2013 review: T.J. Jones took a major step forward in his final year on campus, catching 70 passes for 1,108 yards with nine touchdowns — all team highs. But DaVaris Daniels improved, too, with 49 receptions for 745 yards and seven touchdowns (though a minor mid-season leg injury muted those numbers a bit).
While Jones and Daniels were Tommy Rees' two favorite targets, 2013 saw the debuts of a pair of projectable wideouts. Corey Robinson showed elite length and athleticism, and has a ceiling that has coaches salivating. Will Fuller flashed game-breaking potential, averaging 26.7 yards per catch (though he only had six receptions).
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Sophomore Chris Brown came on strong in the Pinstripe Bowl, though a third of his 15 catches came in that game.
Departures: T.J. Jones, Daniel Smith
Arrivals: Justin Brent, Corey Holmes
2014 outlook: Daniels should be counted on as Everett Golson's top target this coming fall, though missing spring practice due to an academic issue may ding his development. Beyond him, Notre Dame has plenty of talent — Torii Hunter Jr. should enter the depth chart, too — but little experience.
If Daniels continues to improve and, say, two of Brown, Fuller, Hunter Jr. and Robinson break out, this'll become an elite receiving unit. Notre Dame, too, showed in 2013 a willingness to play freshmen — so Brent (an early enrollee) and Holmes (a verbal commit) could very well enter the mix, too. But there's always the potential for this group to fall on its face, given its greenhorn nature.
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X-Factor: Coaches and players raved about Hunter Jr.'s playmaking ability after seeing him participate in the team's bowl practices last month. The plan was for him to redshirt the day he set foot on campus — Hunter Jr. broke his leg during practice last January — but he began working on the scout team mid-season and began to open some eyes there (he won Notre Dame's offensive scout team MVP).
If you're dreaming up a wide receiver depth chart: Daniels and Robinson on the outside, Hunter Jr. in the slot. Add in Brown and Fuller to the mix and that could shape up to be a great group of weapons at Golson's disposal.