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Counting down the Irish: The Top Five

Jul 19, 2010, 3:04 PM EDT

For the rest of the picks, check here for 25-21, 20-16, 15-11, and 10-6.

As we wrap up the Top 25 lists, I’ll post the top five players for everyone and then follow-up tonight with some next-level analysis. It’s pretty clear that Michael Floyd, Kyle Rudolph, and Manti Te’o are three of the best players on the roster in this group’s mind.

(Also clear that Pat feels that special teams are critical to this team’s success, as Nick Tausch joined Ben Turk in his top ten players on the roster.)

I struggled ranking the top two players, and let the fact that I’ve watched Floyd catch fade routes since he was a 9th grader probably sway my opinion, but both of these guys are first-team All-American candidates, so if they live up to their expectations, I’m sure neither will mind taking second-billing…

IRISH TOP 25: THE TOP FIVE

Frank of UHND.com:

5. Ethan Johnson, DE: Johnson looked over-matched last year as a DT. An off-season with Paul Longo and the 3-4 defense should do him wonders.
4. Trevor Robinson, OL: Stewart might be the leader of the offensive line, but Robinson could be the best lineman to come out of Notre Dame since Jeff Faine.
3. Michael Floyd, WR: Floyd is a rare talent, but injury issues his first two years bump him down the list a little.
2. Manti Te’o, LB: Te’o will be playing the role of Ray Lewis in Notre Dame’s 3-4 defense. It’s been a while since ND has had a LB of Te’o’s skill.
1. Kyle Rudolph, TE: Floyd and Te’o might get more publicity, but Rudolph might be the best player at his position in the country.

Anthony of Clashmore Mike:

5. Armando Allen, RB: Speedy back should be an excellent fit for the spread offense.
4. Darius Fleming, OLB: Rising junior has a knack for playing behind the line of scrimmage.
3. Manti Te’o, LB: Combination of size and athleticism makes him perfect in the middle of the defense.
2. Kyle Rudolph, TE: Incredible versatility, he should excel in the spread offense.
1. Michael Floyd, WR: Exceptional athlete is a one-on-one match-up nightmare on the outside.

Matt of Her Loyal Sons:

5. Darius Fleming, OLB: Leave him on the field and he’ll record a tackle for loss about every 18 minutes. Leave him on the field.
4. Trevor Robinson, OL: Would be an absolute shame for Trevor not to be one of the “featured players” in the new Notre Dame offense.
3. Ethan Johnson, DE: This year, Ethan gets to come out and play.
2. Kyle Rudolph, TE: Only 2009 Mackey Award semi-finalist to return to college football in 2010.
1. Michael Floyd, WR: Currently the best average yards receiving per game among all active players in major college football.

Matt and Chris of Rakes of Mallow:

5. Trevor Robinson, OL: A potential switch to RT for the top Irish lineman will put his talents to the test.
4. Dayne Crist, QB: The team will only go as far as the former five-star recruit will take them.
3. Manti Te’o, LB: The Flyin’ Hawaiian is poised to have a breakout sophomore season after showing great flashes as a frosh.
2. Michael Floyd, WR: If he can stay healthy, the Biletnikoff is his to lose.
1. Kyle Rudolph, TE: Top tight end in the country. He will dominate even more in Kelly’s quick strike offense.

Pat:

5. Darius Fleming, OLB: His 12 TFLs were the most on the team last season. In the 3-4, I think he has the potential to shine considering his rushing skills.
4. Manti Te’o, LB: Manti showed last season that he has the ability to be a great football player and I think in the 3-4 he will be given more of a chance to do that.
3. Nick Tausch, K: If he can remain healthy, he has the potential to be a real weapon. The top scorers on both teams in the BCS Championship game were the kickers and Tausch joined them kicking over 75 percent from over 40 yards. With over 80 percent accuracy last season despite an injury, he has the potential to have a monster season next year.
2. Kyle Rudolph, TE: In his years at ND, Rudolph has been a great pass-catching TE and should be a very good threat in Brian Kelly’s offense.
1. Michael Floyd, WR: He played in only 7 games last year but amassed 795 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. He has the potential to be the number one WR in the country statistically.

Keith:

5. Trevor Robinson, OL: Robinson’s name seems to be popping up on preseason watch lists, a sign that the secret is out. While his position is still in flux, I expect this to be the year where Trevor starts dominating.
4. Chris Stewart, LG: Maybe I’m a sucker for a great story, but this true student-athlete is ready to become the vintage, physical, veteran offensive lineman that Notre Dame used to churn out under Joe Moore.
3. Manti Te’o, LB: His body of work isn’t as impressive as the potential he showed in glimpses last season and during the Blue-Gold game. If things click, Te’o could be a tackling-machine in Bob Diaco’s system.
2. Kyle Rudolph, TE: I’ve bounced back and forth with Rudy at the top spot, and if I was an NFL talent evaluator, I’d probably swap him to the top spot. That said, the preseason All-American honors that Kyle earned speak to his talent at tight end, and I expect him to have a monster year and then make a tough decision on his professional future.
1. Michael Floyd, WR: When he’s on the field, the Irish are a different team. I expect Floyd to put up bigger numbers than Golden Tate did last year, and bring back-to-back Biletnikoff Awards to South Bend.

  1. Taylor - Jul 19, 2010 at 7:08 PM

    Top notch stuff guys. I appreciate you helping me scratch the ND itch during the long summer months. Keep up the good work.

  2. Ramonnn - Jul 20, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    What does anybody know about ryan kavanaugh? stud?

  3. Trevor - Jul 21, 2010 at 10:52 PM

    ONLY 44 MORE DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Im going to the Utah game and I think at that point they will be Top 5 Top 10 team and it will be a great measure of the talent ND possesses and how Coach Kelly utilizes it!

  4. KMAC HURLS - Jul 21, 2010 at 11:27 PM

    i could say “Hold-on, folks. We’re getting a little over-zealous.” But you know what? I won’t. Why? Because I DON’T WANT TO! This type of anticipation is really, really good for the personal-morale. Charlie had this type of excitement, in case you forget. And you know what? I couldn’t give a hoot he went .500 for his last 2 seasons. He restored what makes college football fun. He reinstated BELIEF.

  5. mike61 - Jul 22, 2010 at 4:53 AM

    one of my yearbooks read “from Rockne to Rock Bottom” each of the years were preceded by boundless optimism. Everything on paper looked perfect, as in 10-0. yet, this coming year will see the resurgence of Notre Dame. Charlie Weiss, good coach, Joe Kuharich, good coach. they had losing seasons, because they didn’t teach their players sentences.. In highschool, football players are taught words, in college, sentences, and in the pros, essays. both coaches came from the pros, and tried to teach essays, bypassing sentences. can’t be done. so losing seasons.
    Brian Kelly is in the mold of Frank Leahy. WE will win because of this, and the fantabuous talent, and our Spirit.

  6. Chucket - Jul 22, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    mike61 is right! College football needs to be kept at its own level, instead of pretending it is at professional level. Now, let’s see the victories this coming season!

  7. Jeff90731 - Jul 24, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    I am on my way to the store to pick up some furniture polish. I will need it to clean my mantel for this year’s trophies the team will surely earn. Naturally mine will be replicas but they will demonstrate my prognostication and loyalty.

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