Notre Dame isn't projected to be a Top 10 team according to the preseason magazines, but there is plenty of appreciation for the individual returning players. In fact, Notre Dame had five players placed among the five best at their respective positions according to Lindy's Sports in its preseason college football magazine.
Notre Dame junior safety Kyle Hamilton was ranked as the nation's top returning safety. Hamilton has already racked up 104 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, five interceptions and 12 pass break ups in just two seasons with the Irish. He led Notre Dame in tackles (63) in 2020 and led the Irish in interceptions (4) in 2019.
Irish senior offensive lineman Jarrett Patterson was named the nation's fourth-best returning center. Patterson started at center for Notre Dame in 2019 and 2020 but there's a chance he could move positions in 2021.
Guard Cain Madden was ranked as the fifth-best returning guard, although he was listed as playing for Marshall when this magazine was published. The former Thundering Herd guard was a second-team All-American in 2020.
Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams was ranked as the fifth-best running back in the country. Williams had a breakout sophomore campaign, rushing for 1,125 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also hauled in 35 passes for 313 yards.
Rising sophomore tight end Michael Mayer was ranked as the nation's fifth-best returning tight end. Mayer was the nation's top freshman tight end in 2020, earning freshman All-American honors. He tied for the team lead with 42 receptions and was second with 450 yards last season.
Notre Dame's five players in the position rankings tied for eighth among all college football teams. Not surprisingly, Alabama led the way with 11 selections, followed by Ohio State and Clemson with nine apiece. None of Notre Dame's 2021 opponents matched the five by the Irish.
The interesting aspect of the Notre Dame rankings is the Irish tied with Alabama and Iowa State for the most players ranking in the Top 5 at their positions.
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