Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2014 Edition

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

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UPON FURTHER REVIEW TODD D. BURLAGE T he spring football season and an- nual Blue-Gold Game typically provide nothing more than fool's gold and false expectations placed on players undeserving of it — no break- ing news there. It wasn't too long ago that reserve running back Junior Jabbie ended up on the preseason Heisman Trophy watch list among many Irish fans after his Blue-Gold Game MVP rushing per- formance (87 yards on 13 carries). He was never heard from again. The spring season ob- viously helps the Notre Dame coaching staff sort through some depth chart details. But from the outside looking in, it's nothing more than a chance for a starving football public to infer, guess and speculate about the next superstars and surprises for the upcoming season. So let's feed the conjecture and look at the four players coming out of the spring who are "guaranteed" to have breakout seasons for the Irish in the fall. Greg Bryant, RB, So. Given his obvious talent and five- star recruiting ranking, there is not a player on the Irish roster carrying more hopeful expectations than Bryant this year. Bryant was expected to battle for starting duties last season, but instead, he received only a handful of uninspir- ing carries before a knee injury shut his season down just four games in. After recovering from t h e f l a r i n g t e n d o n - itis in his knee, Bryant performed well in the spring and finished with 95 rushing yards in the Blue-Gold Game, high- lighted by a 51-yard run. T h e e x p e r i e n c e o f Notre Dame regulars Cam McDaniel and Tar- ean Folston at running back could slow Bryant's climb up the Irish depth chart early on. But by midseason, Bryant's talent and versa- tility will make him the No. 1 option in the running game and perhaps even a 1,000-yard rusher down the road. Ben Koyack, TE, Sr. Following the unexpected breakout year from junior tight end Troy Niklas in 2013, Koyack had to wonder if his time was ever going to come at Notre Dame after playing behind All-Ameri- can Tyler Eifert in 2011 and 2012. Koyack's prospects changed in Janu- ary when Niklas surprisingly passed Spring Speculation And Four Rising Stars Sophomore safety Max Redfield, who was rated as the No. 30 player in the nation in the class of 2013 by, is expected to be a starter this fall. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND

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