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Counting down the Irish: The top 25 players on the roster

Harrison Smith

As we did last offseason in preparation for fall camp, a group of guys that spend an unnatural amount of time thinking about Notre Dame football tried their best to rank the Irish roster heading into the 2010 season. It was a fun experiment, one that had some hits, some misses, but also reflected the uncertainty that came with a program in transition.

The group reached a near consensus that the top-three players on the Irish roster were Michael Floyd, Kyle Rudolph and Manti Te’o. After that, the top 25 seemed to scatter quite precipitously, a telling sign that nobody was quite sure what Notre Dame was walking into 2010, though they certainly had plenty of optimism.

While you can look back at our rationale at
your leisure, here’s my list of the Top 25 players on the roster at this time last year:

  1. TOP 25 IN 2010
  2. 1. Michael Floyd
  3. 2. Kyle Rudolph
  4. 3. Manti Te’o
  5. 4. Chris Stewart
  6. 5. Trevor Robinson
  7. 6. Brian Smith
  8. 7. Armando Allen
  9. 8. Dayne Crist
  10. 9. Darius Fleming
  11. 10. Ian Williams
  12. 11. Kapron Lewis-Moore
  13. 12. Ethan Johnson
  14. 13. Darrin Walls
  15. 14. Cierre Wood
  16. 15. Harrison Smith
  17. 16. Robert Hughes
  18. 17. Jamoris Slaughter
  19. 18. Steve Filer
  20. 19. Duval Kamara
  21. 20. Zack Martin
  22. 21. Theo Riddick
  23. 22. Gary Gray
  24. 23. Taylor Dever
  25. 24. TJ Jones
  26. 25. Nick Tausch

Overall, it wasn’t a terrible effort, though in retrospect it would’ve been fun to predict someone like David Ruffer making his move. That said, if you’re looking for a crystal ball, the closest I came was ranking Harrison Smith at No. 15, probably about ten spots shy of where he ended up, but higher than anybody else ranked him. (He was only ranked by two others.)

This year, I’ve polled members of the Irish blogosphere, infusing some new blood in the proceedings and taking a slightly different approach to rolling out the rankings. Joining me as esteemed talent evaluators are:

Frank Vitovitch of
DomerMQ of
Eric Murtaugh of
Matt Mattare of
Matt & CW of

Each of us ranked our Top 25 players on the roster, and after some fancy spreadsheet work by Frank, we averaged out our rankings and came up with a composite score that rated the collective Top 25 players on the roster.

We’ll roll out players 25-21 later this afternoon, but feel free to poke, prod, belittle, and challenge as we count down the final days before fall camp officially begins.