Examining the official roster (Juniors)

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Let’s keep trudging through the Irish roster, digging deeper than its healthy (is it wrong that I picture a q-tip when I write that) as we examine the juniors on the Irish roster.

Again, just a few observations as I go through the official 2013 roster.

* Certainly not a new statement, but George Atkinson looks pretty impressive with 220-pounds on his frame. Sure, he’s got to learn how to run lower and continue to build the type of field vision needed to be an elite college back, but he’s certainly got the tangible traits needed to be an elite ball carrier.

I’ve got a feeling he’ll turn into the type of player that might be remembered less for what he can actually do than for what his deficiencies might be. That’d be a shame, though he’s got a chance to remedy that with a big season.

* In his always excellent chats with readers, the South Bend Tribune’s Eric Hansen brought up the almost unfathomable stat that Amir Carlisle has practice just once healthy with the Irish football team in full pads, and he broke his collarbone during that workout.

Carlisle added five pounds to his frame and now checks in at 190 pounds. All reports and intel point to the fact that Carlisle hasn’t lost any of the burst that makes him one of the offense’s most dangerous weapons, but let’s just hope he can get to Week One first.

(I might be one of the last people to ever tag anyone as injury prone, and I’m still not willing to do it with Carlisle.)

* Davaris Daniels has gained 11 pounds according to the most recent roster update, jumping to 203 pounds. Yet while watching the practice footage we’ve seen, he looks more fit than ever.

It will be very interesting to see if Daniels turns into the No. 1 receiver many have expected. All things considered, Daniels is ultimately a sophomore and his freshman season was hampered by a few injuries that couldn’t be helped. The added bulk should help with durability issues.

* At 6-2.5, 253 pounds, Jarrett Grace looks the part of a starting inside linebacker… on paper. It isn’t often that you hear this coaching staff talk up the potential of a player they expect to slide into the rotation seamlessly and have that player fail. So it’ll be fun to see if Kelly, Diaco and company have Grace’s future pegged correctly.

* Safety Eilar Hardy also gained 11 pounds over the summer, per the official roster. After a promising freshman campaign was cut short after a serious knee injury, let’s see if Hardy can get into the mix before some young players pass him up.

* Who’d have thought? Zack Martin actually looks up to his kid brother Nick. The frontrunner for the starting center job has a half-inch on his brother at 6-4.5.

* Cam McDaniel is up to 207 pounds. That’s the right amount of bulk for a guy that might be Notre Dame’s best between the tackles option.

* Troy Niklas at 270 pounds is just ridiculous. If Niklas mixed in a carb or two, the Irish would basically have Vikings left tackle Matt Khalil starting for the Irish at tight end.

* There were years where Notre Dame would kill to have a defensive lineman weigh 280 pounds. That Tony Springmann is just a ho-hum 6-5.5, 296 pounds shows you how far this program has come since Travis Leitko, Pat Kuntz, and John Ryan.

* It’ll be interesting to monitor Stephon Tuitt throughout camp. We’ve literally only seen one snippet of him — a one-on-one battle with Zack Martin that Tuitt didn’t win. But after the news that he had a hernia surgery in the offseason and still is listed at 322, making sure the preseason All-American is fully healthy and in shape heading into the season should be a priority for the staff.

* At 6-5.25, 261 lbs., Ishaq Williams should be ready to make an impact. It might be a lot to ask for a guy still searching for his first sack, but there’s room for him to make plays in this defense, even if finding time on the field will be tough.