Notre Dame will enter the 2016 season with a handful of new receivers.
With Notre Dame’s Blue & Gold game concluding spring practice, it’s time to look ahead to summer practice and the 2016 season. One of the position groups losing really good players is the wide receiver corps. The Fighting Irish lose Will Fuller, Chris Brown, and slot man Amir Carlisle. Even though this loss is great, the Fighting Irish return a number of wide receivers with great potential and plenty of speed.
The starter at Field Receiver will be Torii Hunter, Jr. The 6’, 195 pounder is a red-shirt Junior who will be one of the most experienced returning wide receivers. His backup appears to be early arrival Kevin Stepherson. Stepherson will be a true freshman this fall and he impressed the coaching staff this spring by showing his speed and route-running.
The starting Boundary Receiver position is between three wide receivers, Corey Robinson, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Miles Boykin. Robinson is a rising senior, who is the most experienced wide receiver and who caught the winning touchdown pass against Southern Cal this past season. Unfortunately, he has had a number of concussions in his career including one this spring. He will make a decision about his future between now and summer camp. St. Brown is a 6’4” 205 lbs. four star who played mostly on special teams this past season. Boykin is a 6’4” 225 lb. four star from Illinois. As Robinson has the most experience, St. Brown and Boykin are loaded with great ability, great size, and great hands. The Fighting Irish win no matter who starts and they will also have great depth at this position.
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The last wide receiver position is the slot receiver. The Fighting Irish have three players vying for this starting position – Cory Holmes, C.J. Sanders, and Chris Fink. Holmes is a 6’ 190 lb. recruit from Florida. He has not played much to date, but made one of the greatest impressions this spring when he ran the team’s fastest 40-yard dash with a time of 4.39 seconds. He also had a 41-inch vertical jump. C.J. Sanders is a four-star sophomore who returned kick offs and punts this past season including one touchdown of each. The last candidate for this position is Chris Fink, a walk on who played high school ball with Malik Zaire. Holmes probably has the edge to be the starter, because of his impressive speed. Sanders had an injured hip this spring and will have to make up ground at summer camp to become the starter.
The Fighting Irish receiver corps, while lacking in experience, have great ability and athleticism. Besides Stepherson there are two other freshman recruits named Javon McKinley and Chase Claypool. Because of the great depth at wide receiver, the latter two may be red-shirted this coming season. With two experienced quarterbacks and the above mentioned wide receivers, look for the Fighting Irish to have another great passing game which equates to a very good Notre Dame offense this fall.