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Notre Dame Football: Fighting Irish Wild Card Players in 2020

Notre Dame Football: Fighting Irish Wild Card Players in 2020

Notre Dame Football: Fighting Irish Wild Card Players in 2020

In 2017, Te'von Coney made 55 more tackles than he did the year before, Julian Love developed into a true No. 1 corner, and the Irish defense propelled the team to a 10-3 record after a 4-8 finish in 2016. Ian Book, Dexter Williams, and Miles Boykin became playmakers in 2018 and theNotre Dame Fighting Irish's offense teamed with Coney and Love's unit to push the Irish to the College Football Playoff. Last season, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah developed into a star on defense while Tony Jones Jr. did his part on offense.

None of those performances were expected, but at the same time, they should not be considered surprising. When the Notre Dame season starts up again, someone who has produced little to nothing will become a major contributor. Here are five potential candidates heading into the season.

Kevin Austin, WR

Austin is a repeat member of this list, but his 2019 was sidetracked by a suspension. Back in the good graces of the team, the ultra-talented receiver is expected to be a major contributor despite only catching five passes during his one season on the field. The Irish lose both Chase Claypool and Chris Finke, as well as tight end Cole Kmet, so the door is wide open for the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder.

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Isaiah Foskey, DE

By playing in just four games last year, Foskey maintained a year of eligibility. In his limited time, the Antioch, California, product showed some flash by blocking a punt against Stanford in the regular-season finale. The Irish lose both starting defensive ends, but Foskey will enter the season playing behind Daelin Hayes and Ade Ogundeji, the two projected starters. Because defensive coordinator Clark Lea likes to rotate defensive line personnel, Foskey will see considerable action.

Jack Lamb, LB

Lea will shuffle players at linebacker as well, plus there is an open spot left by Asmar Bilal's graduation. Lamb is one of the many players vying for time on the second level. A top-100 prospect coming out of Great Oak High School in Temecula, California., Lamb was beginning an ascension of the depth chart as a redshirt freshman when a hip injury ended his season after eight games. His frame and athletic skills make him a player to watch going into 2020.

Isaiah Pryor, S

Pryor was recruited by everyone coming out of high school and decided on Ohio State. But after three years in Columbus, he looked elsewhere and wound up at Notre Dame. He never really lived up to his hype with the Buckeyes, but many thought that his fit in OSU's scheme was a problem. At Notre Dame, he will team with Kyle Hamilton and Houston Griffith to give the Irish an exciting group of safeties.

Chris Tyree, RB

Notre Dame loses leading rusher Tony Jones Jr., and none of the returning options were considered to have star potential coming into Notre Dame. But in Tyree, a true freshman, the Irish staff has someone with game-breaking potential. One of the fastest players on the high school level, the Virginia native battled injuries as a senior at Thomas Dale High School. If he remains healthy, expect Tyree to be a weapon in some way, shape, or form.

— Written by Jon Kinne, who has been part of the Athlon Contributor Network for three years, covering the ACC and Notre Dame. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.