Aug. 11, 1999
Exciting, fifth-year quarterback Jarious Jackson returns to the Notre Dame football scene in 1999 ? as do seven Irish starters from a defensive unit that made major strides in ?98.
They are the keynote performers for Bob Davie?s third Notre Dame team that expexts to build on 14 victories in its last 16 regular season outings. The Irish in 1998 finished 9-3, thanks to eight straight victories over once stretch, made their second-straight post- season appearance and 11th in 12 years ? and finished 22nd in the final Asscociated Press poll (that?s also where the Irish ranked in the ?98 preseason poll).
There are a noteworthy number of talented but unproven candidates to fill vacancies left by the graduation loss of 12 starters overall from ?98 (seven on offense, four on defense, plus punter Hunter Smith). Thirty-seven letterwinners return overall (18 on offense, 19 on defense).
The major assignment on offense is to retool a running game that lost career rushing leader Autry Denson to graduation, along with four offensive line starters ? including first-team All-American Mike Rosenthal ? who combined to enable the Irish to rank 16th nationally in ?98 at 212.5 rushing yards per contest. Jackson developed into an impressive threat as both a passer and runner a year ago. He finished 13th nationally in passing efficiency and produced the fourth-best single-season total offense figure in Irish football history in his first season as the starter.
The battle to fill Denson?s shoes includes junior Tony Driver, a reserve at that spot as a rookie before he started seven games at free safety in ?98. Though four of the top five pass receivers from a year ago are back, Notre Dame must replace the impact created by split end Malcolm Johnson who caught 28 more passes in ?98 than any other Irish player.
On defense, three of the top five tacklers are gone in linebackers Bobbie Howard, Jimmy Friday and Kory Minor. But those three comprise half the entire contingent of scholarship monogram-winners gone on defense.
Notre Dame?s entire corps of defensive linemen returns, as do five defensive backs who have earned at least two letters. The biggest holes are at inside linebacker where Howard and Friday combined to pace the Irish in tackles the past two seasons.
Smith departs after four seasons as Notre Dame?s punter, while senior Jim Sanson returns to handle field goals and PATs.
The Irish roster is bolstered by the presence of five fifth-year veterans ? Jackson at quarterback, Bobby Brown at flanker, Antwon Jones at defensive tackle, Lamont Bryant at defensive end and A?Jani Sanders at strong safety. None of the five played at all as a rookie in 1995.
Bob Davie On The Irish
?When you look at 1999 it?s exciting, because we?re a young team but we?re going to be a talented team. The strengths of our football team come from overall athleticism and work ethic. Because of their hard work, the players have put themselves in a position, hopefully, to take it to another level,” says Davie.
?On offense, we?ve got a scheme we?re all comfortable with. We?ve got some young talent, but I emphasize the word young because we?re going to have a lot of new faces. We have a chance to be a good offensive football team as the season progresses. I like the makeup of our offense because there are some young, talented players and there?s competition at positions.
?I think we established an offensive identity last year and I don?t think that is going to change completely with a new offensive coordinator in Kevin Rogers. There are a lot of similarities between what we do and what Syracuse did. We?re going to keep the best of what we did and we?re going to add some things. With our quarterback being more experienced, we can be a pretty diverse offense. Kevin has adapted to what we?ve done, so there?s going to be a lot of continuity, but there also will be some subtle changes.
?It is a concern that you lose an Autry Denson. You just kind of took him for granted the last few years because he was so dependable and durable and productive. It?s the same way with Malcolm Johnson at wide receiver, when you look at all the big catches he?s made the last few years.
?But it?s exciting because there are young players who haven?t had that opportunity. Who?s going to be the next Autry Denson? There certainly are some candidates. Who will be the next Malcolm Johnson? There are at least five guys there who all believe they can do it.
?It?s a little uncomfortable when you lose players like Autry and Malcolm and all the offensive linemen. But we?ve got some young guys who have earned the right to follow them.
?On defense, we?re a little more experienced overall, except at the linebacker positions. But similar to the offensive line, there?s inexperience but there are some talented football players.
?When you look at the overall picture, it?s pretty much the same everywhere ? no matter what side of the ball or what position you mention. We?ve made progress. There?s no question we have some young talent in the program. We?ve formed a foundation over the last couple of years. We?re young, but it?s exciting.
?You look at the youth of this team and you look at the schedule and there?s some concern. But there?s also some optimism for the future because you really do see things starting to move forward. How quickly can this football team develop and jell? You?d like to think by the end of the season we can be a pretty strong football team.?
Offensive Losses Greatest
The holes to fill for ?99 are largest on the offensive side, starting with all-time leading Notre Dame groundgainer Autry Denson (251 carries for 1,176 yards and 15 TDs in ?98, 4,318 career yards and 43 rushing TDs), a second-team Associated Press All-American in ?98.
Also to be replaced are skill-position regulars Jamie Spencer (54 for 256, 2 TDs in ?98) at fullback and Malcolm Johnson (leading Irish receiver in ?98 with 43 catches for 692 yards and 6 TDs) at split end. Lost from the line are Mike Rosenthal (35 career starts) and Luke Petitgout (23 career starts, first-round pick by New York Giants in ’99 NFL draft) at offensive tackle and Tim Ridder (17 career starts) and Jerry Wisne (25 career starts) at offensive guard. That septet combined to win 24 monograms and earn 171 regular-season starting assignments.
On defense, gone are four-year starter Kory Minor (245 career tackles, 22 1/2 career sacks, 21 career tackles for losses) at outside linebacker, inside linebackers Bobbie Howard (leading ?98 tackler with 118), Jimmy Friday (79 tackles in ?98) and Joe Thomas, safety Benny Guilbeaux (24 career starts, 9 career interceptions) and cornerback Ty Goode (35 tackles in ?98 while starting 7 games at corner).
Hunter Smith (41.7 average in ?98), ranked second all-time in punting at Notre Dame, also graduated.
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 Time*Battle, Arnaz 6-1 215 So. 27:47 Chappell, Eric 6-4 226 Sr. 13:35***Jackson, Jarious 6-1 228 Sr. 276:32
Jackson Merits Raves
The Irish attack is built around the multiple talents of veteran signalcaller Jackson (104 of 188 for 1,740 yards, 13 TDs, 6 interceptions in ?98, second-leading rusher with 113 for 441, 3 TDs). Both his passing and running skills paid major dividends in his first season as a starter in ?98 ? as he responded with one of the most productive and efficient quarterbacking performances in Irish history.
Jackson finished the season ranked 13th nationally in passing efficiency, while ranking among Irish single season leaders in total offense (218.1 per game) and interception avoidance.
|Senior Jarious Jackson|
?I think everyone was encouraged by the progress Jarious Jackson made last year. How he evolved from the first game to the last game was incredible. If he can continue to improve he has a chance to have a great senior year,? says Davie.
?Jarious is going to receive a little more attention and he?ll have some added responsibility, but it?s not going to change him. He?s got his feet planted firmly on the ground.?
Also returning are junior Eric Chappell (0 of 4 with 2 interceptions in 4 games in ?98), who earned the start vs. USC in the ?98 regular-season finale after Jackson tore a knee ligament, along with sophomore Arnaz Battle (8 of 20 for 134 with 2 interceptions in 4 games, 13 rushes for 53), who had worked his way into the backup slot before a late-season shoulder injury.
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 Time**Driver Tony 6-1 217 Jr. 196:55*Fisher, Tony 6-2 225 So. 26:17Howard, Terrance 6-1 193 So. 1:39*Levy, Darcey 6-2 215 Jr. 9:41
Backs Need To Emerge
The loss of both starting running backs from ?98 ? all-time groundgainer Autry Denson at tailback and fullback Jamie Spencer ? means the Irish need some new names to step up their contributions this time around.
|Junior Tony Driver|
At tailback, look for Tony Driver to be reintroduced to the mix. He?s a former Parade All-America running back who worked as a reserve there as a rookie in ?97 (35 carries for 125, 3 TDs), then switched to strong safety last fall and contributed impressively (60 tackles, 2 interceptions in 7 starts). He finished spring drills neck and neck with sophomore Tony Fisher (18 for 75) in the bid for the starting position.
Competing with that duo will be junior Darcey Levy (6 for 20, 1 TD in ?98) and sophomore Terrance Howard (47 special-team appearances as a defensive back).
?The running back positions essentially were up for grabs coming into the spring and I don?t think that was bad. We?re all anxious to see how the tailback situation shakes out. It?s guys who are talented and will give us a lot of competition there,? Davie says.
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 Time***Goodspeed, Joey 6-0 250 Sr. 92:03Lopienski, Tom 6-1 259 So. ?McNair, Mike 6-0 242 So. 6:19*Murray, Jason 6-1 260 Jr. 9:58
|Senior Joey Goodspeed|
Senior Joey Goodspeed (29 for 202) offers the most experience in the battle for playing time at fullback. He finished the spring in a dead heat with sophomore Tom Lopienski (DNP in ?98) for the starting assignment. They?ll be challenged by junior Jason Murray (6 for 21) and sophomore Mike McNair (worked as blocking back in short-yardage situations).
?At fullback it?s the same thing. Joey Goodspeed is back and he?s played the most football. But we?ve seen what Jason Murray, Mike McNair and Tom Lopienski are capable of adding, so there?s some quality depth at that spot,? Davie says.
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 Time***Brown, Bobby 6-2 193 Sr. 152:59**Getherall, Joey 5-7 176 Jr. 82:12*Givens, David 6-1 217 So. 56:37*Hebert, Johnathan 5-11 199 Sr. 1:13Hunter, Javin 6-0 185 So. 19:29**Johnson, Jay 6-0 191 Sr. 66:06***Nelson, Raki 5-11 190 Sr. 61:46
Receiving Corps Look Deep
A balanced and deep group of receivers at the three pass-catching positions puts plenty of people involved in the Irish passing game for ?99 ? beginning with the return of starters Bobby Brown at flanker and Jabari Holloway at tight end.
|Senior Bobby Brown|
Brown (13 for 286, 1 TD in ?98, 43 for 517, 6 TDs in ?97) ranks as the most experienced of the wide receivers back, but he?ll have plenty of help from seniors Raki Nelson (11 for 217, 2 TDs) and Jay Johnson (4 for 69), along with junior Joey Getherall (13 for 197, 1 TD).
Sophomores David Givens (4 rushing carries for 26 yards, 1 TD) and Javin Hunter both earned some playing time as rookies in ?98 and are expected to be much more involved as second-year players.
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 Time**Holloway, Jabari 6-4 260 Jr. 230:32Morgan, Gerald 6-4 261 So. ?**O?Leary, Dan 6-4 260 Sr. 89:21Owens, John 6-3 246 So. 6:58
At tight end, Holloway (top returning receiver from ?98 with 15 for 262, 1 TD) begins his second year as the regular, but he?ll have help from senior Dan O?Leary (3 for 32, 1 TD) and sophomores John Owens and Gerald Morgan.
?Jabari Holloway is a guy who really needs to come on and have an impact year. Plus, tight end is a position where we feel good about our depth and experience,? Davie says.
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 Time Jordan, JW 6-1 277 Jr. 3:34**Merandi, John 6-3 300 Sr. 308:14*Scott, B.J. 6-3 285 Sr. 91:10
Line Requires Reinforcements
Critical to Notre Dame?s offensive success in ?99 will be the ability of the Irish to put together an offensive line combination coming off major graduation losses.
Senior center John Merandi represents the only full-time regular back among the five positions.
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 Time Black, Jordan 6-6 313 So. ?Mahan, Sean 6-4 285 So. ?Robin, Casey 6-7 311 Jr. ? * Teasdale, John 6-6 306 Jr. 10:21Vollers, Kurt 6-7 299 Jr. 3:34
Next on the list in terms of experience is senior guard Mike Gandy, who moved into the starting lineup for the last three games in ?98 after a knee injury suffered by veteran Jerry Wisne.
There is an appreciable amount of potential but little in terms of returning game experience anywhere else on the line.
?We?re going to be young on the offensive line, probably with three starters who certainly haven?t started before and really haven?t played much before. We should be strong up the middle with John Merandi at center and Mike Gandy at right guard. There is talent there, but there are not a lot of people with a lot of game experience,? Davie says.
?The one plus is that these guys are talented and they?ve made an investment. Most of them have been in the program for two years. It would be different if you had new faces and they didn?t have talent and they hadn?t made the investment. I think these guys are ready to step up.?
Newcomers to the Irish starting lineup, based on spring drills, figure to be sophomore Jordan Black (DNP in ’98) at left tackle, junior John Teasdale (played in 10 games in ’98 as the lone returning letterwinner besides Merandi and Gandy) and senior Jim Jones (2 games) at left guard.
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 TimeBrennan, Matt 6-6 305 Sr. 13:12*Gandy, Mike 6-4 292 Sr. 136:11Jones, Jim 6-3 307 Sr. 6:18Mowl, Rob 6-5 295 Sr. 9:58Scarola, Ryan 6-5 303 So. ?
Other names to watch at tackle include juniors Kurt Vollers (1 game) and Casey Robin (DNP in ?98), along with sophomore converted defensive lineman Sean Mahan (DNP in ’98).
Other candidates at guard are seniors Matt Brennan (played 4 games in ?98) and Rob Mowl (4 games) and sophomore Ryan Scarola (DNP in ?98, though he worked as the backup center late in the season) ? plus senior center B.J. Scott (a letterwinning defensive lineman who made 13 tackles in ’98) and junior center JW Jordan (1 game).
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 Time***Jones, Antwon 6-2 283 Sr. 109:47**Legree, Lance 6-1 296 Sr. 177:28*Weaver, Anthony 6-3 270 So. 175:47***Williams, Brad 6-4 288 Sr. 178:04Wisne, Andy 6-3 270 Jr. 19:15
Defensive Line Intact
Notre Dame?s defensive line for ?99 ranks as the most experienced aspect of the team, thanks to the return of seven monogram-winners from last fall.
?You look at our defensive line and you really legitimately feel like you?ve got some guys ready to have breakthrough seasons. It?s allowed us to go to more of a true four-man front because we have some numbers there,? Davie says. ?Our whole defensive line is back and they?ve made some progress and that?s exciting.?
Returning starters include seniors Brad Williams (33 tackles, 5 tackles for loss) at tackle and fifth-year veteran Lamont Bryant (49 tackles, 4 sacks, team-leading 7 tackles for losses) at left end. Sophomore Anthony Weaver (28 tackles, 6 tackles for loss) moves from left end to tackle, leaving junior Grant Irons (32 tackles) to take over at right end. Veteran Lance Legree (33 tackles), a starter in nine games in ?98, again is an integral part of the mix at tackle.
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 Time***Bryant, Lamont 6-3 265 Sr. 181:36*Ching, Jason 6-3 267 Sr. 62:00**Irons, Grant 6-5 272 Jr. 89:41Roberts, Ryan 6-2 260 So. ?
Junior Jason Ching (5 tackles) at end ? and fifth-year veteran Antwon Jones (25 tackles) at tackle are the other lettermen back.
Williams is the most experienced of the inside players after starting throughout each of the last two seasons.
Bryant bounced back from offseason knee surgery to become a major player down the stretch in ?98 ? while Irons hopes to rebound after a midseason shoulder injury limited his late-season work as a sophomore.
Weaver?s rookie resume included first-team national All-Freshman honors from Football News.
Additional help at tackle could come from junior Andy Wisne (4 tackles), while also in the mix at end is sophomore Ryan Roberts (DNP in ?98).
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 Time**Denman, Anthony 6-2 230 Jr. 74:45Harrison, Tyreo 6-2 235 So. 21:27**Nicks, Ronnie 6-0 240 Sr. 28:13Pierre-Antoine, Carlos 6-3 245 So. ?
Linebacking List Depleted
The biggest chore defensively figures to be penciling in replacements for four-year starter Kory Minor at outside linebacker and two-year regulars Bobbie Howard and Jimmy Friday at the inside linebacker slots.
Most experienced of the possibilities inside are junior Anthony Denman (28 tackles in ?98), who earned a pair of monograms outside as Kory Minor?s backup the past two years, and two-time senior letterwinner Ronnie Nicks (10 tackles). Those two finished spring drills as first-teamers.
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 Time*Boiman, Rocky 6-4 245 So. 114 sp.**Ferrer, Joey 6-2 235 Sr. 76:04
Also returning are a couple of talented sophomores in Tyreo Harrison (8 tackles) and Carlos Pierre-Antoine (DNP).
Senior Joey Ferrer (26 tackles) and sophomore Rocky Boiman (114 special-team appearances) are the options for the vacancy outside, with Boiman holding the top spot after spring drills.
?Anthony Denman hasn?t played all that much ? but in my mind he has played. From that point, it turns into young players who haven?t played a lot, like Harrison and Pierre-Antoine and even Ronnie Nicks, who just needs to stay healthy.
?Joey Ferrer is someone who has played a key role the last two years ? and the young guy who really caught everyone?s attention last year was Rocky Boiman, with his development and work ethic,? says Davie.
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 Time***Harper, Deveron 5-11 187 Sr. 242:12Jefferson, Clifford 5-9 182 So. 3:55**Lafayette, Lee 5-9 196 Sr. 20:10Walton, Shane 5-11 185 So. --**Williams, Brock 5-10 190 Jr. 247:01
Secondary Looks Solid
Even with Tony Driver switching back to offense, the Irish are not devoid of experience at defensive back.
Senior Deveron Harper (48 tackles in ?98) returns with a year?s starting experience behind him both at cornerback in ?98 and safety in ?97.
Junior corner Brock Williams (40 tackles, 1 interception) also brings his pass defense skills to the table, along with sophomores Clifford Jefferson (2 games) and Shane Walton (he played soccer for the Irish in ’98) and senior Lee Lafayette (9 tackles, 125 special-team appearances).
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 Time***Cooper, Deke 6-2 220 Sr. 180:22Dykes, Donald 5-11 197 So. --- * Israel, Ron 6-0 205 Jr. 1:08***Sanders, A?Jani 5-10 197 Sr. 166:34Smith, Justin 5-11 190 Jr. 4:26
The safety spots include a pair of returning three-time letterwinners in senior strong safety A?Jani Sanders (58 tackles, team-leading 3 interceptions) and free safety Deke Cooper (top returning tackler from ?98 with 78, 1 interception).
They?ll be pushed by junior Justin Smith (4 games in ?98), junior letterwinner Ron Israel (103 special-team appearances) and sophomore Donald Dykes (DNP in ?98).
?We?ve got to develop in the secondary, especially on pass defense. We?ve got to be more aggressive and we?re going to have to play more man to man and challenge receivers more than we have,? Davie says. ?We have some experience in the secondary but there?s no question we?ve got to make some improvement.?
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. ?98 Time Miller, David 5-11 190 So. ?***Sanson, Jim 5-9 187 Sr. 51 sp.
Irish Need Punter
For the first time in four seasons the punting assignment will go to someone new ? but there?s a familiar name in the place-kicking role in senior Jim Sanson (11 of 15 field goals, 31 of 36 PATs in ?98).
Sophomore David Miller (DNP in ?98) could be a candidate to handle some aspect of the kicking chores, either off the tee or punting.
The Irish hope to beef up both their return game and coverage for ?99. The most experienced returners are Tony Driver on kickoff returns (22.3 average) and Joey Getherall (7.8 on 20 returns) at punt returns, with Javin Hunter another option.
Most involved special team returnees for ?99 include Joey Goodspeed (he led the squad with 158 special team appearances in ?98), Driver (139), Anthony Denman (134), Deke Cooper (127) and Lee Lafayette (125).
?Our number-one priority right now is the kicking game,? Davie says.
?We?re going to attack it and become more aggressive in our schemes and in terms of personnel, starting with our return teams. Our return game wasn?t bad last year, but we were never in a position to make a difference in a football game. So our priority is to have an impact in the kicking game.?
The ?99 Schedule
Notre Dame?s agenda for ?99 features matchups with defending national champion Tennessee (Nov. 6 in Knoxville), Citrus Bowl champion Michigan (10-3, #12 AP), Alamo Bowl champion Purdue (9-4, #21 AP) along with Sun Bowl participant USC (8-5).
Newcomers to the schedule are Eddie Robinson Classic ooponent Kansas (first meeting since 1938), Oklahoma (first meeting since 1968), Tennessee (first meeting since ?91) and Pittsburgh (58th overall meeting) ? replacing Army, Baylor and LSU.
Other ?99 opponents include Michigan State (6-6 in ?98), Arizona State (5-6), Navy (3-8), Boston College (4-7) and Stanford (3-8).
The Irish play five straight home games from mid-September through the end of October ? versus Michigan State, Oklahoma, Arizona State, USC and Navy. After a September 11 date in West Lafayette against Purdue, the Irish don?t play on the road again until November 6 at Tennessee.
Irish Add Four To Staff
There?s a new look to the Notre Dame football coaching staff, with four new assistants replacing a quartet of staff members who departed for either coordinator positions or assignments with National Football League teams. Here are the newcomers to Bob Davie?s ?99 staff:
? Kevin Rogers, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks (he?s been the Syracuse quarterback coach the last eight years, the last two as offensive coordinator).
? Lou West, secondary (he?s been the secondary coach at Virginia Tech the last four years).
? Jerry Rosburg, outside linebackers, special teams (he?s been the secondary coach at Boston College the last two years).
? Steve Addazio, tight ends and special teams (he?s been the offensive line coach at Syracuse the last four years).
In related moves, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison will coach the defensive line and Kirk Doll will coach the inside linebackers.
Rogers, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who graduated from William & Mary in ?74, previously coached at Navy, William & Mary and Ohio State. He spent two years (1987-88) on the Navy staff with Mattison. His Orange teams ranked third nationally in scoring in 1998 and set Syracuse school records in ?97 for total offense and passing yards.
His Orange teams ranked third nationally in scoring in 1998 and set Syracuse school records in ?97 for total offense and passing yards.
West, a Washington, Pa., native who graduated from Cincinnati in ?77, previously coached at Kent State, Cincinnati, Kansas, Western Michigan, Minnesota, Middle Tennessee and Arizona. He spent two seasons (1984-85) on the same Western Michigan staff along with Mattison.
Rosburg, a Fairmont, Minn., native who graduated from North Dakota State in ?78, previously coached at Minnesota, Cincinnati, Western Michigan and Northern Michigan. He spent two seasons at Cincinnati (1992-93) on the same staff as West.
Addazio, a Waterbury, Conn., native who graduated from Central Connecticut State in ?81, previously coached at Western Connecticut State and Cheshire (Conn.) High School. He spent the last four years at Syracuse with Rogers.
Those four replace the following four former Irish coaches: defensive line coach Charlie Strong, who became the defensive coordinator at South Carolina, offensive coordinator Jim Colletto, who became the offensive line coach of the NFL Baltimore Ravens, quarterback coach Mike Sanford, who became the receivers coach of the NFL San Diego Chargers, secondary coach Tom McMahon, who became the co-defensive coordinator at Colorado.
Head Coach: Bob Davie (Youngstown State ?76)
Record at Notre Dame: 16-9, .640 (two seasons)
Career Record: 16-9, .640 (two seasons)
Assistant Coaches: Greg Mattison (Wisconsin-LaCrosse ?71), defensive coordinator, defensive line, Kevin Rogers (William & Mary ?74), offensive coordinator, quarterbacks, Kirk Doll (East Carolina ?74, Wichita State ?76), assistant head coach, inside linebackers, Urban Meyer (Cincinnati ?86), receivers, Desmond Robinson (Pittsburgh ?78), running backs, Dave Borbely (DePauw ?81), offensive line, Lou West (Cincinnati ?77), secondary, Jerry Rosburg (North Dakota State ?78), outside linebackers, special teams, Steve Addazio (Central Connecticut State ?81), tight ends, special teams
Graduate Assistant Coaches: Dan Mullen (Ursinus ?94), Taver Johnson (Wittenberg ?94)
1998 Record: Won 9, Lost 3 (Home 6-0, Away 2-2, Neutral 1-1)
1998 Postseason: Gator Bowl (lost 35-28 to Georgia Tech)
Lettermen Lost: 24
Lettermen Returning: 37
Starters Lost: 12, OFFENSE (7): TB Autry Denson, FB Jamie Spencer, SE Malcolm Johnson, OT Mike Rosenthal, OT Luke Petitgout, OG Jerry Wisne, OG Tim Ridder, DEFENSE (4): OLB Kory Minor, ILB Bobbie Howard, ILB Jimmy Friday, FS Benny Guilbeaux., SPECIALISTS (1): P Hunter Smith
Starters Returning: 12,
OFFENSE (4): QB Jarious Jackson, FL Bobby Brown, TE Jabari Holloway, C John Merandi,
DEFENSE (7): DT Brad Williams, DT Lance Legree, DE Anthony Weaver, DE Lamont Bryant, CB Deveron Harper, CB Brock Williams, SS A?Jani Sanders,
SPECIALISTS (1): K Jim Sanson
? OT Mike Rosenthal (Walter Camp first-team All-American in ?98, 35 career starts, played in Senior Bowl)
? TB Autry Denson (Associated Press second-team All-America in ?98, Irish career rushing leader with 4,318 yards ? including 1,176 in ?98 to rank 19th nationally, had Notre Dame record 22 career 100-yard rushing games, scored 43 career TDs, 37 career starts, played in Senior Bowl)
? OLB Kory Minor (HM All-American in ?98 and ?97, 245 career tackles, 22.5 sacks and 21 tackles for losses ? including 60, 5 and 4 in ?98, 46 career starts, played in Senior Bowl)
? ILB Bobbie Howard (top ?98 tackler with 118, played more minutes than any other player in ?98, 245 career tackles, 21 career starts, played in Hula Bowl and All-Star Gridiron Classic)
? SE Malcolm Johnson (110 career catches for 1,737 yards, 10 TDs ? including 43 for 692, 6 TDs in ?98, played in All-Star Gridiron Classic)
? OT Luke Petitgout (23 career starts, selected for Senior Bowl)
? OG Jerry Wisne (25 career starts, selected for Senior Bowl)
? OG Tim Ridder (17 career starts)
? ILB Jimmy Friday (188 career tackles, including 79 in ?98, led Irish with 105 in ?97, 23 career starts)
? SS Benny Guilbeaux (173 career tackles, including 38 in ?98 and 68 in ?97, led Irish in interceptions with 4 each in ?96 and ?97, 24 career starts, played in Hula Bowl)
? CB Ty Goode (35 tackles in ?98, 8 career starts)
? FB Jamie Spencer (125 career rushes for 605 yards, including 54 for 256, 2 TDs in ?98)
? P Hunter Smith (41.7 punting average in ?98 to rank 35th nationally, 174 career punts for 41.2 average, played in All-Star Gridiron Classic)
? QB Jarious Jackson (Notre Dame?s top offensive returnee for ?99, completed 104 of 188 passes for 1,740 yards, 13 TDs, 6 ints., in ?98 to rank 13th nationally in passing efficiency, rushed 113 times for 441, three TDs, 10 career starts, fifth-year player)
? FS Deke Cooper (top returning tackler from ?98 with 78, led ?98 team in fumbles caused with 3, 13 career starts)
? DE Lamont Bryant (led ?98 team in tackles for lost yardage with 7 and fumble recoveries with 3, 49 tackles in ?98, 19 career starts, fifth-year player)
? SE Bobby Brown (Notre Dame?s top returning career receiver with 58 catches for 887 yards, 7 TDs, leading receiver in ?97 with 45 catches for 543 yards, 6 TDs, 20 career starts, fifth-year player)
? C John Merandi (only returning offensive line starter from ?98, 12 career starts)
? TE Jabari Holloway (top returning receiver from ?98 with 15 for 262, 2 TDs, 17 career starts)
? DT Brad Williams (33 tackles in ?98, 23 career starts)
? CB Brock Williams (40 tackles in 8 starts in ?98)
? DE Grant Irons (32 tackles in ?98, 8 career starts)
? CB Deveron Harper (48 tackles in ?98 as CB starter, 60 in ?97 as FS starter, 19 career starts)
? SS A?Jani Sanders (?98 team leader in interceptions with 3, 134 career tackles, including 58 in both ?98 and ?97, fifth-year player)
? DT Anthony Weaver (Football News Freshman All-America in ?98, 28 tackles and 6 tackles for loss in 11 ?98 starts)
? DT Lance Legree (33 tackles in ?98, 12 career starts)
? TB Tony Driver (moves to TB in ?99 from SS where he ranked fourth on team in tackles in ?98 with 58, rushed 35 times for 125 yards and 3 TDs as reserve TB in ?97, 7 career starts at SS in ?98)
? FB Joey Goodspeed (29 carries for 202 in ?98, 3 career starts)
? FL Raki Nelson (42 career catches for 686, 3 TDs, including 11 for 217, 2 TDs in ?98, 2 career starts)
? TE Dan O?Leary (9 career catches for 113 yards, 1 TD, 4 career starts)
? OG Mike Gandy (most experienced returning offensive lineman other than C John Merandi, started last 3 games in ?98 at SG after knee injury to Jerry Wisne)
? FL Joey Getherall (top Irish punt returner in ?98 with 20 for 7.8 average and 1 TD, 22 career catches for 300, 1 TD, 4 career starts)
? DT Antwon Jones (25 tackles in ?98, 4 career starts, fifth-year player)
? K Jim Sanson (22 of 34 in career field goals ? including 11 of 15 in ?98)
Notre Dame Preseason Honors
TE Jabari Holloway
? Lindy?s, First Team All-American
? Lindy?s, ranked first among tight ends
? The Sportings News, ranked seventh among tight ends
C John Merandi
? Street and Smith?s and Walter Camp Football Foundation, First Team All-American
? Lindy?s, ranked seventh among centers
QB Jarious Jackson
? The Sportings News, ranked fifth among all-purpose quarterbacks
? Street and Smith?s and Walter Camp Football Foundation, Honorable Mention All-American
? Lindy?s, ranked 24th among quarterbacks
FS Deke Cooper
? Lindy?s, ranked 12th among safeties
? The Sporting News, ranked eighth among free safeties
? Street and Smith?s and Walter Camp Football Foundation, Honorable Mention All-American
CB Deveron Harper
? Lindy?s, ranked 13th among cornerbacks
DE Lamont Bryant
? The Sporting News, ranked 10th among defensive ends
? Lindy?s, ranked 12th among defensive ends
? Street and Smith?s and Walter Camp Football Foundation, Honorable Mention All-American
Notre Dame Defensive Line
? The Sporting News, ranked fifth in country
Notre Dame Secondary
? The Sporting News, ranked ninth in country
Notre Dame in the Preseason Polls
Lindy?s 1. Florida State 2. TENNESSEE 3. Arizona 4. Penn State 5. Texas A&M 6. MICHIGAN 7. Florida 8. Ohio State 9. Kansas State 10. Nebraska 15. NOTRE DAME 21. USC The Sporting News 1. Penn State 2. Florida State 3. TENNESSEE 4. Arizona 5. Florida 6. Nebraska 7. MICHIGAN 8. Texas A&M 9. Wisconsin 10. UCLA 18. ARIZONA STATE 19. USC 20. NOTRE DAME 21. PURDUE Athlon 1. Florida State 2. Penn State 3. TENNESSEE 4. Arizona 5. Texas A&M 6. Virginia Tech 7. MICHIGAN 8. Wisconsin 9. Georgia Tech 10. Nebraska 11. USC 18. NOTRE DAME Street and Smith?s 1. Florida State 2. TENNESSEE 3. Ohio State 4. Arizona 5. Nebraska 6. MICHIGAN 7. Penn State 8. Georgia Tech 9. Florida 10. Virginia Tech 14. PURDUE 17. NOTRE DAME 24. USC Notre Dame and ?99 opponents in CAPS