Notre Dame signed the 3rd best class, according to Rivals.com. The 2013 Notre Dame Football team still has tremendous depth at many positions. The need for Freshman to play early is unnecessary. But, there are still extremely talented players who will find their way onto the field just from sheer talent. Here are five players who could play in 2013:
1) Jaylon Smith (5 Star Outside Linebacker)
Ranked as the 3rd best player in the country according to rivals and Indiana’s 2012 Mr. Football, Smith has a lot to live up to. Many people say Shembo and Spond will prevent Jaylon from getting playing time, but I don’t think that will factor in much. Losing Kapron Lewis-Moore the defensive end spot will be vacant, but as we saw in many games Shembo will line up as a defensive end in many different situations. This would free up an outside linebacker spot, which Smith must prove he is worthy of. It is very possible for him to beat out one of those guys to start, if not he will get playing time in a rotation role.
2) Greg Bryant (5 Star Running Back)
The third best running back in the 2013 class is coming to Notre Dame with a chance to be the starter in the fall. George Atkinson III is the only running back returning with 50 carries or more. Cam McDaniel is the other running back that returns in 2013, but he was mainly seen late in games when Notre Dame had secured the win. It will be a competition between Bryant, GAIII, and Folston. Atkinson has the experience, but it remains to be seen if he can be more than a speed back.
3) Max Redfield (5 Star Safety)
As the 3rd best safety in the 2013 class and the best defensive back recruit Notre Dame has signed in the rival’s era it will be interesting to see how he performs his freshman year. Notre Dame fans are waiting to see if Jamoris Slaughter will be granted a 6th year of eligibility, because of multiple season ending injuries. Matthias Farley is the only returning starter in the safety department. Nicky Baratti got some playing time last year, so it would probably come down to a Baratti vs Redfield showdown for a starting spot if Slaughter doesn’t get to come back. However if he does come back Redfield will still get some rotation time and could be one of the nickel backs along with Elijah Shumate or Jalen Brown.
4) Eddie Vanderdoes (5 Star Defensive Tackle)
It was reported earlier in the recruiting process that Coach Diaco said he wouldn’t use Vanderdoes as a defensive tackle, but at defensive end. Kapron Lewis-Moore was about the same size as Vanderdoes, but an inch or so taller. With the quickness and pure power Vanderdoes has he could play anywhere on the defensive line for the Irish, but it will be in a rotation role in his freshman year. Tony Springmann, Sheldon Day, and Ishaq Williams are all candidates to take over that vacancy at defensive end.
5) Tarean Folston (4 Star Running Back)
As the 14th best running back in the 2013 class Folston will be competing for playing time this coming season. Like I said before with Wood and Riddick leaving for the NFL it will be a competition between GAIII, Bryant, and Folston. I think the depth chart will be in that order. Folston should get some carries next season unless Cam McDaniel out plays him in practice.