Irish Drive Thru

Now at the midpoint of the 2015 season, Notre Dame has completed 73 competitive drives on both offense and defense. Who have been the MVPs for each?

Each weekend, both in-game and later double-checked during Monday’s film review, Irish Illustrated tracks the Most Valuable Player, Key Contributors and Unsung heroes of each Notre Dame drive – on both sides of scrimmage.

Below is a collection of both lists through the season’s first six contests.

Co-MVP’s were chosen on 11 occasions (6 offense/5 defense) and multiple contributors generally populate the Key Contributor’s list.

To the surprise of no one, senior C.J. Prosise leads all Irish players in terms of Drive MVP awards.

-- C.J. Prosise 15 separate drives (out of 73 offensively)
-- Sheldon Day 13
-- DeShone Kizer 12 (1 non-competitive included)
-- Jaylon Smith 10
-- Malik Zaire 7
-- Elijah Shumate 7
-- Tyler Newsome 7
-- Isaac Rochell 6
-- Will Fuller 6
-- Justin Yoon 5
-- The Offensive Line as a Unit 4
-- Joe Schmidt 4
-- KeiVarae Russell 4
-- Romeo Okwara 4
-- Drue Tranquill 4
-- James Onwualu 3
-- Dexter Williams 3 (1 non-competitive)

-- Jerry Tillery, Torii Hunter, Brandon Wimbush, Greer Martini, Josh Adams, C.J. Sanders, Andrew Trumbetti two Drive MVPs apiece

-- Matthias Farley, Nyles Morgan, Brian Kelly, Nick Coleman, Max Redfield, Cole Luke, Brian VanGorder, “Definitely Not Brian VanGorder,” with one Drive MVP each.

(Crucial plays on punt returns, kick returns, punts, kickoffs, and field goals are included in the MVP listings above.)

On short drives that end in turnovers (offense) or quick-strike touchdowns scored against (defense), the dreaded “None” designation generally populates my MVP column.

-- No MVP Chosen on the drive: Offense (10) Defense (9)

Comments: Though not often chosen as a “Drive MVP” James Onwualu, Joe Schmidt, and Isaac Rochell show well in the Key Contributors category below, as do Notre Dame’s six offensive linemen.

Admittedly I’m unlikely to single out one offensive lineman as a Drive MVP.

Conspicuous by their absence: Amir Carlisle and Corey Robinson. Which leads us to the next category…

Below is a list of Key Contributors and/or Unsung Heroes from each Notre Dame drive to date. Contributions range from touchdowns (Josh Adams, for example, was not the MVP on his untouched 25-yard TD run vs. Texas, the offensive line was) to key blocks, to chain-moving receptions and first-down saving tackles and everything in between.

*It’s relevant to note that every mention below is in addition (and separate) to the player being named Drive MVP. That is, none of the stats/big plays that earned the MVP award cross over below.

-- C.J. Prosise 25 mentions over 73 offensive drives. That does not include the 15 for which he was named MVP
-- Ronnie Stanley 22
-- Jaylon Smith 20
-- Mike McGlinchey 18
-- KeiVarae Russell 17
-- Isaac Rochell 17
-- Chris Brown 16
-- Will Fuller 16
-- Sheldon Day 15
-- Quenton Nelson 15
-- Joe Schmidt 14
-- Elijah Shumate 12
-- Steve Elmer 12
-- Nick Martin 12
-- Daniel Cage 10
-- James Onwualu 10
-- Torii Hunter 10
-- Amir Carlisle 10
-- Malik Zaire 10
-- Romeo Okwara 9
-- Greer Martini 9
-- DeShone Kizer 9
-- Alex Bars 8
-- Drue Tranquill 7
-- Andrew Trumbetti 6
-- Cole Luke 6
-- Jerry Tillery 6
-- Matthias Farley 5
-- Josh Adams 5
-- Chase Hounshell 5
-- Aliz’e Jones 5
-- Nic Weishar 4
-- Durham Smythe 4
-- Tyler Newsome 4
-- Corey Robinson 3

-- Max Redfield, Nick Watkins, Nyles Morgan, Jarrett Grace, Devin Butler, Tyler Luatua, Justin Yoon, C.J. Sanders, and Equanimeous St. Brown with two mentions apiece.

-- Dexter Williams, Te’Von Coney, Nicky Baratti, Nick Coleman, Jonathan Bonner, Jacob Matuska, Brandon Wimbush, Tarean Folston, Hunter Bivin with one mention apiece

The Undervalued: Mike McGlinchey, KeiVarae Russell, Chris Brown, and Elijah Shumate

The Surprising: Daniel Cage, Alex Bars in limited action, Amir Carlisle, Chase Hounshell

In Need of Improvement: Max Redfield, Corey Robinson, and Cole Luke

And if you’re wondering, Key Mistakes are also tallied – they’ll be published at season’s end. Top Stories