The 2016 Notre Dame Fighting Irish have plenty of players that are known to the college football public. DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire will battle it out at quarterback, left tackle Mike McGlinchey is destined to be a high NFL Draft pick, and Isaac Rochell should emerge as the leader of the defensive line.
But there are several players that have the potential to make an impact this coming season. Some are young players getting their first opportunity while others have been in South Bend for a few years and know this is will be their final shot.
Here are five wild card players for Notre Dame going into the fall.
Max Redfield, Sr., Safety
There is perhaps no bigger wild card on the Notre Dame roster than Redfield. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder came to Notre Dame as one of the top defensive recruits in America and got on the field early. But his play plateaued and now he enters his senior season being challenged for snaps by early-entry freshman Devin Studstill. The talent is there and perhaps the prospect of being a reserve will provide the needed motivation for Redfield to finally realize his potential.
Asmar Bilal, So., Outside Linebacker
Bilal came to Notre Dame as an undersized linebacker that the coaching staff hoped would grow into the position. Now at 230 pounds, he has done just that. The next step is to fully grasp his positional responsibilities because the physical abilities are apparent. The Indianapolis native ran with the first team this spring, in part because of injuries to Te’von Coney and Greer Martini. This fall we will see if Bilal can maintain his spot at the top of the depth chart.
Andrew Trumbetti, Jr., Defensive End
With defensive tackles like Jarron Jones, Jerry Tillery and Daniel Cage, Notre Dame has some depth inside. Romeo Okawara has graduated, so what the Irish really need someone to emerge as a pass-rushing presence off of the edge and they will look first to Trumbetti. The former 4-star prospect has shown some flashes, but he needs to be more consistent.
Equanimeous St. Brown, So., Wide Receiver
Head coach Brian Kelly would love to put a big receiver opposite Torii Hunter and Brown (6-4, 205) appears to fit the bill. The sophomore from Anaheim, Calif., had a memorable blocked punt against USC, but soon after was lost for the year with a shoulder injury. He did participate in spring workouts and should be fully ready to compete for a starting position when camp opens in August.
Tommy Kraemer, Fr., Offensive Lineman
The left side of the offensive line is expected to be one of the strengths of the offense with Sam Mustipher set at center and Alex Bars manning right tackle. That leaves right guard as the only spot on the line that will feature a real position battle. Hunter Bivin, Colin McGovern and Tristen Hoge are the holdovers competing for the job, but Kraemer is the x-factor. The highly regarded prospect from Cincinnati obviously lacks experience but has the size and skill level to contribute in his first year.
— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.