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).