2012 College Football Early Preview
OFFENSE: Jonas Gray-RB, Michael Floyd-WR, Trevor Robinson-OG, Taylor Dever-OT, David Ruffer-K, Dayne Crist-QB (transferred)
DEFENSE: Ethan Johnson-DE, Darius Fleming-OLB, Robert Blanton-CB, Gary Gray-CB, Harrison Smith-S
TE Tyler Eifert
Offensive Skill Positions / Linebacker

The only significant loss on offense in regards to who handles the football is receiver Michael Floyd. Coach Brian Kelly is an offensive mind who will be working with a wealth of experience at QB, RB, WR and TE. All-American linebacker Manti Te'o has decided to stay for his senior year.

Secondary / QB Controversy

The secondary is the unit that takes the biggest hit. Three fulltime starters will move on. The same issues in the defensive backfield that haunted the Irish for the last 15 years is still an issue. Coaches like the explosiveness Andrew Hendrix brings to the table. He is now sharing time with Tommy Rees at the most scrutinized position in all of college football…Notre Dame QB.

LB Manti Te'o
* DEPTH CHARTS were only designed as a simplistic gauge for listing players that departed and players that received the most playing experience (consistent starters). recognizes the importance of missing personnel data not listed such as redshirts, transfers, injuries, incoming recruits, back ups and alternates. Their coverage will begin with our full 2012 Preseason Preview due out this coming spring.
Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Tommy Rees-Jr Andrew Hendrix-So
RB Cierre Wood-Jr George Atkinson-So
WR T.J. Jones-Jr John Goodman-Sr
WR Theo Riddick-Sr Robby Toma-Sr
WR .. ..
TE Tyler Eifert-Jr Ben Koyack-So
OT Zack Martin-Jr ..
OG Chris Watt-Jr ..
C Braxston Cave-Sr Mike Golic-Sr
OG .. ..
OT .. ..
K .. ..
Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Aaron Lynch-So ..
NG Louis Nix-So Sean Cwynar-Sr
DE Kapron Lewis-Moore-Sr Stephon Tuitt-So
OLB Troy Niklas-So Ishaq Williams-So
ILB Dan Fox-Jr Carlo Calabrese-Jr
ILB Manti Te'o-Sr Kendall Moore-So
OLB Prince Shembo-Jr Danny Spond-Jr
CB Lo Wood-Jr ..
CB Bennett Jackson-Jr ..
S Zeke Motta-Sr Austin Collinsworth-Jr
S Jamoris Slaughter-Sr Dan McCarthy-Sr
P Ben Turk-Sr ..
  • The Irish are not where they need to be yet under third year head coach Brian Kelly. The confidence required to win the close games is still missing and the secondary appears to be a hindrance again in South Bend. Finding someone to replace the importance of Smith and Blanton in this defensive backfield won't be easy.
  • The offense is getting closer to developing that much-needed running game with Cierre Wood. They just need to find a compliment for Wood now that touchdown maker Jonas Gray is gone.
  • Sophomore QB Tommy Rees is on pace to record the second-best completion percentage for a single season in Notre Dame history. Rees has shown he's a winner. He wasn't very good at Stanford and Andrew Hendrix came on and forced the Irish into a genuine quarterback controversy.
  • No question that losing playmaking receiver Michael Floyd will hurt. With his absence Tyler Eifert will become the next ND playmaker and the nation's best pass catching tight end. Eifert is a sure fire pro prospect.
  • Super recruit Aaron Lynch has already made a splash in his first year at defensive end. Outside of Lynch, the top three sack leaders were linebackers. Getting four-year starter Manti Te’o to stay in school was a huge coupe for this defense.
  • One aspect never changes...the schedule never gets easier. Half (6) of Notre Dame's 2012 opponents are in this Top 25 Early Preview. Half (3) of those are in our Top 10.



09/01 - Navy @Dublin, Ireland
09/08 - Purdue
09/15 - at Michigan State
09/22 - Michigan
10/06 - Miami FL @Chicago, IL
10/13 - Stanford
10/20 - Brigham Young
10/27 - at Oklahoma
11/03 - Pittsburgh
11/10 - at Boston College
11/17 - Wake Forest
11/24 - at Southern California