Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2024

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

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18 MARCH 2024 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY TYLER HORKA AND JACK SOBLE N otre Dame brought in eight players from the transfer portal during the winter cycle, mark- ing the most the Irish have ever welcomed to South Bend in a single class. The opportunity to add to the total in the spring window is there, too. With that in mind, plus the addition of 23 class of 2024 signees, Notre Dame's roster is going to look a lot different this year than it did in 2023. The following is Blue & Gold Illustrat- ed's best projection for how the Fighting Irish might line up against Texas A&M in the season opener Aug. 31. The class years are listed according to academic standing for the fall of 2024. QUARTERBACK Starter: Riley Leonard (Sr.) Others: Steve Angeli (Jr.), Kenny Minchey (So.), CJ Carr (Fr.) Given how Freeman treated the quar- terback situation last spring and Angeli's performance in the Sun Bowl, it's safe to assume Leonard will not be named the starter upon arrival. But unless he seri- ously struggles throughout spring and fall camp and Angeli (or Minchey, or even Carr) blows the coaching staff away, Leonard will take the first snap when the Irish visit Texas A&M Aug. 31. Leonard has a livelier arm than An- geli and he's a dangerous runner, even at 6-foot-4, 213 pounds. Most evaluators believe he has early-round NFL potential if he can clean up his mechanics, which have been inconsistent in the past. There are few offensive coordinators better equipped to help him do that than Mike Denbrock, who turned a gifted but raw Jayden Daniels into a Heisman Trophy winner at LSU. RUNNING BACK Starter: Jeremiyah Love (So.) Others: Jadarian Price (Jr.), Gi'Bran Payne (Jr.), Devyn Ford (Gr.), Kedren Young (Fr.), Aneyas Williams (Fr.) Price acted as the 1B to Love's 1A in the Sun Bowl, but Love was far and away the top ball carrier behind Audric Estimé in 2023 despite being a year younger than his primary competition. Love came into Notre Dame with a reputation as a burner and not much else, but he quickly dis- pelled that with his physical style of play. Young and Williams project as two of the most college-ready members of the 2024 recruiting class, and they bring size (Young) and versatility (Williams) that the returning group might not have. It would be naive to expect all five of the backs who can come back in 2025 to do so, and the Irish can't get stuck on appeasing every- one. The best three to four runners will play each week. WIDE RECEIVER Starters: Kris Mitchell (Gr.), Beaux Collins (Sr.), Jaden Greathouse (So.) Others: Jordan Faison (So.), Jayden Thomas (Sr.), Jayden Harrison (Gr.), Graduate student safety Xavier Watts could have gone to the NFL, but he's back for one more season as a leader of a stout Irish defense. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER NEW LOOK How Notre Dame might line up in 2024

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