Notre Dame finally got a look at Torii Hunter Jr. in a game and now has another receiver to add to an inexperienced group that is falling into place for the ninth-ranked Fighting Irish.
Hunter, who lost his freshman season to lingering effects of a broken leg, caught a touchdown in his first college game Saturday night. The son of the major league star of the same name, Hunter missed the first three games this season with a groin injury.
''He's a guy that we think we can run the ball with at the receiver position,'' Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Sunday on a teleconference. ''You know, he's a physical kid. We just think he's got an all-around skill set. I think in baseball it's a five-tool player. He's got all those tools that we're excited about getting him healthy. I don't even think he's at 100 percent yet.''
Hunter was a highly recruited prospect who broke his leg during practice for an elite high school all-star game in 2013. The slow recovery from a gruesome injury cost him last season.
Hunter's first college catch came in fourth quarter against Syracuse, grabbing a short throw near the sideline and spinning off a defender and into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown that pretty much sealed the Irish's 31-15 victory.
Hunter's return came at a time when Notre Dame needed a boost. Amir Carlisle, the Southern California transfer who caught two touchdowns against Michigan, hurt his knee against Purdue and missed the Syracuse game.
Will Fuller was the star among the receivers at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Fuller caught two touchdown passes and had 119 yards, earning a game ball.
Early in the game, Fuller took one of the many screen passes Everett Golson threw to blunt Syracuse's blitzes, but failed to get a first down. Kelly wasn't happy and let Fuller know he expected more.
Fuller responded by asking for the ball to come his way on a similar play later in the first half. He went 23 yards for a touchdown with that one to open the scoring.
''The first one I cut it up to early,'' Fuller said. ''The second one I caught I followed my blocks and reversed field.''
Fuller later caught a 72-yard deep ball, badly burning a cornerback one-on-one.
''He's a young guy that is gaining confidence, and I just think he has a lot of ability that we're really trying to get him to think in those terms, really believe in himself,'' Kelly said. ''I believe in him, and I think at times I want him to carry himself in that fashion, that you get me the ball, I'm going to make plays.''
Corey Robinson, the 6-foot-5 son of former NBA star David Robinson, caught eight passes for 91 yards a touchdown.
Notre Dame has been without its most experienced receiver DaVaris Daniels, who is one of five players being held out during a university investigation for academic impropriety. Also being held out are cornerback KeiVarae Russell, defensive end Ishaq Williams, linebacker Kendall Moore and safety Eilar Hardy.
Kelly said Sunday he believes the situation will be resolved by the end of this week.
As for the receivers, Kelly said he likes the way the group is falling into place, with Fuller and possibly Chris Brown as deep threats. C.J. Prosise works on the perimeter as a blocker and a big target at 225 pounds. Carlisle and Hunter fit in the slot. Robinson is a matchup problem in the red zone.
''Now we're starting to develop some real pieces within that wide receiver corps that we can develop because these are all new guys for us,'' Kelly said. ''They're going to be around for a while. These are guys that are underclassmen. So we're starting to develop some consistency with that group.''