With the anticipation mounting, it would be a good idea to introduce a few player’s ND has that you need to keep an eye on.
I was at the Notre Dame Spring Game, where I wrote about some key takeaways sand there were elements of the team I found to be impressive.
Here are my five players to watch:
QB Brandon Wimbush, 6-1 225 lbs
Wimbush is a mixed bag and has been inconsistent to this point at ND but his ceiling is sky high, his athleticism and arm talent can wow you on any given play. Wimbush rushed for 803 yards in 2017, rushing for over 100 yards four times. He is as dangerous as any quarterback in college football with his legs and limiting the damage will be a big key for Don Brown’s defense if Michigan is to win the game.
When you look at Wimbush’s completion percentage in 2017 (49.5%) you’d think he is a below average quarterback. Far from it. Wimbush can fit some balls into the smallest of windows with torque and authority, he makes plays that make you go “wow!” But Wimbush will follow up those wow plays with head scratchers and errant throws that sail out of bounds or too far away for his receiver to even get a hand on the ball.
We’ll delve more into Wimbush’s pros and cons in the near future, but his 2017 campaign of 1,870 yards passing along with 16 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions are respectable numbers.
RB Dexter Williams, 5-11 203 lbs
Williams is an all-purpose back with a skill-set that can dash and gash. Williams only carried the rock 39 times in 2017, but he rushed for 360 yards nonetheless, a whooping 9.23 yards per carry. Possessing a good center of balance, shiftiness, power, and quick open field acceleration, Williams will be a worthy foe for the Wolverines D.
WR Chase Claypool, 6-4 229 lbs
Claypool is a big bad dude who can take the top off a defense and go get the football. Back-shoulder catches, jump-ball victories, and comeback route execution are all things Claypool brings to the Fighting Irish offense. The Canadian monster hauled in 29 receptions for 402 yards in 2017, but could very well double up on those numbers in 2018.
DL Adetokunbo Ogundeji, 6-4 251 lbs
Ogundeji is a redshirt sophomore who has yet to record a mark on the stat sheet, but don’t let that fool you. He may even be a rotational player to start the year, but look for him to make those snaps count in a big way. Coach Brian Kelly recently said Ogundeji would play some significant football for ND, and that he has great numbers in the weight room, is really strong, and really tough.
LB Drue Tranquill, 6-2 233 lbs
A team captain and the leader of this Fighting Irish defense, Tranquill has an impressive skill-set that has him around the football nearly every play. Strong and fast, Tranquill racked up 85 tackles (44 solo) in 2017, 10.5 of which were tackles for loss.