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Threats On The Outside: A Preview of Notre Dame's 2024 Wide Receivers

Updated: Jun 19

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Photo by Notre Dame Athletics


Notre Dame's wide receiver room has seen quite a bit of turnover since the end of last season. With the departures of Chris Tyree, Tobias Merriweather, Braylon James, and Rico Flores Jr., Notre Dame was desperate to retool the WR position that has left something to be desired in recent years. Along with the firing of WR coach Chansi Stuckey, the Notre Dame WR room appeared to be in a state of free-fall, as just a handful of scholarship receivers remained prior to the Sun Bowl. Now, just a few months away from the season, this group looks completely revamped and primed for a very productive and exciting year.


Returnees

Jayden Thomas - RS Jr.


Redshirt junior Jayden Thomas is one of the longest tenured players in the WR room. His time in the program has been a bit sporadic at times, but a big 2024-25 season would be pivotal for Notre Dame's offense. Over the last two seasons, Thomas raked in 46 catches for 671 yards. He has always operated as a reliable set of hands for the Irish, and he will have to continue to be reliable for an offense introducing transfer quarterback, Riley Leonard. Though he sometimes lacks the speed to gain meaningful separation, his 6'-2", 218 lb frame has and can continue to be a useful asset for the offense. With new upper-class weapons on the outside, Thomas will have something to prove as he enters a pivotal year in his collegiate career.


Jaden Greathouse - So.

As a freshman, Greathouse showed flashes of stardom, even with a lower body injury that held him back during the latter half of the year. In his first season, he recorded 18 receptions for 265 yards, and proved to be a guy with a nose for the end zone, with a team-high five touchdowns. Throughout last season, he showed off his physical playstyle, sharp route running, and quick footwork, making him a hard player to guard due to his shifty abilities. The young receiver appears to have a ton of potential, and looks to have an even more productive sophomore year. With great physical tools and a year under his belt, Greathouse looks to set himself apart as one of the biggest weapons on this Notre Dame team. He will likely split time with another extremely talented slot receiver who we will discuss shortly.


Jordan Faison - So.


Faison is another young and talented player in this WR room with the production to back up the talent. He stands only at 5'-10", 179 lbs, but possesses great footwork and athleticism. He displayed these translational skills this offseason where he was a part of a National Championship winning lacrosse team, and in just a few short months, has garnered some serious national attention. With a depleted WR room, Faison took advantage of his opportunity and was named the Sun Bowl player of the game, giving fans a look into the future. Faison has all the tools to be a viable asset alongside Greathouse at the slot position, giving the Irish two elite options for the next two to three seasons.


Deon Colzie - RS Jr.


Colzie has been with the Irish since the 2021 season, yet is still looking for a consistent and productive year. Colzie has one of the more prototypical frames in the group, standing at 6'-4", but has not been able to find real production during his time at Notre Dame. In his three years on the roster, he has only amassed 16 receptions, totalling just three this past season. Colzie will provide solid depth on the outside, but it is yet to be seen if he can earn playing time on a consistent basis. If he does, Colzie could be a great change of pace WR with real size, and if he doesn't, he will provide the offense with experience coming off the bench. With loads of incoming talent, this truly feels like the season where Colzie will need to make a push if he hopes to be a key piece in this offense.


KK Smith - RS Fr.


KK Smith enters his second year at Notre Dame after redshirting his freshman year. Smith came into Notre Dame as a 3-star recruit from Reedy, Texas, expected to learn behind the upperclassmen. In high school, Smith showed his potential as a very explosive return man, with potential to add a much needed injection of speed to the room. He showcased some promise during the Blue-Gold game, where he caught three passes for just over 30 yards. Smith gives Notre Dame's offense more depth, but will likely benefit from another year of development before he's able to make more of a consistent impact.


Newcomers

Kris Mitchell - GR Sr.


Mitchell is by far the most exciting new WR on the roster this upcoming season, and should have Notre Dame fans on the edge of their seats every time he catches the ball. Mitchell comes to Notre Dame after four years at Florida International University. This past season was his most productive year with 64 receptions for 1,118 yards and 7 touchdowns. This is incredible production to have on this offense, but it is his film that really jumps out. Unlike past seasons, Notre Dame is going to have a legitimate deep threat on the outside capable of making defenders miss with an incredible catch radius to boot. He is an explosive athlete, with good size at 6'-1". Mitchell will provide the Fighting Irish offense with ability to score on any play, which will surely make this offense fun to watch.


Jayden Harrison - GR Sr.


Speaking of speed, Marshall transfer Jayden Harrison has plenty of that. Harrison is an experienced WR who is at his third school after playing for Vanderbilt and Marshall. At both schools, he displayed his elite speed and impact as a special teams difference maker, ranking second in the FBS for kick return average. Though undersized at 5'-9", and in a crowded WR room, his impact on special teams is where he can really set himself apart. Harrison can easily be the reason Notre Dame keeps its tradition of impactful special teams play alive and well in 2024.


Beaux Collins - GR Sr.


Clemson transfer Beaux Collins comes to Notre Dame with the potential to be one of the offense's most reliable and go-to threats, especially in the red zone. As a senior, Collins brings in even more experience and proven production in the Irish's WR room. From 2021-24, Collins caught 91 passes for just over 1200 yards and found the end zone 11 times. He uses his long, 6'-3" frame to be a dangerous weapon on the outside, and a big target near the end zone, especially as a jump ball target. Collins, along with Thomas and Colzie, will provide enough size to give 50-50 balls some merit this season.


Cam Williams - Fr.


The 4-Star freshman is one of the highest rated receivers Notre Dame has landed in a while. At 6'-2", Williams offers a special blend of size and athleticism, which gives him the ability to go get the football and separate from the defense, making him lethal with and without the ball in his hands. Although he might not see a ton of playing time in this crowded room with a lot of experienced players, Williams is sure to have a huge impact on the Notre Dame offense in the coming years, if not this year should any injury concerns arise.


Micah Gilbert - Fr.


Gilbert arrives to Notre Dame as a consensus 4-star recruit, bringing a lot of speed and hype with him. The Charlotte product not only has incredible speed that really shows up on film, he also has great size to pair with it, standing at 6'-2". Gilbert has been outrunning tacklers and making players miss his entire high school career, and has been turning heads all throughout spring and summer. It wouldn't be surprising to see Gilbert crack the starting lineup given the production we've seen from him thus far, as he has easily been the best receiving threat out of the freshmen since his arrival on campus.


Logan Saldate - Fr.


Notre Dames brings in another talented 4-star WR, Logan Saldate, whose skills perfectly compliment the other freshmen in this group. Saldate offers a different set of skills compared to Williams' and Gilbert's size and speed. Saldate projects to be more of a slot receiver with his smooth route running, good hands, and fast feet. This, along with his smaller 5'-11" frame, gives Notre Dame an elusive target in the slot who has the ability to make contested catches in the middle of the field. He'll likely spend his freshman season learning under some of Notre Dame's finest route technicians in the slot. Looking into the future, Williams, Gilbert, and Saldate have all the potential and skills to lead the WR room, especially when they all fill the needs of an offense in their own unique way.


Overall, this Notre Dame WR group seems to have more than enough talent. It has all the right amount of size, speed, route running, potential, and experience, something that Notre hasn't always had. This, along with Riley Leonard and new offensive coordinator, Mike Denbrock, Notre Dame's offense will certainly have a different feel to it. You can tell that the coaching staff made a major emphasis to fill this room with size and speed. It will be interesting to see how Denbrock uses all of these weapons, but an experienced play-caller like himself will surely have methods to open up this offense.

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