As the 2013 recruiting cycle has come to end we are all looking forward to seeing star recruits shine under the golden dome next season. Eddie Vanderdoes, Greg Bryant, Max Redfield, and Jaylon Smith are a few of the names many Golden Domer’s are patienly waiting to see come Saturday afternoons this fall. However as we all know these are only a few of the names that will compromise the 2013/2014 roster. I’d like to take a look at some of the freshmen from this past season’s team who will now be sophomores that are looking to put their mark on the upcoming season.
Romeo Okwara – OLB out of North Carolina; saw the majority of his playing time on special teams and occasionally got in the defense of rotation late in ball games. Romeo has all the tools to be a standout in Coach Diaco’s 3/4 scheme. He possess the speed and strength to be a force off the edge. Expect him to play a similar role Ishaq Williams played this past season.
Davonte’ Neal – The former 5 star athlete out of Arizona was ND’s primary punt returner this past season. Due to what many experts call poor return “scheme” we were not able to witness Neal’s true playmaking ability. Neal is downright electric with the ball in his hands. Robby Toma was ahead of him at the slot receiver this past season. Look for Neal to take over Toma’s role this year and to become one of Everett Golson’s favorite targets.
Jaron Jones – DE/DT out of NY redshirted this past season. He used this time to put on some size up to 295 per some reports. Jones is a monster standing around 6’7”. He will get his share of playing time this season along the defensive front most likely at defensive tackle. Jones’s size alone will cause problems for opposing Quarterbacks. Look for him to time rotate with Kona Schwenke at the defensive tackle spot this year.
Chris Brown – The Wideout can absolutely fly as we witnessed with his catch against Oklahoma this past season. Unfortunately, this was one of his only highlights of the year. A year in the weight room and a year to fully understand the playbook will only benefit the speedy receiver. There wasn’t to much turnover at the the receiver position, but Brown will undoubtedly see his playing time increase. Speed kills and Irish fans hope this speed will kill opponents this upcoming season.