Here’s our first look at some of the players you should be watching out for this September when Notre Dame take on Navy in the Aviva Stadium.
Riddick is a running back turned wide receiver with great feet and alarming pace. Look out for him lining up in the slot and getting opportunities on screen passes and he’ll also be sharing kick return duty. In his three years at Notre Dame he has 84 receptions for 920 yards and 6 TDs along with 54 rushing attempts for 252 yards. Coach Kelly has been reported as saying Riddick may return to the running back position this season, Riddick would relish a return to his nature position.
Wood is the teams first choice running back coming into the 2012 season. His combination of power, speed and agility make him one of the top backs in college football. Wood is looking to improve on a great season last year with 1100+ yards and 9 touchdowns. The Irish back also has decent hands and is used as a receiver out of the back field. Wood may also share kick return duty with Riddick.
Te’o could have left Notre Dame for the NFL last year but the highly rated inside linebacker decided he had unfinished business at Notre Dame and so returned for his senior year. Mel Kiper Jr had Te’o as a first round draft pick last year, easily justifiable after a 120+ tackles season. Although not blessed with blistering speed, Te’o has great tackling technique and his ability to read the offense keeps him a step ahead.
Tight End Tyler Eifert came into the starting line up in 2010 to replace injured Kyle Rudolf, he finished the season with 27 receptions for 352 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games. In 2011, after taking over as starter, Eifert broke Notre Dame’s tight end single season receptions and receiving yards record with 63 receptions for 803 yards and five touchdowns. The 2011 Mackey Award finalist is already drawing comparisons to Rob Gronkoswki due to his large frame and great catching ability.
With Michael Floyd in the NFL, Notre Dame’s number 81 has a chance to make his mark at wide receiver in 2012. Goodman has 28 catches for 315 yards so far in his 3 seasons at ND, and a 32 yard passing touchdown to Floyd last season, but with no touchdowns since his first season in 2009 he needs to step it up this year.