff coverage unit will be welcomed to the August fray with open arms. Consecutive seasons of struggles by the squad in that realm open the door for Fertitta to get an initial look. He’s a certain redshirt candidate in terms of scrimmage time.

Freshman DL Micah Dew-Treadway
-- 2015 Projection: Scout team duties
-- Confidence in that Projection: High
-- Looking Ahead: Dew-Treadway set himself up for a much easier August camp thanks to early enrollment, and the last seven months have afforded him a leg up on Elijah Taylor and Brandon Tiassum (below), but their services are unlikely to be needed along Notre Dame’s suddenly deep defensive line group. Dew-Treadway could enter the mix if attrition hits extremely early (camp or September).

Freshman DL Elijah Taylor
-- 2015 Projection: Scout team duties
-- Confidence in that Projection: High
-- Looking Ahead: Taylor would have played last season had he been a 2014 pledge. Instead he joins a front wall that has plenty of bodies available with five defensive ends (not including Ishaq Williams) and seven interior linemen ahead of him not including classmates Dew-Treadway (above) and Tiassum (below).

Freshman CB Ashton White
-- 2015 Projection: Scout team duties
-- Confidence in that Projection: High
-- Looking Ahead: The 2015 Irish are healthy at the position with certain starters (KeiVarae Russell and Cole Luke), second-stringers that will play (Nick Watkins and Devin Butler) and White’s classmate Shaun Crawford likely to join the mix at Nickel and/or the No. 5 cornerback. Both White and Coleman will compete for third string duties and spots on the Irish run teams, but White’s not a likely candidate for competition as a returner as is Coleman.

Spring ball 2016 will be a competitive time for Coleman and White as they look to forge a spot with the varsity.

Freshman WR Jalen Guyton
-- 2015 Projection: Scout team duties
-- Confidence in that Projection: High
-- Looking Ahead: There’s not a lot of room for freshman upward mobility among Notre Dame’s 11-deep wide receiver unit. Guyton is versatile enough to help with the Irish return teams but the 2015 squad seems set in that regard as well.  

Freshman DL Brandon Tiassum
-- 2015 Projection: Scout team duties
-- Confidence in that Projection: High
-- Looking Ahead: Tiassum has a date with Notre Dame’s starting offensive line for much of 2015. Welcome to college football.  

Freshman OL Trevor Ruhland
-- 2015 Projection: Scout team guard duties
-- Confidence in that Projection: High
-- Looking Ahead: Ruhland will work behind Steve Elmer, Quenton Nelson, John Montelus, Alex Bars, and a host of others in his rookie season.

Part 1 (Defense)

Part 2 (Defense)

Part 3 (Offense)

Part 4 (Offense)

Part 5 (Supporting Cast)

Part 6 (Carving a Niche)

Part 7 (Rookies at the Ready?)

Part 8 (At a Crossroads) Top Stories