Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2018

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

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Page 8 of 63 MAY 2018 9 UNDER THE DOME ALIZÉ MACK, TE Measurables: 6-4¾, 244 Best Case: The Mack that Irish fans have been waiting to see since he signed as part of the 2015 class finally shows up. He has the complete physi- cal skill set needed to be one of the nation's top tight ends. If his focus matches his work ethic and talent, he'll have a huge senior season. Worst Case: Inconsistent concentra- tion continue to plague him. Mack has been suspended twice and is known more for his drops than his big plays. Early Projection: Mack is the hardest current Notre Dame player to project. He has first- or second-round tools, possessing good size, top-level ath- leticism and outstanding ball skills … when he's locked in. But his suspension history, his lack of focus and maturity questions will raise red flags. A big senior season and a strong showing at next year's NFL Scouting Combine could alleviate most of the concerns. DRUE TRANQUILL, LB Measurables: 6-2, 233 Best Case: Tranquill makes a smooth transition to the Buck linebacker posi- tion and continues being a playmaker for the Irish defense. The fifth-year se- nior was never going to be an attractive draft prospect as a space player, but if he dominates inside like he did outside he'll jump up many draft boards. Worst Case: His injury history flares up again and he doesn't show the in- stincts needed to play inside. The for- mer is a legitimate concern, but the latter would be quite surprising, as instincts have always been a strength for Tranquill. Early Projection: Testing well is go- ing to be big for Tranquill. There will be questions about his raw speed and overall athletic numbers, with some wondering if his high football IQ makes him play faster than he'll test. Tranquill will also have some medi- cal questions after suffering a pair of ACL injuries early in his career. If his transition inside is smooth and he tests well athletically he could find him- self creeping into the second- or third- round range of the draft. TE'VON CONEY, LB Measurables: 6-1, 238 Best Case: Coney continues being a highly productive run defender but he also develops a better feel for cov- erage. He was incredibly active (116 total stops and 13 tackles for loss) as a run defender last season, and that continues now that he's a full-time figure with far more responsibility. Worst Case: Coney struggles with the pre-snap rigors of the Mike line- backer position and he doesn't make the positive steps needed in the pass game. Two-down inside linebackers aren't a top commodity in the NFL right now. Early Projection: Coney is a bit undersized and he's not a top-level athlete, but he's highly productive, physical and instinctive. If he can im- prove his pass coverage and show the ability to handle the pre-snap respon- sibilities of playing Mike linebacker, he could find himself as a fourth- or fifth-round player. TOP UNDERCLASSMEN JULIAN LOVE, CB Measurables: 5-11, 189 Best Case: Love continues his play- making ways from the 2017 season. His 23 passes broken up obliterated the previous school record, and he re- turned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns. During his junior sea- son, he could take advantage of Notre Dame playing more man and prove that he can be a lock-down corner. Worst Case: He doesn't make the third-year leap hoped for, so he re- turns for his senior season in 2019. Early Projection: Love is incred- ibly productive and has a high foot- ball IQ. His instincts and toughness are high-draft traits, but questions remain about his length and whether or not he's a top-flight athlete. If he checks those boxes he could be a day-two pickup. DAELIN HAYES, DE Measurables: 6-3¾, 264 Best Case: Hayes has always had elite potential, but in this case his potential becomes production. His strong play against the run contin- ues, but in his second year as a starter he becomes a premier pass rusher, making him a true three-way player that can play the run, rush the passer and handle playing in coverage. Worst Case: Hayes continues to be a steady player, but not a high im- pact one, so he returns for his senior season. Early Projection: If Hayes taps into his immense potential he realistically could develop into a first- or second- round pick, assuming his medicals check out. Players with his combination of size and athleticism are very, very hard to find. ✦ If defensive end Daelin Hayes can develop into an elite pass rusher during his junior campaign, he could make an early jump to the NFL. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL

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