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Who Is The Most Impressive Player For The Irish So Far?

Written by Cade Harper | Contributor | Twitter: @CadeHarperIT

Photo by 247 Sports


This 2023 season has been a whirlwind for Notre Dame fans. Some are nervous for what lies ahead, some are ready to rip Ohio State's head off. It's an even mix, but let's focus on the now based on what has happened just three games in. Which players are turning the most heads? Who is expected to have a breakout season through the next 9 games?

Photo by USA Today


I think we can start off by saying something that we as fans have been very, very impressed with. That would be the entire Running Back Core. This 5 headed demon we have in the backfield is something some of us fans have not seen before. The best part about this, they are all getting the job done so well. You can say Estime of course, but how about the guys behind him? Ja'darian Price, Jeremiyah Love, Gi'bran Payne are all getting somewhat of an even workload and still producing very impressive numbers despite all being backups. Price is an even mix of an elusive, punch you in your throat type of player that is beautiful for Gerad Parker's offense as he is being used just about everywhere. Jeremiyah Love, who has already exceeded 100 yards on the year, is the more shifty, break your ankles, then dance in the endzone as you pick grass out of your facemask, kind of player. I love the mix, this shows teams that they truly never know what they are going to get when these guys line up next to QB1.

Photo by USA Today


Here's another guy that has definitely caught my eye, as I'm sure most of the fans as well, is Jaden Greathouse. The freshman Wide Receiver from Austin, TX has had a stellar year so far and has been one of the more surprising pass catchers for the Irish. He is currently sharing the touchdown lead with Holden Staes (3) and listed 4th most in total receiving yards (113). He had a very impressive season opener in Ireland versus Navy and also scored against NCST this past Saturday. I'm looking forward for Greathouse to develop into Parker's offense this season as well as the coming years.

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Let's talk about the defensive side of the ball now. I think we're all excited about what the offense can do, but I personally think the defense isn't getting enough credit for what they have done. Currently, the Irish defense is allowing just a small 13.5 points per game. This past Saturday against the Wolfpack, they let up their first touchdown three weeks into the season. Regardless who anyone plays, that's an impressive stat. One of the leading players I'd love to point out in this defense is Marist Liufau. If you watched this past Saturday's game you would've noticed Liufau around just about every tackle. He is currently one tackle behind Jack Kiser who leads the team with 16 total tackles. So far, Marist leads the team in assisted tackles as well as forced fumbles. The Polynesian beast is a force to be reckon with this season and I'm excited to see how he plays his senior year of football.

Photo by Sports Illustrated


A player I think most will be surprised is on this list is newly positioned Wide Receiver, Chris Tyree. Tyree is one of the most electric players Notre Dame has had. He reminds me personally of Theo Riddick back in 2012. Tyree's main position was at Running Back but played in the Slot position, lined up as the outside receiver, and then would line up behind the QB. Now in 2023, he's made the transition to WR and is now, quietly, Notre Dame's leading receiver in total yards. Tyree has given us plenty of memories, but I think he has proved a lot of people wrong this year as he has made his transition. One of the best parts about it being early in the 2023 season is that we still have time to see this Hartman to Tyree connection really grow into something special.

Photo by 247 Sports


Honorable mentions that were not listed above that other fans may have put in this list are Notre Dame's second leader in tackles so far, Howard Cross III, up and coming Tight End Holden Staes who has just come off a career game in Raleigh, and the new record holder for longest field goal in Notre Dame history, Spencer Shrader. These are guys that have definitely turned some heads. Starting with Howard Cross, he holds the spot of second most total tackles on the team as well as sharing the lead of assisted tackles with Marist Liufau, who was listed above. Cross is a guy that has been everywhere on the field thus far for the Irish and I must say I am impressed with how he is performing despite filling the shoes of star defensive linemen Isaiah Foskey, who declared for the 2022 NFL Draft. Holden Staes is coming off a very impressive career high game as he notched just 4 catches, two of the four going for touchdowns, for 115 yards. This made him the first Irish receiver to put up 100+ receiving yards in a game this season. It will be interesting to see how Parker gets these young TE's involved now without Michael Mayer. Last but not least, the kicker, Spencer Shrader. If you watched Saturday's game, you'll know already Shrader had attempted a 54 yard field goal and it was good, making him the record holder for longest field goal from a Notre Dame kicker. They sent him back out for a 56 yarder not long after the first, but it unfortunately bounced off the upright, making the record sit at 54. This is promising because he did this in very tough weather conditions. If Notre Dame is ever put in tough spots in late games I will not doubt it that Shrader can make something happen for us and I will not regret putting our kicker in the "Most Impressive List". As this 2023 season goes on, we'll continue to see a number of Irish players catch our attention and I am sure of that. Be on the look out for these guys listed above as they continue their stellar year.

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