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Michael Floyd, Manti Te'o: Which Irish Player of the Past Would Elevate the 2023 Team?

By Liam Farrell|Senior Staff Writer|Twitter/X: @LiamFarrell_IT

Via The Irish Tribune


SOUTH BEND, Ind.- For the second year in a row, Notre Dame will end the regular season without a double digit win total. During the Brian Kelly era, Irish fans across the globe have had the mindset of a playoff or bust year. The first two years of the Marcus Freeman era have had great highs and treacherous lows, that hadn't been seen in the last years of Kelly's rule at Notre Dame. The facet about Freeman that everyone loves is his personality, which leads to his team loving him and great recruiting success. However, these off-the-field victories haven't transitioned into success between the white lines. This made me question: If one former Notre Dame player could be put onto the 2023 roster, who would make the biggest impact? Let's break down some answer choices below.





Big Play Receiving Threat


Michael Floyd. Michael Floyd was one of the biggest recruits that Notre Dame has landed in the 21st century. A five star product from Saint Paul, Minnesota, Floyd blossomed early on in his career with the Irish. The 6'3" big bodied wide receiver led the team in yards in both his sophomore and junior seasons before declaring for the NFL draft. In those two years alone, Floyd tallied 21 touchdowns, along with 2,172 yards. If Floyd was on this year's Irish team, Sam Hartman could finally throw those 50/50 balls he was so accustomed to at Wake Forest.


Will Fuller. Talk about a speed demon. Fuller was basically the sole reason the 2015 Irish scored points in their games. 3rd and long? Just throw it to Fuller on a post of a go route and it would work 75% of the time. Even while nursing an injury in the bowl game versus Ohio State, Fuller still had more speed than the healthy cornerbacks that were attempting to guard him. In that 2015 season, Fuller racked up 1,258 yards and 14 touchdowns, in which he led the Notre Dame offense to a 10-2 regular season record. If Fuller was on this year's team, the field would open up so much more for Hartman and he would finally have a receiver that could create separation.


Honorable Mentions:


Golden Tate and Jeff Samardzija. Both Tate and Samardzija would be great options on this Notre Dame team, but I'm unsure how much they would elevate the Irish's passing threat. Chris Tyree actually reminds me a lot of Golden Tate, but Tate had much more of a knack of making the big play. Samardzija also had this clutch factor about him as well, but his speed would definitely be an issue in the current age of college football.


Defensive Anchor


Manti Te'o. Simply put, Te'o was a different type of competitor at Notre Dame. Every game, Te'o played with such a passion and desire that ignited the 2012 Notre Dame defense to become legendary. While it's unfortunate that the scandal shines brighter in most people's memories outside of Notre Dame fans, Te'o's on-field success in 2012 was frankly unreal. Te'o's 7 interceptions as a linebacker is the craziest stat, including 111 tackles. Te'o would instantly fix the tackling woes this Notre Dame linebacker unit is currently facing.


Justin Tuck. Tuck would make this entire Notre Dame defense significantly better. While Javonte Jean-Baptiste has shown glimpses of glory this season, Notre Dame hasn't really been able to pressure the quarterback from a 4 lineman rush. Tuck would single handily fix this problem, which would cause the incredibly talented Notre Dame secondary to pickup even more interceptions. Tuck's 13.5 sacks in the 2003 season are still the Notre Dame record for most sacks in a single season. With this much pressure on opposing QB's, Tuck would be a difference maker.





Honorable Mentions:


Stephon Tuitt and Jaylon Smith. Both of these players would make an extreme impact on this Notre Dame team. I labeled them both behind the players at their respective position, strictly from a stats based perspective. Jaylon Smith had much greater raw natural skills than Te'o; however, that 2012 season will never be replicated from a linebacker in college football. As it comes to Tuitt, his pass rushing ability would allow this already talented Notre Dame secondary to prosper even more.


What Do You Think?


Let Me Know in the Comments Below!

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13 nov. 2023

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