Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 26, 2016

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

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Page 15 of 55

16 SEPT. 26, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI I n football or basketball, the term "space eater" is reserved for be- hemoth figures whose enormity clears the way for teammates to shine. For Notre Dame's 5-8, 180-pound sophomore slot receiver/return man C.J. Sanders, it conveys a different definition: Get him the football in space and he will eat up the yardage. A glimpse of that was provided in 2015 when the freshman worked exclusively on special teams and finished fourth on the team in all- purpose yardage (822). He joined Joe Heap (1952), Raghib "Rocket" Is- mail (1989), Allen Rossum (1996) and Vontez Duff (2002) as the lone Notre Dame players to return a punt and a kickoff for a score in the same season — and the first to do so as a freshman. This season that role has expanded to slot receiver, where Sanders is a prototype for the yards-after-catch role on tunnel screens, quick hitches and dig routes that get him into open space and showcase his elusiveness. He made three clutch grabs for 55 SPACE EATER C.J. Sanders yards-after-catch ability has him developing into a game-breaker

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