Notre Dame Spring Superlatives
Spring practice starts this week with two getting-to-know-you sessions with six new Notre Dame assistant coaches on Wednesday (March 8) and Friday (March 10) before the school and team go on spring semester break from March 11-19. Head coach Brian Kelly will hold his pre-spring conference at noon today.
Practice then will not resume until Wednesday, March 22 before concluding with the annual Blue-Gold Game April 22.
Overall, Notre Dame returns eight of 11 starters on offense and seven of 11 on defense.
The eight on offense are running back Josh Adams, receivers Equanimeous St. Brown and CJ Sanders, tight end Durham Smythe and offensive linemen Mike McGlinchey, Quenton Nelson, Sam Mustipher and Alex Bars.
The 75 career starts returning along the offensive line are nearly triple the number from 2016 (27), and more than the 68 in 2015 that was led by first-round pick Ronnie Stanley at left tackle and Nick Martin at center.
On defense the returning starters are linemen Jerry Tillery and Andrew Trumbetti, linebackers Nyles Morgan and Te’von Coney, safeties Drue Tranquill and Devin Studstill, and cornerback/nickel Julian Love.
On special teams, kicker Justin Yoon and punter Tyler Newsome have started each of the past two seasons, while current freshman long-snapper John Shannon, redshirted last season, is slated to take over for graduated four-year starter Scott Daly.
Here is the breakdown of most career starts, with the number in parentheses indicating the number of starts last year.
Most Career Starts
OT Mike McGlinchey — 26 (12)
OG Quenton Nelson — 23 (12)
TE Durham Smythe — 15 (12)
OT Alex Bars — 14 (12)
C Sam Mustipher — 12 (12)
WR Equanimeous St. Brown — 12 (12)
RB Josh Adams — 12 (9)
WR CJ Sanders — 7 (7)
TE Alize Jones — 5 (0)
TE Nic Weishar — 3 (1)
TE Tyler Luatua — 3 (0)
WR Kevin Stepherson — 3 (3)
OL Hunter Bivin — 1 (1)
LB Nyles Morgan — 16 (12)
S Drue Tranquill — 16 (12)
DL Jerry Tillery — 15 (12)
DE Andrew Trumbetti — 11 (7)
NG Daniel Cage — 11 (4)
LB Greer Martini — 10 (4)
LB Te’von Coney — 9 (9)
S Devin Studstill — 9 (9)
CB Julian Love — 8 (8)
CB Donte Vaughn — 4 (4)
CB Troy Pride — 3 (3)
CB Nick Coleman — 2 (2)
CB Shaun Crawford — 2 (2)
CB Nick Watkins — 1 (0)
DL Jonathan Bonner — 1 (1)
Most Career Rushing Yards
1. Josh Adams, 1,768 — The only three players to have more yards rushing going into their junior seasons at Notre Dame were Allen Pinkett, Darius Walker and current running backs coach Autry Denson.
2. Dexter Williams, 281 — He rushed for 200 as a sophomore last season while backing up Adams and Tarean Folston, who bypassed his fifth season of eligibility to try his hand in the NFL.
3. Brandon Wimbush, 96 yards — The projected starting quarterback made two game appearances in mop-up duty as a 2015 freshman, highlighted by rushing for 92 yards on four carries versus UMass, most notably a 58-yard touchdown.
4. CJ Sanders, 22 yards — The slot’s four carries on the jet sweep last year averaged 5.5 yards.
Most Career Passing Yards
1. Brandon Wimbush, 17 — Redshirted last season, the junior’s lone passing attempts (3-of-5) were in the aforementioned 62-27 blowout of UMass in 2015.
In the last 50 seasons (1967-2016), there have been only two occasions where Notre Dame had quarterbacks on the roster with fewer career passes thrown.
The first was 10 years ago (2007), after four-year starter Brady Quinn’s graduation, when junior Evan Sharpley was 1-of-2 for seven yards. The Irish finished 3-9.
The other was 1994, the year after sophomores Ron Powlus and Tom Krug were redshirted, Powlus for medical reasons. Notre Dame finished 6-5-1 after going 64-9-1 the previous six seasons.
Most Career Catches
1. Equanimeous St. Brown, 59 — He snared only one pass as a 2015 freshman, but similar to Golden Tate in 2008 and Will Fuller in 2014, he detonated with a huge sophomore season with 58 catches for 961 yards (16.6 yards per catch) and nine touchdowns. Will he join Tate and Fuller as one who turns pro after his junior campaign?
2. Josh Adams, 28 — From seven catches for 42 yards and a score as a freshman, the running back tripled the catches to 21 last year for 193 yards (one TD).
3t. Kevin Stepherson, 25 — He had one of the best freshman seasons ever by an Irish receiver that included 18.5 yards per catch and five touchdowns.
3t. CJ Sanders, 25 — Like classmate St. Brown, he caught only one pass as a freshman, but he grabbed 24 at slot last season.
5t. Durham Smythe, 13 — Fifth-year senior tight end has five scores among his 13 receptions, second to St. Brown.
5t. Alize Jones, 13 — Academically ineligible last season as a sophomore, Jones made a splash as a freshman tight end with 190 receiving yards, including 35- and 45-yard grabs during game winning fourth quarter drives versus USC and Temple.
7. Chris Finke, 10 — Former walk-on ended 2016 strong at slot with touchdowns versus Virginia Tech and USC in final two games.
Notes: Junior Miles Boykin and sophomore Chase Claypool each totaled 81 yards receiving last year, Boykin on six catches and Claypool with five.
Most Career Tackles
1. Nyles Morgan, 158 — Paced the team last year in tackles (94) and sacks (4) from his Mike linebacker position.
2. Drue Tranquill, 121 — After knee injuries shortened his first two seasons, the senior safety finished second in stops last season with 79 and will likely move to the hybrid Rover position under new coordinator Mike Elko.
3. Greer Martini, 115 — Senior linebacker totaled 60 tackles his first two seasons and finished fifth on the team last year with 55.
4. Te’von Coney, 75 — Started at Will linebacker as a sophomore in 2016, and his 62 stops ranked fourth.
5. Andrew Trumbetti, 63 — The senior end has the most stops among the linemen, ahead of junior Jerry Tillery (49).
Note: Martini’s five career sacks (three last year) are the most on the team, just ahead of fellow defensive captain Morgan’s 4.5. Among the linemen, Trumbetti has two and Tillery one, but each had none last year.
Most Career Interceptions
Senior Tranquill, one of three captains on defense, is the lone figure with more than one. He had one as a freshman in 2014 and another last season.
As freshmen last season, safety Devin Studstill and cornerbacks Julian Love and Donte Vaughn each had one, as did Shaun Crawford as a sophomore before getting injured.
Vaughn's six passes defensed last year tied for the team lead with graduated corner Cole Luke.
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