Eifert was my preseason impact player for the Irish and I still think that he is the impact player of this offense. Last year the All-American had 63 receptions for 803 yards and 5 touchdowns. So far this year he only has 9 catches for 158 yards and a touchdown. With a young non-experienced receiving core Eifert is often split out to the flanker position. I like him out there, because of his physicality and how he can take advantage of corners. Let’s realize that he is a tight end and Notre Dame still needs him in that position more often than receiver. Also, get the football in Eifert’s hands and good things will happen. The sure handed tight end has only had 1 catch in the past 2 games! How is that possible? To be honest, I really don’t know. When it comes down to the passing game it starts and ends with Tyler Eifert.
Overall Grade: A
When this guy gets the ball he does great things with it. The most sure handed guy we have on the team. His blocking is improving every game. I think he will be targeted more the rest of the season.
Outside of the tight end position probably the best experienced receiver Notre Dame has. He is the leading receiver (besides running back Theo Riddick) with 11 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown. Last season Michael Floyd and Tyler Eifert were the main targets, but Jones still managed 38 catches for 366 yards and 3 touchdowns. His route running has improved from the past year and is running crisper routes making his breaks correctly. TJ has had at least a catch in every game this season. Look for him to keep growing as a player.
Overall Grade: B
Jones is still improving as a complete wide receiver. Look for him to impact the offense more and more as the season goes on, particularly towards the end of the season. He has done a really good job at jumping up and catching the ball at the highest point, which reminds me of a man named Golden.
2012 is the first time Daniels has ever seen playing time at Notre Dame, but he is only a sophomore. He has played in all four games and has amounted, 9 catches for 159 yards with 0 touchdowns. Daniels is one of the bigger receivers that Notre Dame has at 6’2’’. He has shown the fans some good things, but hasn’t done anything great, yet. I see big potential in this guy, but he still needs to put on more weight to be successful, especially when getting of the line of scrimmage. Good things to come from this guy.
Overall Grade: C+
It is hard to grade a guy when he doesn’t see the field as much as the two guys above. Daniels route running needs some fine tuning (taking extra steps on breaks and releases), which is why he receives the C+.
The sophomore tight end that has seen a lot of playing time, due to the fact that Eifert has been playing some flanker. Niklas has started all 4 games this season at tight end, with two long receptions for 59 yards, but no touchdowns. Solid blocking has put him in front of Koyack that has struggled the first four games of this season. A big target at 6’7’’ he will be the guy once Eifert graduates. It looks like we have another good tight end on our hands. That’s why they call Notre Dame tight end U.
Overall Grade: B
Need to see more from this guy before I can give him a better grade. Route running is where he is flawed at times. The problems are easy fixes, so there is nothing to worry about.
The x factor on offense. Had a huge catch against Purdue to set Brindza up for a field goal to win the game. Toma has caught 9 passes for 91 yards and 0 touchdowns, but his impact goes past his stats. For his size he is a sound blocker, while laying his body on the line every play. As a slot guy he runs good clean routes and is open often. Look for Toma to make more key plays as the season goes on.
Overall Grade: B
Toma is the kind of player that is reliable in late game situations. As a senior he hasn’t seen a lot of playing time, but like I said when he is in he makes a difference.
Slap the Sign Grade: B