With the freshman numbers officially released/approved by Notre Dame recently, we look at some of the most famous figures who wore those numbers.
QB Avery Davis — 13
“Unlucky No. 13” was a wonderfully prosperous number at Notre Dame for a full decade from 1987-96 under head coach Lou Holtz with six-year NFL player Pat Eilers (1987-89), a regular at flanker during the school record 23-game winning streak, first-round cornerback Tom Carter (1990-92) and defensive end Bert Berry, who played professionally 13 years and was All-Pro in 1994.
Former QB recruit Danny Spond (2010-13) became an outstanding drop linebacker for the 12-1 unit in 2012.
Davis’ QB coach now, Tom Rees (2010-13), wore this number as a freshman for the 2010 Irish — leading a 4-0 finish in his four starts — before switching to No. 11 the next season, with Spond then taking his No. 13.
RB C.J. Holmes — 15
There still might be a numbers switch for the early entrant from what we understand, but the top running back at Notre Dame with this number was Elmer Angsman (1943-45), a future NFL star with unparalleled toughness. In a 1945 contest versus Navy, he lost 11 teeth from a hit — and still played 54 of the possible 60 minutes in that same game.
Quarterback Kevin McDougal (1990-93) starred as a senior for the 11-1 team in 1993, while cornerback Allen Rossum (1994-97) became one of the top return men in college and NFL annals.
WR Jafar Armstrong — 25
This is the all-time speed number at Notre Dame, led by the peerless Raghib “Rocket” Ismail (1988-90).
Prior to him, maybe the fastest player for the Irish had been running back Al Hunter (1973, 1975-76), the first 1,000-yard rusher in a season at Notre Dame, and whose kickoff return for a score versus Alabama in the 1973 Sugar Bowl helped result in a national title.
Running back Randy Kinder (1993-96) and safety Tony Driver (1997-2000) were state sprint champions as well.
Also prominent was Dick Lynch (1955-57), who tallied the late TD in the stunning 1957 upset of Oklahoma and became an All-Pro defensive back while twice leading the league in interceptions.
WR Michael Young — 87
The Gold Standard at receiver with this number is Lake Dawson (1990-93), now an NFL executive. But this number also was worn by starting defensive end Tom Rhoads (1964-66) for the 1966 national champs and tight end Jabari Holloway (1997-2000).
TE Cole Kmet — 84
Halfback Jack Elder (1927-29) was the Rocket of his time with his speed that helped Knute Rockne win a national title in 1929.
There has been a first-round tight end with this number too in Irv Smith (1989-92), plus another long-time pro was John Owens (1998-2001), although he seldom was used as a receiver.
An individual who can’t be forgotten is 1936-37 guard Harvey Foster, who served with distinction in the FBI and has one of the top awards at Notre Dame named after him.
TE Brock Wright — 89
Not much more needs to be said than Ross Browner (1973, 1975-77), the most dominant defenseman in school history while helping the Irish capture two national titles.
At tight end, the standard is John Carlson (2004-07), a second-round selection. Jim Kelly (1961-63) also was an All-American wideout, while defensive lineman Kapron Lewis-Moore (2009-12) was superb on and off the field for the 12-1 team in 2012.
OL Aaron Banks — 69
There has never been a more beloved figure in Notre Dame athletics than football star Ed “Moose” Krause (1931-33), who also is in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and was the athletics director at his alma mater from 1949-81.
Defensive lineman George “Boo” Williams (1987-90) was overshadowed by classmate Chris Zorich, but was an integral figure for the 1988 national champs. Former tight end recruit Mike Gandy (1997-2000) excelled as a left tackle at Notre Dame and in the NFL.
OL Robert Hainsey — 72
Hall of Famer Bill “Moose” Fischer (1946-48), who won the Outland Trophy as a senior, headlines a prominent group of linemen that also includes long-time pro Ray Lemek (1953-55), first-round defensive lineman Mike Kadish (1969-71) and All-American guard Gerry DiNardo (1972-74).
Ryan Leahy (1992-95), grandson of Notre Dame icon Frank Leahy, was a rare two-time captain for the Irish.
OL Josh Lugg — 75
Likely the most recognized figure is 1993 Lombardi Award recipient and two-time All-American guard/tackle Aaron Taylor.
Leahy had starters for national title teams in John Mastrangelo (1944-46) and Bob Toneff (1949-51), who became a four-time Pro Bowl selection.
Myron Pottios (1958-60) also became an NFL star at linebacker, while the Ara Parseghian era featured six-time Pro Bowl figure Bob Kuechenberg (1966-68) and All-American, second-round pick Greg Marx (1970-72).
OL Dillan Gibbons — 76
Two College Football Hall-of-Fame members are among the luminaries here. Rockne had center Tommy Yarr (1929-31) for two national titles, and Leahy featured one of the most popular figures ever to don an Irish jersey: Zygmont “Ziggy” Czarobski (1942-43, 1946-47), who was part of three national championships.
Tom Regner (1964-66) starred at defensive tackle and offensive guard for Parseghian and was a first-round pick after the 1966 national title campaign.
The Holtz era had versatile offensive linemen Gene McGuire (1988-91) and Jeremy Akers (1992-96). Later, center/guard Bob Morton (2003-06) was a four-year starter.
Tomorrow: Freshman numbers on defense.