The wide receiver position was one of uncertainty heading into 2008, but entering 2009 it is one of unquestioned strength.
Golden Tate and Michael Floyd exceeded everybody's expectations last season, combining for 106 receptions, 1,799 yards and 17 touchdowns. The pair quickly moved up the depth chart and gave quarterback Jimmy Clausen deep weapons on each side.
But when Floyd went down with a knee injury on the first series of the Navy game, defenses rolled their coverages to Tate. Although Tate did manage to catch seven passes for 146 yards and a pair of scores against Syracuse, the Irish were shorthanded with their star freshman out.
Floyd did return for the Hawai'i Bowl and although he had just a pair of catches, his presence opened things back up for Tate, who had six grabs for 177 yards and three scores as he shared MVP honors with Clausen.
Tate and Floyd will enter 2009 as one of the top receiving duos in America.
Michael Floyd, So.
Duval Kamara, Jr.
Robby Parris, Sr.
John Goodman, So.
Deion Walker, So.
George West, Sr.
Floyd: 48 receptions, 719 yards (15.0), 7 touchdowns
Kamara: 20 receptions, 206 yards (10.3), 1 touchdown
Parris: 9 receptions, 50 yards (5.6), 0 touchdowns
West: 1 reception, 6 yards (6.0), 0 touchdowns
Goodman: Did not play
Walker: Did not play
MOST TO PROVE: Kamara.
As Tate and Floyd zoomed up the depth chart, Kamara was the odd man out. After a record-setting freshman year, Kamara came in to 2008 as the Irish's top receiver but was passed by his classmate and the newcomer.
After struggling in the opener against San Diego State, Kamara caught a touchdown the following week against Michigan, but never produced the way many expected.
At 6-5, 219 pounds, Kamara gives Notre Dame a physical presence, especially in the red zone. Kamara needs to prove that he can catch the ball consistently and cement his role as the third receiver, especially with a pair of sophomores and an incoming freshman looking to copy what Tate and Floyd did in 2008.
Parris is in a similar situation as Kamara and as a senior, this will be his last shot. But Parris has never been considered Notre Dame's number one option at the position.
MOST TO GAIN: Goodman and Walker.
Charlie Weis singled Floyd's classmates out as players who would have been ready to play if they were needed to in 2008. Now with their fifth-year status preserved, nothing will hold Weis back from throwing the pair in as sophomores.
Goodman and Walker both showed improvement throughout the season and figure to challenge the upperclassmen for the third receiver position all year.
INTERESTING TO SEE: What kind of impact Shaquelle Evans will have?
Evans has all of the tools to be an ideal third receiver. A skilled route-runner, he can be a threat both down the field and over the middle. At 6-2, 200 pounds, Evans has the speed, strength and hands to compete right away on the next level.
If Evans is able to get an early grasp of Notre Dame's offense, the preseason field of candidates for the third receiver spot could become a crowded one.