Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 33 of 83

34 PRESEASON 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY BRYAN DRISKELL T he last three seasons have been quite the roller-coaster ride for Notre Dame. Sandwiched be- tween a pair of 10-3 efforts in 2015 and 2017 was the 4-8 implosion in 2016. Notre Dame will now look to build on its most recent success and put together the program's first back-to- back double-digit win seasons since 1992 and 1993. The Fighting Irish return a deep roster, but they must also replace most of their top players from a season ago. All-American offensive linemen Quenton Nelson and Mike Mc- Glinchey are both gone after being selected within the first nine picks of the 2018 NFL Draft. Running back Josh Adams also bolted to the NFL after rushing for 1,430 yards and, despite a disappointing 2017 sea- son, leading receiver Equanimeous St. Brown also departed for the NFL. Despite those losses, Notre Dame enters the season with high expecta- tions. It was slotted in at the No. 11 spot in the preseason coaches poll, and ESPN predicted that Notre Dame would make the College Foot- ball Playoff (CFP) in 2018. Playmakers will have to emerge on both sides of the ball if the Irish are going to meet or even exceed expectations. The 10 most important players on the roster — based on talent, the im- portance of their position and their opportunity to make impact plays — follow:

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