Notre Dame football broke a post-WWII school record in 2016 with 5.63 yards per carry.
In 2017, Josh Adams will be the veteran presence the Notre Dame offense will lean on as quarterback, Brandon Wimbush, learns the offense. Coming off a 933 yard and five touchdown season, Adams was one of the best backs in the NCAA last season.
Heading into 2017, Notre Dame had two major offensive line issues they needed to address. Fortunately, with some Irish luck, they were solved without even having to make changes.
With the return of Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame will be bringing back two of the top offensive linemen in the country. After being projected first or second round draft picks if they declared for the 2017 NFL draft, these two will have some of the Irish’s highest potential next season.
Now that the left side of Notre Dame’s O-line is back to full strength, the Irish can focus on other needs in the offense. With a new starting quarterback, the primary concern should be Wimbush learning the offense and developing chemistry with his teammates.
While Brian Kelly and Chip Long focus on that, Josh Adams can begin working towards becoming the best runner in the NCAA. Which isn’t too far fetched of a statement.
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His numbers in 2016 weren’t the best. He barely missed 1,000 yards, and without double-digit touchdowns, you aren’t a huge contributor on the scoreboard. But Adams 5.9 yards per carry made him a big-play threat every time he touched the ball.
With Tarean Folston deciding not to accept his extra year of eligibility, Adams will become the lone back in 2017. Behind him next year will be junior, Dexter Williams. Although Williams was only the third back in Notre Dame’s backfield last season, he still made himself known.
His 5.1 yards per carry and 200 yards on 39 attempts were solid numbers for the third option. As the primary backup to Adams in 2017, Williams will get an even bigger workload. As another player with big play ability, Williams can make this Irish backfield one of the most explosive duos in the country.
Adams and Williams give Notre Dame hope. A new play caller and a new offensive coordinator are always nerve-wracking. But with a top tier back like Adams taking on the workload for the Irish, and running behind two of the best linemen in the country, this Irish ground attack will be dangerous.
Add Dexter Williams to the mix, and Notre Dame just became one of the most dominant running teams in the NCAA. A 4-8 record in 2016 makes it hard to say Notre Dame is a threat. But with these two leading the way, the Irish may have the ability to outscore most opponents. Behind McGlinchey and Nelson, they definitely have the ability to outscore most opponents.