The Irish 80: 56-60

News that senior defensive lineman Tony Springmann's Irish career has ended due to a lingering back injury drops the team's 2014 scholarship number to 80 entering August.

Freshman P #85 Tyler Newsome

Notre Dame's punter of the future has an outside chance to win the lead role for 2014. The means to that end: prove vastly superior to incumbent Kyle Brindza, one of the nation's best kickers and a solid punter to boot. Should he earn the role this fall, it'd be a much better sign for the Irish that Newsome wins the job in August rather than for Brindza to "lose it" at any point.

Realistic Ceiling: Starting punter at some point in 2014.
Other side of the coin: Redshirt season.

Junior DE #45 Romeo Okwara

A no-doubt starter in the team's new 4-3 front, Okwara is a likely candidate for sub package duties as well. He enters camp as one of three veterans (seniors Ishaq Williams and Anthony Rabasa) that will be counted upon heavily to provide a pass-rushing presence from the edge. The challenge for projected ends Williams and Okwara is to hold up against the run as well.

Realistic Ceiling: A break out season, one in which he works in congress with a host of backups to form a productive weak side presence against the run. Okwara can add to that by getting to the quarterback in one-on-one battles -- not simply as part of a heavy blitz package.
Other side of the coin: Fails to secure the edge vs. the myriad quality rushing attacks the Irish will face and it thus becomes clear his athleticism would have been best served as a strong side linebacker in the new scheme. (At 260, Okwara is all in as a DE for 2014.)

Soph. LB #17 James Onwualu

Listed as a linebacker not a safety, Onwualu (now six-foot-one, 220 pounds) will compete with John Turner, Ben Councell, and potentially others for a rotation role on the strong side (sam). Regardless, the physical, aggressive Onwualu will be counted upon to help inject life into the program's moribund kick coverage unit and he'll be a starter on every Irish special team.

Realistic Ceiling: Special Teams Player of the Year; intermittent impact as the sam.
Other side of the coin: A man without a position heading into his junior season.

Junior Slot #20 C.J. Prosise

Enters camp as 1B to senior Amir Carlisle's 1A at the slot position. Both will compete throughout camp and the season for the lion's share of reps -- expect Carlisle to hold down 1A status exiting camp, but Prosise is a player on the rise. Like Onwualu above, he (should be) on every Irish run team (coverages and returns).

Realistic Ceiling: Emerges as the No. 1 slot receiver and makes a weekly impact along the lines of the team's No. 4 pass-catching option. YAC (yards after the catch) becomes his calling card.
Other side of the coin: Backup duty equates to inconsistency, and 10-13 low-impact receptions are the end result.

Senior Rush End #56 Anthony Rabasa

Heretofore a man without a position, Rabasa might have found his. Not coincidentally, it's one in which he starred as a prep prospect and after seasons as a too-small defensive lineman and a not rugged enough inside 'backer, Rabasa will get his chance to pursue opposing quarterbacks, almost exclusively from the team's sub (nickel/dime) packages.

Realistic Ceiling: Two to three sacks and twice as many QB hurries as a rush end.
Other side of the coin: Status quo.

Next: Doug Randolph, Max Redfield, Cody Riggs, Corey Robinson, Isaac Rochell

IrishEyes.com Recommended Stories


  • Peyton Manning emerged alone atop yet another category in the NFL record book tonight vs the Niners, as he tossed touchdown #509 under the national spotlight of Sunday Night Football (NBC). (Photo…

  • Former USC and NFL running back LenDale White added tons of drama to what was a relatively quiet Homecoming weekend for the Trojans.

  • Here’s a way to watch football and improve your golf swing at the same time. In your living room (or on the range), practice the one-minute golf swing, as shown in this video. Set the timer on your…

  • Dr. Roto, like many others, can't believe Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (pictured above) passed for over 300 yards and rushed for over 100 yards in the same game. First time that's ever happened…

  • As soon as those winds fall off, get into the stand! I always tell people you can't kill them if you aren't out, but if you want to try and pick an opportune time – this is it.

Up Next


Notre Dame is at the midway point of its pre-season camp. In an impromptu press conference during…

Tweets