Notre Dame officially released its two-deep — and then some — on Tuesday morning for this Saturday’s opener against Temple.
Overall, the starting lineup is almost identical to the one at the end of spring, with the lone exception coming at receiver, mainly because of the enrollment of graduate transfers Cam Smith (Arizona State) and Freddy Canteen (Michigan).
Early entrant freshmen such as right tackle Robert Hainsey and safety Isaiah Robertson also remained on the two deep since the spring, and several other rookies cracked the two-deep this August.
Here’s a breakdown of each position, with many having the “or” in between to represent no real separation:
Quarterback: Brandon Wimbush (Jr.), Ian Book (Soph.), Montgomery VanGorder (Sr.)
Not one of the QBs took a snap last year on offense. Wimbush had 27 as a freshman in 2015.
Running Back: Josh Adams (Jr.), Dexter Williams (Jr.) or Tony Jones Jr. (Soph.)
Adams is the lone running back in school history to eclipse 800 yards rushing each of his first two seasons as a freshman and sophomore. In the August 20 open scrimmage, Jones started with Adams, while only two wideouts were deployed.
Wide Receiver: Equanimeous St. Brown (Jr.), Chase Claypool (Soph.) or Miles Boykin (Jr.)
This most likely would be at boundary (W) receiver, but in tempo offense the wideouts have to be prepared to line up most anywhere.
Wide Receiver: Cam Smith (Graduate), CJ Sanders (Jr.) or Michael Young (Fr.)
More likely on the field side (X), where the opportunity to stretch a defense is more probable.
Wide Receiver: Freddy Canteen (Graduate with two years of eligibility) or Chris Finke (Jr.), Jafar Armstrong (Fr.)
Best bet would be in the slot (Z), but again a lot of movement and versatility is required by all the wideouts.
Tight End: Durham Smythe (Graduate.), Alize Mack (Jr.), Nic Weishar (Sr.), Brock Wright (Fr.) or Cole Kmet (Fr.)
Head coach Brian Kelly said all five will see action this season, and Wright was even aligned as a fullback in the Aug. 20 scrimmage on short yardage situations.
Left Tackle: Mike McGlinchey (Graduate), Liam Eichenberg (So.)
Left Guard: Quenton Nelson (Sr.), Josh Lugg (Fr.)
Center: Sam Mustipher (Sr.), Trevor Ruhland (Jr.)
Right Guard: Alex Bars (Sr.), Hunter Bivin (Graduate)
Right Tackle: Tommy Kraemer (Soph.), Robert Hainsey (Fr.)
Other than Kraemer, the four other top linemen started all 12 games last season and have 75 total among them. Kelly has stated that Hainsey will play this season as a freshman.
Drop End: Daelin Hayes (Soph.) or Andrew Trumbetti (Sr.), Julian Okwara (Soph.)
Defensive Tackle: Jonathan Bonner (Sr.), Myron Tagovailo-Amosa (Fr.), Micah Dew-Treadway (Jr.)
Nose Tackle: Jerry Tillery (Jr.), Kurt Hinish (Fr.), Brandon Tiassum (Jr.)
Strong Side End: Jay Hayes (Sr.), or Trumbetti (Sr..), Khalid Kareem (So.)
Trumbetti is the swing man at both end positions, while the two freshmen moved ahead of two juniors as the backups in the interior.
Mike Linebacker: Nyles Morgan (Sr.), Jamir Jones (So.)
Buck Linebacker: Greer Martini (Sr.) or Te’von Coney (Jr.)
Rover: Drue Tranquill (Sr.), Asmar Bilal (Jr.)
Morgan led the team in tackles last year (94), while Tranquill was second (79), Coney fourth (62) and Martini fifth (55), but Martini’s seven tackles for loss in 2016 are most among returning players.
Field Cornerback: Julian Love (Soph.), Shaun Crawford (Jr.), Troy Pride Jr. (Soph.)
Boundary Cornerback: Nick Watkins (Sr.), Donte Vaughn (Soph.)
Strong Safety: Jalen Elliott (Soph.), Devin Studstill (Soph.)
Free Safety: Nick Coleman (Jr.), Isaiah Robertson (Fr.)
Studstill has the most career starts on the unit with nine last year as a freshman. Love is second with eight.
Kicker: Justin Yoon (Jr.), Jonathan Doerer (Fr.)
Punter: Tyler Newsome (Sr.), Jeff Riney (Jr.)
Kickoffs: Doerer, Yoon
Holder: VanGorder (Sr.), Newsome (Sr.)
Snapper: John Shannon (Soph.), Weishar (Sr.)
Kick Returns: Sanders, Jones Jr.
Punt Returns: Finke, Sanders