Nov 9, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Tyler Boyd (23) runs after a pass reception as Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback KeiVarae Russell (6) defends during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Notre Dame Football Needs Contributions From Freshman Players
In less than 12 days, the Notre Dame football team kicks off its 2015 campaign against the Texas Longhorns. Fans expect the Irish to land in the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame will not battle its way to the playoff if they do not receive great contributions from Freshman players.
In 2012, then Freshman Cornerback KeiVarae Russell started all 13 games for the Fighting Irish. Russell finished 5th on the team in tackles with 58. He also added 2 interceptions and 2 tackles for loss.
Other Defensive players had excellent Freshman seasons as well. Defensive Linemen Sheldon Day, Nickel-back Elijah Shumate and Safety Nicky Baratti all made contributions on Defense. Day tallied 23 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. Shumate contributed as the team’s Nickelback in passing situations. Baratti made a timely interception on the goalline against Michigan.
Although he did not make consistent plays, Wide Receiver Chris Brown made one of the biggest plays of the year when he caught a 50-yards pass from Everett Golson against Oklahoma.
Head Coach Brian Kelly desperately needs the same-type of play from the Freshman class if Notre Dame is going land a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Most likely, there is not a KeiVarae Russell type player on this year’s team. That is not to say that the Freshman class is not talented. The starting positions will likely be filled by upperclassmen. However, Notre Dame still needs timely plays to finish the season undefeated like in 2012.
Here are 5 players who can make an immediate impact for the Notre Dame football team in 2015.
Next: #5 Impact Freshman