Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2023

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

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20 PRESEASON 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY TYLER HORKA AND JACK SOBLE I n team sports, no roster is identical to that of the year before it or the one after. That's especially true in football — college football, for sure. Personnel turnover abounds season af- ter season because of the transfer portal. Notre Dame had plenty of it from 2022 to 2023. Some changes were for the better. Spoiler alert: the player who stands atop this year's Blue & Gold Illustrated top 25 most important players hierarchy, Wake Forest graduate transfer quarterback Sam Hartman, is a much more accomplished quarterback than the one who topped the list last year, three-game starter and new Alabama signal-caller Tyler Buchner. Some changes made the team worse. Las Vegas Raiders tight end Mi- chael Mayer came in at No. 2 in the top 25 last year, and he really had a case to be No. 1 by the end o f t h e sea so n . A Notre Dame tight end does n o t a p p ea r in this year's rankings un- til No. 15. So here it is, the full rundown of the Fighting Irish's top 25 most important players in 2023. Talent and the projected depth chart were key foundations for the poll, but voters placed a premium on two questions: 1) If you subtracted this individual from the roster, how much of a setback would it be? 2) If this less proven player emerges and makes an impact, how much does that raise the ceiling (or lower it, if a breakout does not happen as expected)? 1. QB SAM HARTMAN The quarterback is most teams' most important player. When the QB is as talented as Hartman, the importance factor shoots up even more — like THE BEST OF THE IRISH THE BEST OF THE IRISH The 25 Notre Dame players The 25 Notre Dame players who will make the biggest impact in 2023 who will make the biggest impact in 2023 Graduate student quarterback Sam Hartman is unquestionably the Fighting Irish's most important player in 2023. He's a 45-game starter who has thrown for 12,967 yards and 110 touchdowns in his career. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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