Watch List week continues with more Irish veterans recognized for their potential 2014 season. In addition to Everett Golson, KeiVarae Russell and Jaylon Smith, four more Irish players found their names on awards lists, with Kyle Brindza, Sheldon Day, Ben Koyack and Nick Martin being tabbed.
Brindza was named to the Lou Groza watch list. One of just eight players in FBS football that served as a team’s punter, kicker, and kickoff specialist, Brindza is already the most prolific kickers in Irish history entering his senior season. His 98 points scored in 2013 bested his previous school record of 97 points, accomplished during the 2012 campaign. He also holds school records for longest field goal (53 yards against Arizona State), career field goal percentage and single-game records for field goals (five in a game) and points in a game (17, against Rutgers).
That Day was listed among the names for the Outland Trophy gives you an idea that Irish fans aren’t the only ones expecting big things from the Irish junior. Making the move to defensive tackle after playing his first two seasons at end, Day should have a big season in Brian VanGorder’s system. Recognition on the watch list for the award given to college football’s best interior lineman (offense or defense) is a nice tip of the cap to Day.
Koyack is the latest Notre Dame tight end to find his name on the Mackey list, with a big season also likely for the Irish senior from Oil City, Pennsylvania. Koyack only caught 10 passes last season in a supporting role behind Troy Niklas, but average 17.1 yards per touch. After seeing Anthony Fasano, John Carlson, Kyle Rudolph, Tyler Eifert (who won) and Niklas all at least be Mackey semifinalists, with an inexperienced depth chart behind him, you’ve got to think Koyack has a chance to get an invite to the awards ceremony.
Lastly, senior Martin finds himself on the Rimington Trophy list, given to the country’s best center. Martin is healthy after a late-season knee injury and should anchor the Irish offensive line. The Indianapolis native started 11 games for the Irish before missing Stanford and Rutgers. He’ll likely end up a three-year starter at the position, with a fifth year available in 2015.
Irish watch listers include:
Kyle Brindza, Sr., PK/P
Sheldon Day, Jr., DL
Everett Golson, Sr., QB
Ben Koyack, Sr., TE
Nick Martin, Sr., C
KeiVarae Russell, Jr., CB
Jaylon Smith, So., LB