Notre Dame will get some stability at wide receiver with DaVaris Daniels' expected return to South Bend this summer, but behind him is a whole lot of inexperienced.
Juniors Chris Brown and C.J. Prosise are joined by sophomores Corey Robinson, Torii Hunter Jr. and Will Fuller along with freshman Justin Brent to comprise the rest of Notre Dame's two-deep at wide receiver. Each player brings a varying level of experience, from some (Brown and Robinson) to none (Hunter and Brent).
But this unit is an unknown heading into 2014, with only Daniels ever shouldering a significant workload over the course of a full season. But offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Mike Denbrock is hopeful that all the competition this summer and fall will produce a group of solid targets for Everett Golson to throw to.
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"We're talking about three positions and arguably you've got, half a dozen guys there that can compete," Denbrock said. "So what's going to be the deciding factor for me is, I'm not settled on any one of those guys right now. I think it will be a very competitive situation. I think they are going to push each other and Notre Dame's offense is beginning to be the beneficiary."
Just as important an issue as the individual development of the young Irish receivers is how they mesh with Golson, who only threw to Brown (and tight end Ben Koyack) during the 2012 season. That rapport looked solid during Notre Dame's Blue-Gold game earlier this month, though there's still a ways to go there.
"It's all a process," Golson said. "I like our arsenal and what we can do with this offense."
Without the ever-reliable T.J. Jones, Notre Dame will need Daniels to step into that No. 1 receiver role. But he can't carry this group alone -- and even Daniels struggled during the middle of last season -- so the onus is on one of these green receivers to make that leap.
But again, Denbrock is confident that'll happen.
"I love the aspect of the competition we have there because we've got some talent across the board," Denbrock said. "I love the atmosphere it creates in the wide receiver room from a competitive standpoint, guys trying to get on the field. I'm comfortable with kind of letting that sort itself out."