• Impact: Because of DeShone Kizer’s early departure, Davis enters the program as the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart, a la Ian Book a year ago. The job clearly belongs to Brandon Wimbush in the short and long term with Phil Jurkovec joining the group next year.
Ideally, as the Irish did in 2016, the No. 3 quarterback – Book – was able to preserve a year of eligibility. That’s likely the initial plan for Davis unless the situation dictates otherwise.
• In the Film Room: Davis -- Like Everett Golson, does a great job of keeping eyes downfield when pass protection breaks down and finds receivers. High-level escapability. A dart-throwing, quick-release quarterback who has a tendency to sling it. Tremendous burst with long-striding speed in open field. Well-schooled in read-option. Size could be a limiting factor throwing from the pocket.
• Impact: Josh Adams enters the spring as the clear No. 1 running back with the decision by Tarean Folston to bypass the remainder of his college eligibility. Dexter Williams also is the clear No. 2 with red-shirt freshman Tony Jones, Jr. entering the year with four years of eligibility. It remains to be seen what the Irish do with Deon McIntosh, who entered Notre Dame last year as a running back and spent time working with the receivers. For now, McIntosh is a receiver. Brian Kelly said Holmes, an early-entry, will immediately be involved at running back and receiver.
• In the Film Room: Holmes --Long-striding, breakaway-type back who plays longer than his listed 6-foot-0. Plays predominately a north-south game, but will bounce it outside when the situation dictates. Shows good balance and acceleration after contact. Physicality and competitiveness show up on the defensive side of the ball. Pad level and physicality between the tackles is a question. Early-entry will give coaching staff a long look to determine his freshman involvement.
• Impact: The rookie receivers will be entering a situation in which eight returning receivers all have a minimum of two years of eligibility, including established wideouts Equanimeous St. Brown and 2016 freshman standout Kevin Stepherson. Young projects at the Z, where Chris Finke and C.J. Sanders have some playing experience. Armstrong projects at the X, where Stepherson figures to have the inside track with St. Brown at the W.
• In the Film Room: Armstrong – Calling cards are effort, quick get-off, strength and a pair of clamps for hands. Effortlessly times and high-points passes. Uses positioning and strength to win those battles. Outstanding ball-tracking abilities. Can break tackles and shows some shiftiness in traffic. Built like a tight end without the height. A physically-mature young man who Kelly says can take the top off a defense.
Young – More quick than fast, which is what makes him an ideal slot receiver. Elusive in short space. Makes it difficult to anticipate his next move. Shows a natural sense to find creases on the second level and the ability to stop on a dime and make a cut. All about yards after the catch. A willing, aggressive blocker. His elusive nature in traffic also makes him a strong punt return candidate. A candidate for most underrated offensive three-star in the class.
• Impact: The Irish are loaded at tight end with Durham Smythe likely returning for a fifth year, red-shirt junior Nic Weishar, red-shirt sophomore Alize Jones and senior Tyler Luatua all with some-to-fairly-extensive experience with the Irish. Wright, a well-rounded, two-way tight end, has the talent to put his name in the mix immediately, but it’s a crowded house. It might make the most sense to preserve a year for Kmet to stagger the eligibility of the two incoming freshmen, but Wright’s early-entry is significant.
• In the Film Room: Kmet – A quick-twitch athlete with quality feet and bounce in his step. Great length and get-off. Rangy, athletic tight end who shows wide receiver athleticism. Outstanding knee bend and pad level as a blocker, although he could use a bit more pop. More of an absorber than initiator as a blocker in all-star game, but has the technique and showed the ability to take on defensive ends throughout the week.
Wright – Physically-mature, complete tight end with dual tight end skills. A ready-made tight end. Quality hip and leg strength, coupled with tough, aggressive blocking tenacity. Nimble-footed, explosive athlete off the ball while showing the ability to get off press coverage. A superb pass-catcher who shows the quality fundamental technique of following the football into his hands. Early-entry freshman with a chance to make an instant impact.
• Impact: Four starters return along the offensive line with a need at right guard following Colin McGovern’s decision to use his final year of eligibility at Virginia. Fifth-year senior Mike McGlinchey, and red-shirt juniors Quenton Nelson and Sam Mustipher, figure to once again man the left tackle, left guard and center positions respectively. Does red-shirt junior Alex Bars move from right tackle to right guard to accommodate either Liam Eichenberg or Tommy Kraemer at right tackle? Red-shirt sophomore Tristen Hoge could push Mustipher at center.
For now, Banks and Lugg are tackles and Hainsey and Gibbons are guards, according to Kelly/Harry Hiestand. Banks could ultimately trend to guard, although the preference is right tackle.
• In the Film Room: Banks – The size is obvious, but the improvement he has made in his game is striking. Tackle size with a guard’s lateral mobility, although his improvement leads to a first-look at right tackle. Quality knee/waist bend/footwork for a young man of his size. Good power derived from hips/lower back. A finisher who moves on to the next block. Must adapt to the speed of the game on the next level. Must continue to show the progress he’s made in conditioning. Early-entry always a huge benefit for an offensive lineman still growing into his body.
Gibbons -- Nasty-tempered interior offensive lineman who played tackle on prep level, but projects inside. Good not great feet. Tenacious in short space; out of his element in open space. Has to be careful about “creating impression” of holding. Needs to be in better physical condition, although it appears he’s come a long way since early in his prep career. Concerns of leverage, quickness and conditioning will linger.
Hainsey – Early-entry freshman arrived with good strength base. Showed a powerful surge against quality competition in Under Armour all-star game. A hustle guy who adheres to blocks in traffic. Excels in collaborating on double-team blocks. Has some balance and lunging issues. Needs to bend at the knees more and get underneath pads of defender. Can handle straight-up pass blocks, but struggles in space, which is largely why he’s a guard prospect, not a tackle. Significant upside.
Lugg -- A physically menacing presence on the football field. Adhesive-like run-blocking skills with a high degree of physicality on every snap. Quality pad level for a player of his height. Stays balanced even when he’s driving a defender off the ball and in space as a run-blocker. Maintains power source, which means he has weight/pads underneath him. Quick recovery to pass-rush moves, re-gathering and exploding back into defender.