Entering a season in which expected No. 1 receiver Davaris Daniels began the season suspended due to the academic investigation, the Irish were looking for someone to step up in his place. The Irish got that and more in sophomore Will Fuller.
The return of Everett Golson returned an excitement to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish offense to enter 2014. But due to similar reason for his absence last season, the question arose who his top target would be.
With the group of Irish players suspended while under investigation for academic impropriety, including Daniels, Golson would need to find a target he was comfortable with. Corey Robinson turned into a fine option, but it was the development of William Fuller that gave the Irish are spark on the offensive side.
Fuller put together a spectacular sophomore campaign, with 14 touchdowns and 1,036-yard regular season. He was first name on the list of the nine honorable mentions, and with only Rashard Higgins of Colorado State expected back from the list of first and second team, Fuller will likely garner early preseason award nomination.
With 71 catches on the season, he was by far the most targeted of the Irish receiving core. He averaged 86.4 yards per game, with a season long TD catch of 75 yards. But it wasn’t all on deep throws. He showed great ability on sideline routes, and was a key piece to an underutilized screen game.
The Irish will return almost their entire depth chart, assuming Amir Carlisle returns for his last year of eligibility. The status of Daniels is still up in the air, as reports have had him returning, transferring, and everything in between.
This year the question was who Golson would be throwing the ball to. Now with an established group of receivers, the question is more likely who will be throwing them the ball next year. Golson or Malik Zaire? The Music City Bowl may help to get an early answer to that question.