Though 10 incoming freshmen and at least one transfer were not part of Notre Dame’s spring practices, along with about a half a dozen injured players that should return to the field in August, a pretty clear Irish depth chart established itself these last two months.
Some things may certainly change before Notre Dame faces Ohio State on Sept. 3 (122 days), but consider the below an offensive template as the Irish enter the offseason. Distinct changes from expectations heading into the spring are noted.
It should also be noted, this roster will be largely intact come fall. This is the first full cycle in which players can transfer once in their career without having to sit out a year. To do so, they had to submit paperwork to Notre Dame by May 1. There is a slight chance a player did so and that paperwork has yet to process, but at the moment, the Irish appear to be entering this offseason with 86 scholarship players, if the count of five specialists on scholarship is accurate.
One way or another, that will fall to the NCAA maximum of 85 players in the next 122 days, and the reality is, more than one player is likely to leave the roster, so fretting over that exact count is not necessary by any means.
— Sophomore Tyler Buchner (three years of eligibility remaining) entered and exited the spring as the likely Notre Dame starter, even if a rolled ankle cost him the Blue-Gold Game.
— Junior Drew Pyne (four years of eligibility remaining, thanks to the universal pandemic eligibility waiver) will be Buchner’s backup, and as made clear by that rolled ankle, a mobile quarterback needs a quality backup. (Pictured above.)
— Early-enrolled freshman Steve Angeli (four years).
— Sophomore Ron Powlus III (four years).
— Junior Chris Tyree (three years of eligibility remaining) remains the clear starter.
— Sophomore Logan Diggs (three years of eligibility remaining), presuming his surgically-repaired labrum is fully healthy by August. Diggs suffered the injury in the spring finale.
— Sophomore Audric Estime (three years of eligibility remaining) ranks third in this listing regardless of Diggs’ health. Estime brings a different skill set than the next entrant, which is why he comes in at No. 3, but the Diggs/Price skill set will be wanted at No. 2, no matter whom it is.
— Early-enrolled freshman Jadarian Price, perhaps the biggest riser this spring, even if that did not come with any actual depth-chart movement.
— Incoming freshman Gi’Bran Payne, the late addition to the class of 2022.
Notably departed from the pre-spring expectations, C’Bo Flemister officially entered the transfer portal last week, something foreseen since the winter.
— Sophomore Lorenzo Styles (three years) may have risen above fifth-year Braden Lenzy here. Styles looks to be Notre Dame’s best receiver, but the two will find ways onto the field together plenty.
— Fifth-year Braden Lenzy (two years of eligibility remaining), but his continued improvements in strength could help Lenzy move around the formation, particularly to boundary receiver.
— Incoming freshman Tobias Merriweather.
— Sophomore Jayden Thomas (three years), one of the bigger jumps of the spring, but early August could reveal Lenzy here as a mainstay, especially if fifth-year Joe Wilkins is still held up by injury.
— Sophomore Deion Colzie (three years), who impressed more than Thomas in the fall but was apparently leap-frogged this spring.
— Fifth-year Joe Wilkins (two years), but after suffering a Lisfranc injury this spring, his return timeline is yet vague. It very well may hold out Wilkins into October.
— Sixth-year Avery Davis (one year), presuming full recovery from his torn ACL in November.
— Fifth-year former walk-on Matt Salerno.
— Junior Michael Mayer (three years of eligibility remaining).
— Sophomore Mitchell Evans (three years).
— Junior Kevin Bauman (three years), fully healthy from a broken leg in 2021.
— Sophomore Cane Berrong (four years), coming back from an ACL torn in 2021.
— Incoming freshman Eli Raridon (four years), also coming back from an ACL torn in 2021.
— Incoming freshman Holden Staes (four years).
Nothing changed in the tight end depth chart this spring, hardly surprising considering the headliner.
— Sophomore Joe Alt (three years).
— Junior Tosh Baker (three years).
— Senior Andrew Kristofic (three years).
— Sophomore Rocco Spindler (four years).
— Fifth-year Jarrett Patterson (two years), as long as he stays on track in recovering from a torn pectoral.
— Senior Zeke Correll (three years), with some starting center experience, Correll should work here all season, not just in Patterson’s injury absence, to have a contingency plan at the fulcrum.
— Sophomore Pat Coogan (four years).
— Sixth-year Josh Lugg (one year remaining).
— Early-enrolled freshman Billy Schrauth (four years), who had foot surgery in the winter on an injury he played through as a senior in high school. The good news about that timing is it suggests Schrauth will be full-go by August.
— Sophomore Blake Fisher (four years).
— Junior Michael Carmody (three years), though Carmody could end up as the top backup at any or all of the five lineman positions. That is not to say he will be the first off the bench regardless, but any long-term injury will lead to at least some Carmody consideration.
— Sophomore Caleb Johnson (four years).
Aside from the uncertainty among the reserves at center — and thus moving Correll from left guard backup to center backup — very little changed in the two-deep along Notre Dame’s offensive line this spring.
Early-enrolled freshman Joey Tanona suffered a concussion in a car crash this spring that cost him essentially the entire on-field headstart. Along with incoming freshman linemen Aamil Wagner, Ashton Craig and Ty Chan, it is premature to speculate on exactly where Tanona lines up this fall. All four are headed toward scout-team work and weight-room development, anyway.