Jones expected to help fill Notre Dame's leadership void in 2013

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Jones expected to help fill Notre Dame's leadership void in 2013

As Robby Toma walked off the field for the last time as a college player, he had a message for senior-to-be T.J. Jones: lead them next year.

For Jones, that role began to come into focus in 2012.

I knew once the senior class graduated that a lot of eyes were going to be on me as a leader, Jones said. I tried to lead this team as a junior, and next year I plan to be the leader of this offense, just with my experience being a senior and being in the role Ive played in the offense these last three years, I feel its only necessary.

Notre Dame is losing three of its four pillars from the 2012 locker room next year, with only offensive lineman Zack Martin returning among the teams captains. Gone, too, are seniors Braxston Cave, Theo Riddick and Zeke Motta, among others.

Replacing Manti Teos presence in the locker room wont be easy -- obviously, neither will replacing his presence on the field, too -- seeing as this was a linebacker who calmed down quarterback Everett Golson at Oklahoma, the site of Notre Dames biggest win of 2012.

Whereas Teo, Martin, Tyler Eifert and Kapron Lewis-Moore were impact guys, Jones hasnt proven to be that over his first three years at Notre Dame. Solid is a better descriptor, as the undersized Jones caught 50 passes for 649 yards and four touchdowns in 2012.

His ball skills are ridiculous, gushed offensive coordinator Chuck Martin. It's hard to throw a ball he won't catch for you. He's a great route runner. He's super quick. He understands the game, he's tough. He has all the traits.

One of those traits, too, is in his leadership ability. Its one Notre Dame will count on next year, as its underclassmen look to a new crop of seniors for guidance.

He's really set the tone as leadership for our offense how he practices every day, Martin said, which is what we're most thankful for him because we knew he could play.

Handing out Notre Dame’s 2016 awards and superlatives

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USA Today

Handing out Notre Dame’s 2016 awards and superlatives

Notre Dame’s annual Echoes awards show is this week, and while the team’s 4-8 record wasn’t worth celebrating, a few individual performances certainly were. 

With that in mind, Mike Monaco and I ran down our own awards and superlatives for Notre Dame’s 2016 season on the Still Independent podcast this week. Listen at the link here or in the embedded player below:

A quick rundown of who I picked for each of our awards, which Mike and I further explained in the podcast:

Team MVP - QB DeShone Kizer

Defensive MVP - LB James Onwualu

Offensive MVP - WR Equanimeous St. Brown

Best play - Equanimeous St. Brown’s somersault touchdown against Texas

Best game - Jarron Jones (six tackles for a loss) vs. Miami

Defensive newcomer of the year - CB Julian Love

Offensive newcomer of the year - WR Kevin Stepherson

Biggest disappointment - Notre Dame’s defense under Brian VanGorder for the season’s first four games

Unsung stars - WR Torii Hunter Jr. and DE Isaac Rochell

Wide receiver Corey Holmes will transfer from Notre Dame

Wide receiver Corey Holmes will transfer from Notre Dame

Redshirt sophomore receiver Corey Holmes will transfer from Notre Dame after graduating in the spring, joining offensive lineman John Montelus and quarterback Malik Zaire in leaving South Bend after earning their degrees.

Holmes, a former four-star recruit from Pembroke Pines, Fla., was the fifth-most targeted wide receiver on Notre Dame in 2016 (21 targets) and caught 11 passes for 96 yards. Holmes played in two games as a true freshman in 2014 but redshirted in 2015.

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Holmes posted this message to Twitter Saturday afternoon:

Holmes had offered from a number of top programs coming out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in South Florida, including Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Oklahoma, Stanford and Wisconsin.