First rate: Defensive backs

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This is the best position among Notre Dame and the teams on its slate this fall - by far. All but Arizona State has at least two starters returning, and 11 of the 13 defenses ranked 65th or better in pass efficiency coverage, including No. 2 Florida State, No. 4 Louisville and No. 14 USC.
An incredible amount of productivity returns in the secondaries of these teams, which means Irish quarterbacks Everett Golson and/or Malik Zaire better be prepared to protect the football against these ball-hawking defensive backs.
Here is the seventh installment of our First-Rate series with secondaries ranked in descending order. Other than Navy and Purdue a year ago, every one of these units should at least be pretty good, and that includes the Midshipmen and Boilermakers, both of whom return three starters on the back end.