Athletics Writer | September 1, 2017
Countdown to Kickoff
- 43 Notre Dame has played 43 games decided by eight points or less since the arrival of Brian Kelly. The Irish went 2-5 in the first seven such games under Kelly, but have since gone 21-15.
- 21 Notre Dame used 21 players in their first year of eligibility last season, including 14 true freshmen (most in the Brian Kelly era).
- 17 Notre Dame saw 17 players, including five true freshmen, earn their first career starts in 2016.
- 10 Notre Dame's freshman class counts 10 members in the Tom Lemming Top 300 for the signing class of 2017: Brock Wright, Cole Kmet, Robert Hainsey, Avery Davis, Josh Lugg, Aaron Banks, David Adams, Darnell Ewell, Dillon Gibbons and C.J. Holmes.
- 9 Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame's leading receiver in 2016, had nine TD grabs last season. That total ranked sixth in the nation among sophomores and freshmen.
- 8 Eight Notre Dame players have been named to watch lists for the 2017 campaign (in addition to three on the Wuerffel Trophy watch list). See page 16 for a full list of honors and awards.
- 7 Notre Dame has seven regular-season home games on the schedule for the first time since 2010. It marks the first time since the 2011 campaign without an official Shamrock Series game and the first time since 2007 Notre Dame will not play a single neutral-site game.
- 6 Six new assistant coaches will be on the Notre Dame sideline this fall, with two of those returning to South Bend. The new members of Brian Kelly's staff include: Mike Elko, Chip Long, Brian Polian, Clark Lea, Del Alexander and Tom Rees. For a full breakdown of the new staff, see page seven.