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Counting down the Irish: 2014’s Top 25

Aug 4, 2014, 12:39 PM EST

Everett Golson

With training camp upon us, it’s time to begin another yearly tradition: Our annual look at the Top 25 players on Notre Dame’s roster.

Entering Brian Kelly’s fifth season, this exercise confirms a lot of what Kelly himself has already said about this team — it may be short on star power, but it’s the deepest roster he’s fielded.

For the first time ever, over 40 players received at least one vote inside the Top 25. Consensus was not all that easy to find. Of our nine panelists, only 12 players made it on every ballot, giving you a pretty good idea that this exercise was a bit harder this year than in seasons past.

If you’re looking for a datapoint that things in South Bend are on the rise, wait as the Top 25 is revealed throughout the week. Only six players who made our 2014 list are in their final season of eligibility, pointing to some very good things to come in 2015.

A special thanks to our panel for taking the time to put together their rankings. Here is our 2014 selection committee:

Pete Sampson, Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals)
Tyler James, South Bend Tribune (@TJamesNDI)
Chris Hine, Chicago Tribune (@ChristopherHine)
Team OFD, One Foot Down (@OneFootDown)
Ryan Ritter, Her Loyal Sons (@HLS_NDTex)
JJ Stankevitz, CSN Chicago (@JJStankevitz)
John Walters, Medium Happy (@JDubs88)
John Vannie, ND Nation
Keith Arnold, NBC Sports (@KeithArnold)

  1. nudeman - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    It’s too early in the week to guess who is 25-21, but as for 1-5 I’ll go with:

    1. Jaylon Smith
    2. K. Russell
    3. Golson
    4. Sheldon Day
    5. Nick Martin

    That’s as it appears NOW.
    By the end of the year Folston, Bryant, Robinson, Daniels, Elmer, J. Jones and Koyack are all candidates to have had top 5 years, with McGlinchey a long shot as well.

  2. ndgoldandblue - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Wow, Keith. Have you ever had a panel this large contribute to your preseason Irish player rankings? I don’t remember you ever having eight contributors to this annual blog post. Should be an interesting read.

  3. fnc111 - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    I guarantee Day and Daniels will be ranked ahead of Golson in this poll.

    • bernhtp - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:43 PM

      If the starting QB isn’t in the top 5, your team is in trouble. It’s the very nature of the position. Rees wasn’t in last year’s top ten, and that was unfortunately appropriate.

      • nudeman - Aug 4, 2014 at 5:31 PM

        He wasn’t in my top 50

      • dmac4real - Aug 4, 2014 at 5:53 PM

        Counterpoint:

        Everett Golson in 2012 was not a top 5 player. I seem to remember that team doing okay.

      • bernhtp - Aug 4, 2014 at 7:16 PM

        Golson was a complete unknown. Thus, no one had any idea of how well he would do or the team would do. Golson obviously did well as did the 2012 team. Finally, the team got carried by an epic defense with lots of known stars. Less so today.

      • papadec - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:37 PM

        We’re painfully aware of that, nude. He’s gone – let it go.

  4. 808raiderinparadise - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    Daniels is a special WR talent … one in a diverse group that Golson will be trying to find his “go-to” guy …. I think its him when he dials it up down the field.

  5. gpatton90 - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    Can’t say that Golson is top 5 at this time, but otherwise believe Nude is right on target. I’ll go with…

    1) J Smith
    2) K Russell
    3) S Day
    4) K Brindza
    5) N Martin

    Riggs, Lombard, Folston just miss the cut.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Aug 4, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      Really good point, Brindza punts, does KO and FG … his foot will be crucial with this schedule given I see close games coming 3-4 times.

    • dudeacow - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      I kind of find it funny that our three best players may all be on defense… and yet we’re sure that side is going to be the inferior side of the ball.

  6. irishmob89 - Aug 4, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    1. Jaylon Smith
    2. KeiVarae Russell
    3. Sheldon Day
    4. DaVaris Daniels
    5. Greg Bryant

    I think Bryant is going to have a huge season.

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