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Notre Dame Football

Looking at Lindy's Unit and Player Rankings

July 6, 2022
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July. 

Watch lists. Preseason rankings. Magazines. 

It’s a slow, but exciting time of the year as college football is just under two months away and fall camp is quick. 

Lindy’s Sports is one of the top preseason magazines as they compile analysis, thoughts and rankings from beat writers across the country, so it provides an interesting perspective on how programs are sometimes viewed. 

The unit rankings are always fascinating to read as those making the lists don’t always have a solid pulse on the day-to-day of each program, but some good points are made at the same time. 

We’ll take a look at where Notre Dame stacks up against its 2022 opponents today. 

BACKFIELD
Notre Dame didn’t make an appearance here, which is no surprise as the Irish will be breaking in a new quarterback and lost Kyren Williams to the NFL. Ohio State is ranked No. 1 as CJ Stroud and TreVeyon Henderson are quite the 1-2 punch. USC checks in at No. 3 as Lincoln Riley reeled in quarterback Caleb Williams and former Oregon running back Travis Dye. Boston College comes in at No. 8 as quarterback Phil jurkovec returns and there are high expectations for running back Pat Garwo III. 

Quarterback Rankings
1. CJ Stroud - Ohio State
3. Caleb Williams - USC
9. Phil Jurkovec - Boston College 
24. Jaren Hall - BYU
25. Tanner McKee - Stanford 

Running Back Rankings
3. TreVeyon Henderson - Ohio State 
5. Sean Tucker - Syracuse 
17. Travis Dye - USC
20. Will Shipley - Clemson 
22. Rasheen Ali - Marshall
25. Patrick Garwo III - Boston College 

RECEIVERS
The Fighting Irish did not make the top 10 in this group as they simply don’t have the depth despite having a soon-to-be household name in Lorenzo Styles and All-American tight end Michael Mayer. The Buckeyes check in at No. 2 and we’ll save you the time reading about them as the next two months will be all about Ohio State’s receivers. USC is No. 3 and this was before the Trojans landed Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison from Pitt. 

The good news for Notre Dame is Ohio State and USC are the only two opponents in the top 10, but the bad news is they will face some of the nation’s top skill players to open and close the season. 

Receiver Rankings
1. Jaxon Smith-Njigba - Ohio State 
3. Jordan Addison - USC
8. Josh Downs - UNC 
13. Mario Williams - USC 
19. Zay Flowers - Boston College 

Tight End Rankings
1. Michael Mayer - Notre Dame 

OFFENSIVE LINE
Harry Hiestand’s offensive line is ranked at No. 1 by Lindy’s. It might seem high, but Notre Dame returns the most as other top programs lost top players due to graduation and the NFL. Graduate student Jarrett Patterson will earn his share of preseason All-America awards, while sophomore tackles Joe Alt and Blake Fisher were thrown the wolves last year and played extremely good football. 

Surprise, surprise. Ohio State comes in at No. 2 as Paris Johnson is one of the nation’s best. Johnson, Luke Wypler and Dawand Jones are returning starters, while redshirt freshman Donovan Jackson was a five-star prospect. 

BYU is ranked No. 4 as the Cougars will have one of the best left sides in college football. The Cougars also added Oregon transfer Kingsley Suamataia, who was a five-star prospect by some services in 2021. 

Clemson checks in at No. 10, which is a little surprising as they struggled greatly in the pass and run game a year ago. 

Center Rankings
1. Jarrett Patterson - Notre Dame
4. Luke Wypler - Ohio State 

Guard Rankings
3. Clark Barrington - BYU

Tackle Rankings
2. Paris Johnson - Ohio State
6. Blake Freeland - BYU
7. Jordan McFadden - Clemson
8. Dawand Jones - Ohio State 

DEFENSIVE LINE
The Fighting Irish come in at No. 4 and that sounds about right. The edges of Al Washington’s line will be solid and the three-tech has talent and depth. At one-tech, Jacob Lacey has experience, but he’s battled through some early injuries, but looks to be past those. Chris Smith grad transferred from Harvard and has drawn early praise from summer workouts. But this group will go as far as edge Isaiah Foskey and interior star Jayson Ademilola take them. 

Clemson is ranked No. 1 and rightfully so as the Tigers return a ridiculous amount of talent led by Bryan Bresee, Myles Murphy, Tyler Davis and Xavier Thomas. Perhaps the most fitting statement is KJ Henry has recorded 19 career sacks and is a reserve defensive end in his fifth year. Tigers are loaded. 

The Buckeyes check in at No. 9. Defensive end Zach Harrison is the star, but has just 7.5 sacks in three years. J.T. Tuimoloau, Jack Sawyer and Javontae Jean-Baptiste are quality players on the edge, while Taron Vincent and Tyleik Williams are solid up the middle. And yes, defensive tackle Jerron Cage is still a Buckeye. 

Defensive End Rankings
1. Myles Murphy - Clemson 
3. Isaiah Foskey - Notre Dame
9. Zach Harrison - Ohio State 
10. Xavier Thomas - Clemson 

Defensive Tackle Rankings
2. Bryan Bresee - Clemson 
6. Tyler Davis - Clemson 
10. Tuli Tuipulotu - USC

LINEBACKERS
This is perhaps where Notre Dame could make a big jump as they aren’t ranked as a top 10 linebacker unit. Marist Liufau isn’t known on a national level, but I suspect most will know the Hawaii native by the end of the year. The Irish have a solid mix of veterans in Bo Bauer, Jack Kiser and JD Bertrand, but Notre Dame also has exciting young talent in Prince Kollie, Junior Tuihalamaka and Jaylen Sneed. The core Notre Dame rolls out against Ohio State could be very different by the end of the year. 

Clemson ranks No. 6 and is the only Notre Dame opponent in the top 10. Yes, James Skalski is gone, but Trenton Simpson might be one of the most underrated players in America. Simpson is a freak athlete and has recorded 93 tackles, 19.0 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in his first two seasons. 

Inside Linebacker Rankings
6. Mikel Jones - Syracuse 

Outside Linebacker Rankings
5. Trenton Simpson - Clemson

DEFENSIVE BACKS
Ready for a surprise? Notre Dame’s secondary is ranked No. 4. All-American safety Brandon Joseph transferred in from Northwestern and headlines the group. Cornerback Cam Hart is a name NFL scouts are watching closely as his athleticism and size are rare. TaRiq Bracy played well in the nickel and despite Notre Dame fans blasting him for his Fiesta Bowl performance, Clarence Lewis is experienced and has 11 passes defended in his first two years. Hart and Lewis could see a significant jump as both arrived at Notre Dame without playing much cornerback (if at all) so there were growing pains, but both seemed settled in and Al Golden’s defense needs them to get to the next level. Freshman cornerback Jaden Mickey was impressive this spring and if Ramon Henderson or Xavier Watts (or both) find comfort at safety, Notre Dame could be dangerous as Houston Griffith and DJ Brown provide a veteran presence at the third level. 

Ohio State checks in at No. 5 and the Buckeyes have NFL talent at safety. Josh Proctor and Ronnie Hickman are the vets, while early enrollee Kye Stokes was the talk of spring ball in Columbus. At cornerback, Denzel Burke is the name to watch, but don’t be surprised if redshirt freshman JK Johnson is the star by the end of the year. 

Cornerback Rankings
9. Kyu Blu Kelly - Stanford
10. Cam Hart - Notre Dame 
12. Denzel Burke - Ohio State 

Safety Rankings
2. Brandon Joseph - Notre Dame 
12. Andrew Mukuba - Clemson 

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