Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Notre Dame Football Position Preview: Wide Receiver

Previously Covered
Halfback and Fullback

Spotlight: Robby Parris


Also Returning: Brian Couglin, Michael Floyd, Dan Franco, Christopher Gurries, Duval Kamara, Kris Patterson, Golden Tate, Sam Vos, George West
Lost: David Grimes, Kris Patterson (graduation), Michael Garcia (position change - cornerback), Richard Jackson (transfer)
Gained: Barry Gallup, Jr. (position change - halfback), Derry Herlihy (walk-on), John Goodman, Deion Walker (DNP as freshmen), Shaquelle Evans, Roby Toma (freshman)

With all the talent on Notre Dame's roster, why give Robby Parris the spotlight? Quite simply, the Cleveland-area product has something to prove. Going into his final year of eligibility, Parris is hoping to prove that 2008 was a fluke, and that 2007 (when he was third on the team in catches and second in receiving yards) was a truer reflection of his talent.

After breakout seasons in 2008, Golden Tate and Michael Floyd have locked up starting spots on the Irish depth chart. But the third and fourth receiver spots are still in doubt. Veterans Parris and Duval Kamara appear to be the popular choices for those spots, but they'll have to battle bumps and bruises, a history of dropped passes, and a slew of untested players chomping at the bit. John Goodman, Deion Walker, and Shaquelle Evans have yet to see a college field on gameday, but all figure to make their debuts this year - and quite possibly replace Kamara and Parris on the depth chart.

In 2007, Notre Dame's wide receivers were nicknamed "the Smurfs" by their head coach, because of the short stature of the group. Now, the roster is littered with receivers 6'2" and above, and the lone remaining Smurfs - George West and Barry Gallup - will be lucky to play anything but special teams. Meanwhile, freshman Smurf-in-training Roby Toma will likely spend the year off the field and in the weight room looking to add to his 5'9", 175 pound frame.

Last year, Notre Dame was forced to run multi-receiver sets a majority of the time because of the lack of depth at tight end. This year, they may run multi-receiver sets a majority of the time just to get their best talent on the field.