Irish Look to Build on 2012 Success Stories

Notre Dame took a major step forward in 2012, winning all 12 regular-season games to ascend to the No. 1 ranking and qualify for the BCS title game - despite facing a schedule rated as the nation's fourth-most difficult by the NCAA. Now coach Brian Kelly's charge is to keep his team in that championship hunt and figure out how to take that final step.

To do that, Notre Dame will have to overcome the loss of several veterans - including unanimous All-America linebacker Manti Te'o (who won a record seven major awards), All-American and Mackey Award-winning tight end Tyler Eifert, starting quarterback Everett Golson, the team's top two rushers (Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood), All-America center Braxston Cave, co-captain and defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore and safety Zeke Motta.

Among the returnees are 13 starters (five on offense, eight on defense, plus placekicker Kyle Brindza). Overall, Kelly - who claimed consensus national-coach-of-the-year honors in 2012 - will have 42 lettermen on the 2013 roster (16 on offense and 26 on defense).

Notre Dame Football

opponents

    Award Candidates

     1 Louis Nix III
    Senior • DL • 6-2.5 • 357
    Jacksonville, FL • Raines H.S.
    Watch Lists:
    Maxwell Award (Player of the Year)
    Walter Camp Award (Most Outstanding Player)
    Bednarik Award (Defensive Player of the Year)
    Bronko Nagurski (Outstanding Def. Player)
    Lombardi Award (Lineman of the Year)
    Outland Trophy (Outstanding Int. Lineman)
     7 Stephon Tuitt
    Junior • DL • 6-6.5 • 322
    Monroe, GA • Monroe H.S.
    Watch Lists:
    Maxwell Award (Player of the Year)
    Walter Camp Award (Most Outstanding Player)
    Bednarik Award (Defensive Player of the Year)
    Bronko Nagurski (Outstanding Def. Player)
    Lombardi Award (Lineman of the Year)
    55 Prince Shembo
    Senior • OLB • 6-1.5 • 258
    Charlotte, NC • Ardrey Kell H.S.
    Watch Lists:
    Bednarik Award (Defensive Player of the Year)
    Lombardi Award (Lineman of the Year)
    Butkus Award (Most Outstanding Linebacker)
    70 Zack Martin
    Graduate Student • OT • 6-4 • 308
    Indianapolis, IN • Bishop Chatard H.S.
    Watch Lists:
    Lombardi Award (Lineman of the Year)
    Outland Trophy (Outstanding Int. Lineman)
     2 Bennett Jackson
    Senior • CB • 6-0 • 195
    Hazlet, NJ • Raritan H.S.
    Watch Lists:
    Bednarik Award (Defensive Player of the Year)
    10 DaVaris Daniels
    Junior • WR • 6-1.5 • 203
    Vernon Hills, IL • Vernon Hills H.S.
    Watch Lists:
    Biletnikoff Award (Most Outstanding Receiver)
     7 TJ Jones
    Senior • WR • 5-11.5 • 195
    Roswell, GA • Gainesville H.S.
    Watch Lists:
    Biletnikoff Award (Most Outstanding Receiver)
    18 Ben Koyack
    Junior • TE • 6-5 • 261
    Oil City, PA • Oil City H.S.
    Watch Lists:
    Mackey Award (Most Outstanding Tight End)
    85 Troy Niklas
    Junior • TE • 6-6.5 • 270
    Fullerton, CA • Servite H.S.
    Watch Lists:
    Mackey Award (Most Outstanding Tight End)
    44 Carlo Calabrese
    Graduate Student • ILB • 6-1 • 250
    Verona, NJ • Verona H.S.
    Watch Lists:
    Butkus Award (Most Outstanding Linebacker)
    48 Dan Fox
    Graduate Student • ILB • 6-3 • 245
    Rocky River, OH • St. Ignatius H.S.
    Watch Lists:
    Butkus Award (Most Outstanding Linebacker)
    27 Kyle Brindza
    Junior • K/P • 6-1 • 236
    Canton, MI • Plymouth H.S.
    Watch Lists:
    Lou Groza Award (Top Placekicker)

    Returning Career Statistical Leaders

    passing
    no.-name (yr.) comp-att pct yds td / int effic
    11-Tommy Rees (Sr.) 403-634 63.6 4,413 34 / 24 132.2
    12-Andrew Hendrix (Sr.) 23-44 52.3 304 1 / 2 108.7
    rushing
    No.-name (yr.) att yds avg td long
    4-George Atkinson III (Jr.) 60 388 6.5 7 56
    12-Andrew Hendrix (Sr.) 33 203 6.2 1 78
    33-Cam McDaniel (Jr.) 26 134 5.2 1 19
    receiving
    No.-name (yr.) rec yds avg td long
    7-TJ Jones (Sr.) 111 1,321 11.9 10 53
    10-DaVaris Daniels (Jr.) 31 490 15.8 0 45
    defense
    No.-name (yr.) UA-A Tot Sck/TFL INT/PBU FF/FR
    44-Carlo Calabrese (GS) 60-86 146 3.5 / 9.0 0 / 3 1 / 0
    48-Dan Fox (GS) 60-71 131 2.0 / 4.5 0 / 3 1 / 0
    55-Prince Shembo (Sr.) 45-52 97 14.0 / 19.0 0 / 1 1 / 1
    1-Louis Nix III (Sr.) 32-63 95 2.5 / 12.0 0 / 6 1 / 0
    2-Bennett Jackson (Sr.) 62-28 93 0.0 / 1.5 4 / 4 0 / 1
    7-Stephon Tuitt (Jr.) 35-42 77 14.0 / 16.0 0 / 2 3 / 1
    kicking
    No.-name (yr.) FG-FGA Pct Long PAT-PATA Pts
    27-Kyle Brindza (Jr.) 23-31 74.2 52 28-29 97
    40-Nick Tausch (GS) 16-19 84.2 46 32-36 80
    kick returns
    No.-name (yr.) No Yds Avg Long TD
    4-George Atkinson III (Jr.) 57 1,356 23.8 96 2
    33-Cam McDaniel (Jr.) 9 159 27.7 25 0