Every year, Douglas Farmer, and Keith Arnold before him, over at NBC Sports’ Inside the Irish invite HLS to participate in ranking the top 25 players on the Notre Dame roster. As the consensus list is now public, I figured it was time to reveal my own list that I submitted.
|Troy Pride Jr.
Now, let’s get to the details of where I deviated from the crowd.
Players Left Out
#14 Robert Hainsey
I wasn’t the only one that left Hainsey off the ballot and three others had him 20 or lower. Looking at how the spread in the ballots went, those that are better plugged in on the beat and in recruiting have him much higher.
I’m perfectly fine with that. It’s hard for me to rate a sophomore lineman with little experience under his belt too high personally, but clearly people plugged in see something in him and that, quite frankly, makes me excited to most likely be wrong.
#17 Tony Jones
“While it’s not overly shocking, I just want to make sure it was intentional” – Douglas Farmer via email to make sure my sleep deprivation hadn’t done me in. Honestly, that’s the best way to describe it. In fact, I wasn’t the only one that did that, four others left Jones out and saw rankings range from 3 to 25.
Look, he’s solid, but he hasn’t impressed me that much yet. Typically, I look at my top 25 and think who the dynamic difference makers are. For me, Jones just hasn’t stood out yet. Granted, he’ll get the chance and I very much want to be wrong here. However, put me in the camp that the Irish are better served if people behind him on the depth chart/locked behind double-secret-four-game-probation step up.
To put it another way, you don’t make the top 25 by depth chart default.
#20 Julian Okwara
Was definitely under serious consideration, but left off the list for some offensive flyers I took at the bottom of my list and because he has the misfortune of being surrounded on the defense by absolute studs.
#22 Tommy Kraemer
Last season he split time at right tackle with Hainsey whom I also didn’t rank. This season, he moves to right guard where the consensus points to him being better suited. Much like with Hainsey, those that are more plugged in have him ranked higher, although three others joined me in leaving him off the ballot.
It’s just so hard to rank off the potential, especially when splitting time. But hey, let’s see if the position swap and full playing time works out here and proves me wrong.
#23 Liam Eichenberg
Have you noticed a pattern yet? I’m skeptical of linemen that I haven’t seen play much. When they haven’t played at left tackle–yeah, that’s going to scare me off.
Included and Missed the Consensus List
I guess people aren’t as high as I am that Bilal is going to settle in nicely to rover. And look, I know I mentioned that I shouldn’t rank based on depth chart, but when the guy that leapfrogged him last year, Drue Tranquil, says that he’s poised for a breakout season, I’m listening. Plus, let’s not forget Bilal was actually ranked higher than consensus #1 Te’von Coney as a recruit.
I also seem to remember being the panelist that ranked Coney the highest last season and that worked out rather well. I’m sticking to my guns here being the one that ranked Bilal the highest.
(I’m going to be so wrong)
This flat out shocked me. How does Book not crack the top 25?! Much less only making 4 of 12 ballots. I didn’t even rank him the highest and I’m still wondering how he didn’t land between 20-25 for nearly everyone.
Look, do I want Book as the starting QB this season? God no. That would be disaster and I will die on the hill that the Irish need solid play from Wimbush to have a successful season.
But how can we seriously discount Book’s heroics against LSU? He’s in Tommy Rees 2012 relief pitcher roll for me. Say what you will about Rees/TOMMY NO, but the Irish don’t take a trip to South Beach in 2012 without him.
When I think Finke, I just think of one of the more trusted targets that Wimbush has. He’s steady, ridiculously fast, and not afraid to run across the middle. I can understand why people leave him off, but in a season in which questions are swirling all over the WR position, don’t discount the security blanket.
Can I be perfectly honest? I want Jafar to be good for the jokes. I need this.
On a more serious level, I came away very impressed from what he did in the spring game. With Dexter Williams most likely-definitely-maybe out for four games, I’m expecting Jafar to get a chance to shine.
The first player I filled out was Davis at 25. I’m a sucker for flat-out athletes that end up switching positions. To me, that’s a tale-tell sign that coaches see a spark and talent in a player and are doing everything they can to find a way to get the ball in their hands rather than having them ride the pine.
The BK-era is littered with players that have found success in new positions. With Davis, you also have the added intrigue that, at some point, he’s going to be involved in a trick play bombing the ball downfield and catching everyone with their pants down (please let this be Harbaugh, pleeeeeeease).