Notre Dame Football Gets Early Praise In Preseason Polls

July 3, 2001

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Look for Notre Dame to make another run on the national collegiate football scene this fall, based on the first wave of college preview magazines that listed the Irish as high as 12th in preseason polls.

Preview Sports put the Irish 12th, while Notre Dame was 14th by Street & Smith's and Athlon, 16th according to The Sporting News and the Blue Ribbon Yearbook, 22nd by Lindy's.

On an individual basis, senior defensive end Anthony Weaver was a second-team preseason All-America choice by Athlon -- and junior Julius Jones also earned second-team recognition from Athlon as a kick returner. Street & Smith's rated Jones a second-team kickoff returner and Grant Irons a second-team defensive end.

Lindy's rated junior center Jeff Faine as the number-three center in the country, while The Sporting News had Faine seventh.

Lindy's rated Weaver 18th and Irons 15th among defensive end, with The Sporting News putting Irons 10th and Weaver 16th.. The Sporting News rated Jones 15th among running backs, Tom Lopienski 12th among fullbacks, Jordan Black 14th among offensive tackles, Rocky Boiman 14th among outside linebackers, Gerome Sapp 11th among strong safeties.

Street & Smith's listed Tony Fisher among running backs, Black among offensive linemen, Weaver among defensive linemen, Boiman among linebackers and Joey Hildbold among punters as preseason honorable mention All-America selections.

Street & Smith's rated Fisher as one of 11 candidates for the Doak Walker Award as the top running back in the country and Hildbold as one of three candidates for the Ray Guy Award as the top punter in the nation.

Athlon rated the Irish running backs as the fourth-best group in the nation. Lindy's listed the Irish defensive line as eighth best. The Sporting News put Notre Dame's offensive backfield seventh.

Athlon listed the Notre Dame freshman class as the 12th-best in the country, while Lindy's had the Irish rookies 14th.



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