Good morning, loyal readers. Today, I am happy to bring you the next installment of our internationally acclaimed series, Know Thyself, Know Thy Enemy. Today, we turn our focus to the fleet of foot and the supple of hand: the wide receivers.
Given the quality of Notre Dame’s opponents in 2015, if the Irish are to live up to expectations this season, whether those are 12-0 expectations or 8-4 expectations, they’ll need strong performances from the receiving corps. Fortunately, there’s a lot of experienced talent in that group. From Chris Brown to Amir Carlisle to Corey Robinson, Malik Zaire is going to have plenty of targets downfield. Unfortunately, Brian VanGorder’s defense is going to be challenged to deal with some of the nation’s premier receivers as well. This is going to get interesting.
The Irish: William “Will” Fuller, especially if C.J. Prosise takes his snaps in or out of the backfield, is the best wide receiver on Notre Dame’s roster. Fuller, a 6’0″, 180-pound junior, tied for most-ever touchdowns for an Irish wide receiver in a single season, fifteen, with his biggest numbers coming against Northwestern, a team he scorched for three touchdowns on nine receptions and 159 yards, an average of 17.67 yards per reception. Overall, Fuller caught 76 balls for 1094 yards, averaging 84.2 yards per game. Other notable game performances included North Carolina, seven catches for 133 yards for two touchdowns, and Syracuse, six catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns. In the loss to Louisville, Fuller averaged 21.80 yards per catch. Named to the Walter Camp and Biletnikoff Awards watch lists, you can expect to hear Fuller’s name a lot in 2015. Hopefully never for offensive pass interference.
Fuller’s touchdown total last year placed him third in the nation and his 84.2 yards per game placed him twenty-third. He was honored as Notre Dame’s Offensive Player of the Year for 2014 and was an SI honorable mention to its All-American team.
The Enemy: Notre Dame is going to square off with some of the country’s best wide-receivers in 2015. To me, the cream of that crop are USC’s JuJu Smith, Clemson’s Artavis Scott, and Pitt’s Tyler Boyd. Boyd may be the best of them all. First off, he’s tall. At 6’2″ and 190 pounds, he’s going to present match up problems for defensive backs everywhere. With 1261 total yards on 78 receptions, an average of 97 yards per game, Boyd had some eye-popping performances. Against North Carolina, he averaged thirty-two yards per catch, five for 160 yards and one touchdown. Against Virginia, he caught three passes for sixty-three yards.
Boyd, a sophomore in 2014, finished the year as a second-team All-American according to SI.com and was named to the first team All-ACC as a receiver and second team as a return man.
Hating Hurricanes Since 1990.
Bayou Irish is a Jersey boy and Double Domer who fell under New Orleans' spell in 1995. He's been through Katrina and fourteen years in the Coast Guard, so we cut him some slack, mostly in the form of HLS-subsidized sazeracs. But, when he's not face down on the bar and communing with the ghosts of Faulkner and Capote at the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone, he's our man in SEC-land, doing his best to convince everyone around him that Graduation Success Rate is a better indicator of success than the number of MNC's won in the last five years.
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