…and we’re back at it again. Last week here at HLS we started to really familiarize everyone with not only Notre Dame’s top talent at each position, but some of our most intimidating opponents as well.
The Irish have more than held their own and stack up pretty well in all of the previous position groups we have gone through, but we are going to kick off this week with a huge question mark spot for this upcoming season. With Michael Floyd gone and set to open his first training camp in Arizona today, somebody is going to have to elevate their game and become that go-to guy.
Position: Wide Receiver
Height/Weight: 5’11″/190 lbs
Wide receiver, like quarterback this year, is one position where there is truly no definitive answer for who will be the #1 guy this fall. The Irish do have lots of potential waiting in the wings, but almost all of it is untested and unproven. And as much as I’d like to side with solely experience and trust the EA Sports NCAA ’13 Ratings, I can’t find it in me to expect 5th year senior John Goodman to lead the troops. So if I’m picking the best wide receiver on the Notre Dame roster right now, I’m taking junior-to-be Tai-ler “TJ” Jones.
TJ has definitely shown some us some flashes in the past, but up to this point he hasn’t turned the corner into stardom. One thing he needs to get past is nagging ankle injuries. But he has demonstrated his abilities to find holes in the defense, and has pretty good quickness and elusiveness once he gets the ball in his hands. His 38 catches and 366 yards in 2011 aren’t anything to brag about, but they are a good starting point as he has been through the gauntlet several times now. TJ isn’t going to overwhelm you with any one thing, as he doesn’t have great size, great speed, or off-the-charts athleticism, but he is very well-rounded and has a great understanding of the game. He is on the Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list, and I expect big things to come from him this year.
If you haven’t seen this video below, you absolutely HAVE to watch it. TJ is a fantastic kid, and he’s just one of those people that you really want to root for in life.
Position: Wide Receiver
Height/Weight: 6’0″/180 lbs
Sadly, Irish fans are very familiar with Woods, who absolutely torched us last season for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns on 11 catches. To be fair, there weren’t many teams that Woods didn’t torch, as he racked up 15 touchdowns and just short of 1300 yards receiving. Yikes.
He returns as the clear #1 receiver (although Lane Kiffin actually said his teammate Marqise Lee is the best receiver on the team) for senior Matt Barkley in what is pretty much the most feared tandem in college football this year.
There isn’t an outstanding player award list that doesn’t feature Woods as a favorite, but here’s to hoping that the damage he inflicts doesn’t happen versus Notre Dame in 2012.