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The Standard: Best Performers in 2022

Written by Liam Gaudet, Senior Editor


It's no secret that Notre Dame possesses the talent to be an elite football team in all phases of the game, and through ups and downs, there are a few players worth special recognition at the end of the season in which they truly excelled in their field. These individuals embody the future which lies ahead for this program, and as long as recruiting maintains its excellent course, expect to see players of this caliber continue to show out for years to come under the dome.


Joe Alt - Offensive Tackle

Photo by ON3


The ultra-talented sophomore tackle hailing from North Oaks Minnesota was under-recruited coming out of high school, and as a result, was undervalued by the majority of recruiting websites. A three-star prospect according to rivals, Alt continues to prove the doubters wrong, using his towering 6'7 frame to push defenders off the point of attack and pave the way for the majority of the success that was found both on the ground and through the air for what was otherwise an average at best offense. With the return of coach Harry Hiestand, Alt picked up right where he left off after an astounding freshman campaign, earning first-team All American honors. It is safe to say he is well on his way to continuing the legacy of incredible first round draft worthy offensive lineman at Notre Dame. Alt will no doubt be the stalwart of Notre Dame's protectors next season, and is an example to be followed for decades to come. In a few short years, don't be surprised to see Alt's name mentioned amongst the likes of Ronnie Stanley, Zack Martin and Quenton Nelson in Notre Dame lore.


Audric Estime - Running Back

Photo by 247 Sports


I've never been more excited for a recruiting victory than I was a little over a year ago when Notre Dame flipped Audric Estime from Michigan State. This dude is serious, and although many believed him to be the lead back, I often felt he was underutilized in key situations throughout the season. After a slow start and some fumble issues, the ground game hit its stride with Estime earning back-to-back 100 yard performances against two ranked opponents in Syracuse and Clemson in the latter-half of the season. When it was all said and done, Estime finished with 920 total rushing yards and 11 scores on the ground, adding nine receptions for 135 yards and a score through the air to boot. Although these aren't mind boggling counting stats, it's important to remember that he shared touches almost equally with Chris Tyree and Logan Diggs. Estime also averaged nearly six yards a carry, and most of that was accomplished through his punishing running style where he often dragged defenders well past the line to gain. I'm so excited to see how much more he develops in the offseason, and if he can hit that next level and make himself a household name in the college football landscape.


Benjamin Morrison - Cornerback

Photo by 247 Sports


Who saw this coming? When the face of the Notre Dame secondary in Kyle Hamilton departed for the NFL, I winced a little bit when imagining the issues we may have defending the pass in the future. Enter true freshman Benjamin Morrison, who jumped Clarence Lewis on the depth chart early in the season and never looked back. Morrison finished the season with a team leading six interceptions, capped by a three interception performance against Boston College and a two interception performance at home against Clemson where he returned his second nearly the length of the field for a touchdown. Often targeted early by opponents, Morrison rose to the challenge and completely shut down number one receivers, while also showing the instincts and ability to challenge and make punishing tackles. Just a true freshman, Marcus Freeman's elite recruiting ability has already churned out a major playmaker on the defensive side of the ball for an Irish team that desperately needed it. Having consistent elite play in the secondary is a welcomed change for Notre Dame, as it is often one of the weakest areas on the roster from year to year. A product of of his exceptional focus, Morrison will no doubt be a force for years to come.


Isaiah Foskey - Vyper

Photo by ESPN


When Isaiah Foskey would announce that he would be returning for his senior season, my jaw hit the floor. I was so excited to see the level of dominance that we all expected from the De La Salle product we were used to, and even after a slow start, Foskey would indeed deliver. Racking up 11 sacks, Foskey would go on to break the all time sack record at Notre Dame previously held by the great Justin Tuck. Teams started to hold Foskey on nearly every play, but even that wasn't enough to stop him, as even when he wasn't able to get to the quarterback, he would apply enough pressure to force an incompletion or disrupt the timing of a play. With the infusion of life to the special teams unit courtesy of Brian Mason, Foskey was able to block a few punts during the season as well, adding another dimension to his skills for NFL scouts to consider. There isn't much else that can be said about Foskey that hasn't been already, so I'll end it by saying thank you to one of the most dominant pass rushers to ever play for the Fighting Irish.


Michael Mayer - Tight End

Photo by The Athletic


Shame on the Mackey Award selection committee for snubbing the greatest tight end in the sport of the award. Mayer lead Notre Dame in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns as a tight end this season, which is absolute insanity until you remember just how talented he is. Mayer now holds all career records for tight ends at Notre Dame, and I think its safe to say he is the greatest to ever do it at the position in the history of Irish football. Whether it be making circus catches to bail out the offense, or elevating his game to new heights with elite blocking skills, Mayer truly has the tools to do it all. To think that his stats could have been even better with more stability and talent at quarterback only speaks to his skillset further. We can only hope that highly rated tight end prospects from around the country have noticed just how dominant you can be at Notre Dame, but there's no doubt that Mayer is a once in a generation talent. No matter where he gets drafted, he will be a steal and is easily the most pro-ready prospect on the Notre Dame roster.





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