Pop in Michael Floyd's highlight tape from Cretin-Derham Hall and you will see a wide receiver with the potential to be a game-breaker. Floyd followed up a 1,240-yard, 16-touchdown junior year with 1,247 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior despite watching many second halves from the sidelines.
At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds Floyd has the size and body of a top flight wide out. His 4.5 forty-yard dash speed may not be eye-popping, but try to find a play where he gets caught from behind and then count how many times he runs away from defenders.
His basketball background and athletic ability are evident whenever the ball is thrown up in the air. If there were any concerns about whether he would be able to have the same impact against top-level competition, he erased them with his four catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns in the U.S. Army All-American game.
In fact, the only elite receiver-attribute that the two-time Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year lacks is the diva quality. Since he was a junior in high school he has shied away from talking about himself while trying to redirect the focus onto his team. Floyd met with the media for the first time as a college student on Friday and although Notre Dame carefully prepares the freshmen before sending them out, Floyd's humility was on display.
Charlie Weis has lauded Floyd's effort on numerous occasions this month, but Floyd was hesitant to talk about himself except to say that he has things to improve on.
"I think I've been doing all right, but I think that there's a lot of stuff that I needed help on," he said. "I'm kind of doing my own thing, but I'm also learning. Coach (Rob) Ianello and the upperclassmen, in the film room or in the weight room, just help me go through things. If I don't get that right they make sure I ask questions if I don't know anything. If I miss a block out on the field, they critique it right there."
Floyd has the ability to make things look easy at times, but it is almost always obvious that he is giving it his all, even in the simplest drills in practice.
Like the rest of this year's freshman class, Floyd was subjected to people criticizing his choice of schools, but he says he never wavered.
"When I went to the all-star game (in San Antonio) the kids would be like,' blah, blah, blah, whatever.' But at home talking to adults and kids back at home, they already knew that it's not just about football," he said. "They know Notre Dame is a great school. They were on my side the whole time and my parents know that I made a great decision."
Floyd said that Weis and Ianello earned his respect with their pitch.
"I never really thought of changing my decision because I know there is a good football program here at Notre Dame and plus the biggest thing that stood out over all of the other schools was the academic side," he said. "All of the other coaches that came to my high school and talked to me they all talked about something different, but every time I talked to Coach Ianello or Coach Weis, they always talked about, ‘You're going to leave out of here with your degree.' It's good to have a head coach that cares about your degree and having you graduate."
Weis noted that Floyd had an easier time picking up the offense because of the relatively advanced program at Cretin-Derham. Floyd admitted that the jump up to college was not as difficult as he thought would be, but gave credit to the Notre Dame players and staff.
"I'm picking up things like route running and plays, I thought it came to me better than I thought it would. I thought it would be way harder getting the transition from high school to college," he said. "I think getting the help from the coaches and the players really was a big thing for me."
That doesn't mean that there has been no adjustment period for the rangy wideout, who offered a few differences from high school to college.
"The quickness of the game, tempo and how everybody expects a lot out of you. Everybody just expects a lot out of you," he said. "No pressure, it's just something that people just demand more out of you so you just got to bring more out."
Floyd said that he has been getting advice from the veteran receivers.
"David Grimes, George West and Robby Parris, two juniors and then a senior, when I do something wrong they're always there to help me do it right for the next time I go out there," he said. "I want to get everything right and they want to make our whole wide receiver core as good as possible."
With less than two weeks before the season-opener, Floyd seems to have as a good of shot of playing as any freshman outside of tight end Kyle Rudolph. On the initial depth chart Floyd was listed as the fourth Z-receiver, but he will almost certainly be higher than that when the next depth chart is released before the San Diego State game.
"I don't know where I am right know on the depth chart or anything because Coach Weis and Coach Ianello are the guys that do that," he said. "I'm just trying to make my way, move the chains and catch balls and just make the bus and travel with the team."
Floyd gave the same line of an aim being to "make the bus," but he also gave a hint that his goals are higher than just traveling with team and are more geared toward helping the squad win on Saturdays.
"Like everyone else I'm just trying to go out there and make plays for the team and keep the chains going," he said. "(The quarterbacks) get to know how you run, but just them having the confidence and me having the confidence in myself and being able to get a catch and move the chains is the most important thing."
Despite his demeanor, you get the idea that Floyd's goals for his first game are even bigger than just first downs.
"I think it's going to be exciting, but at the same time nervous and hopefully big things happen," he said.
However things turn out, Floyd feels blessed.
"I'm one of the people that gets to play a sport that I really, really love and to be a student here also, so it is a dream come true."