2023 Notre Dame football season preview. Everything you need to know heading into fall camp

SOUTH BEND — Growing pains and learning curves punctuated Marcus Freeman's first season as Notre Dame football's head coach in 2022.
Unforeseen loses to Marshall and Stanford ended hopes of a third College Football Playoff run in five years. But wins over North Carolina, BYU, Clemson and even South Carolina in the Gator Bowl suggested that Freeman's potential was real.
Offseason coaching and player churn that included Offensive Coordinator Tommy Rees joining legend Nick Saban at Alabama — eventually taking QB Tyler Buchner with him — and running back Logan Diggs reuniting with Brian Kelly at LSU, proved yet again that nothing is sacred in the business of college football. Recruiting defections dropped the Irish out of several Class of 2023 Top 10 projections.
But in came sixth-year quarterback transfer Sam Hartman from Wake Forest, considered an early odds favorite in the race for the Heisman Trophy. An experienced and deep offensive line is there to protect him. The defensive secondary boasts a Jim Thorpe Award candidate in Benjamin Morrison.
Notre Dame players circle up during the light show between the third and fourth quarter during the Notre Dame vs. Clemson NCAA football game Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana.
There is doubt. But there is also hope. The Irish get primetime games against Ohio State and USC at Notre Dame Stadium. They will be tested on the road at Clemson, N.C. State and possibly Louisville.
Ahead of Notre Dame's second fall camp under Freeman that begins Wednesday, July 26, 2023., the South Bend Tribune and NDInsider.com rolls out its 2023 Notre Dame Football season preview, telling the stories of new coaches, star players and position battles.
Here is what you can expect (Click on the updated links each day to read the stories):
FRIDAY, JULY 21
Notre Dame football head coach Marcus Freeman speaks to the team Wednesday, April 12, 2023, during spring football practice on the Notre Dame campus.
▶ Noie: Notre Dame football's Marcus Freeman better knows the life as a college head coach
Marcus Freeman had little idea what awaited last season, his first as a head coach. Now he does, but that doesn't mean it's going to be easy.
TIGHT ENDS
▶ 'That dude's crazy' — OC Gerad Parker and his new role at Notre Dame
Gerad Parker, 42, gladly springs into action during individual position drills as he drives home his coaching points about this game of millimeters.
Oct 8, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end Holden Staes (85) celebrates with teammates after a touchdown by tight end Michael Mayer (87) against the Brigham Young Cougars during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
▶ Notre Dame football position breakdown: Deep group at tight end must put injuries in the past
Notre Dame’s top four returnees at tight end have totaled 11 career receptions for 130 yards and one touchdown. Departed All-America Michael Mayer nearly matched those numbers in last year’s Shamrock Series win over BYU
Notre Dame defensive end Justin Ademilola (9) celebrates during the Notre Dame vs. Clemson NCAA football game Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana.
▶ Profile: Nothing blocking tight end Eli Raridon from taking on a larger role with Irish
Eli Raridon spent a second straight offseason rehabbing a torn ACL in his right knee.
SATURDAY, JULY 22
Apr 23, 2022; Notre Dame, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receivers coach Chansi Stuckey watches in the first quarter of the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
▶ Notre Dame football has a devoted matchmaker in receivers coach Chansi Stuckey
Stuckey launched a mentoring program in which he pairs former Notre Dame receiving greats with players on the current roster. So far Tim Brown, the 1987 Heisman Trophy winner, has been matched with sophomore Tobias Merriweather and Derrick Mayes, who went to Super Bowls his first two seasons with the Green Bay Packers, has been matched with junior Deion Colzie.
TODAY, JULY 23
▶ Breaking down Notre Dame football's 2023 schedule
Clemson, Ohio State, USC and ... Tennessee State? See how the Irish schedule stacks up from worst to best
Early-enrolled freshman linebacker Drayk Bowen (34) goes through drills Saturday, March 25, 2023, at Notre Dame spring football practice in South Bend.
▶ Who are these guys? Meet the newcomers to Notre Dame football in 2023
A player-by-player overview of the new transfer and scholarship freshman players for Notre Dame football in 2023.
▶ Projected depth chart and eligibility for 2023 Notre Dame Football
A peek at the roster and remaining eligibility for Notre Dame players.
COMING MONDAY, JULY 24
Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman (10) Wednesday, April 12, 2023, during spring football practice on the Notre Dame campus.
▶ Notre Dame football hasn't had a Heisman winner since 1987. Can QB Sam Hartman break that streak?
The Fighting Irish have more Heisman winners than any other program. "Rocket" Ismail came close. Brady Quinn was in the conversation. Manti Te'o nearly made history. But Tim Brown, 36 years ago, remains the last Irish player to break through.
▶ Position breakdown: Calm before (and during) the storm important for Notre Dame QBs
For Wake Forest graduate transfer Sam Hartman, turning the page in practice or games shouldn’t be all that difficult
Redshirt freshman quarterback Steve Angeli (18) walks into spring practice Saturday, March 25, 2023, at Notre Dame in South Bend.
▶ Profile: Getting to know Notre Dame football QB Steve Angeli heading into 2023 season
Next spring could be quite a battle between Angeli and four-star commit CJ Carr, ranked No. 6 among all quarterbacks in the Class of 2024.
WIDE RECEIVER
Notre Dame wide receivers coach Chansi Stuckey during Notre Dame Spring Practice on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at Irish Athletics Center in South Bend, Indiana.
▶ Position breakdown: Which Notre Dame football wide receivers can earn Hartman's trust?
Overnight, one of the thinnest position groups on the roster is brimming with potential.
Notre Dame wide receiver Tobias Merriweather (15) and Notre Dame wide receiver Joe Wilkins Jr. (5) celebrate during the Notre Dame vs. Stanford NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.
Notre Dame Vs Stanford Football
▶ Profile: Notre Dame WR Tobias Merriweather adds armor to his arsenal
Merriweather, whose sole reception went for a 41-yard touchdown against Stanford, will have another Hall of Famer in his corner this fall in Tim Brown.
COMING TUESDAY, JULY 25
CORNERBACKS
▶ Position breakdown: 'Go get interceptions.' Notre Dame cornerbacks heed the message
Sophomore Jaden Mickey showed renewed confidence in the spring after allowing three touchdowns and a 158.3 NFL passer rating on his watch last season.
Notre Dame cornerback Cam Hart (5) goes through drills Wednesday, April 12, 2023, during spring football practice on the Notre Dame campus.
▶ Profile: Getting to know Notre Dame football cornerback Cam Hart
Cam Hart's versatility in coverage was sorely missed as his left shoulder kept him from playing the final two games last season.
SAFETIES
Defensive back Thomas Harper (13), a graduate transfer from Oklahoma State, goes through drills Saturday, March 25, 2023, at Notre Dame spring football practice in South Bend.
▶ Safety dance: Breaking down Notre Dame football's well-stocked secondary
Healthy again after November surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Thomas Harper figures to play more of a hybrid nickel safety role.
Notre Dame’s Ramon Henderson (11) didn’t make the full transition to safety until the week of the Virginia game.
▶ Profile: Ramon Henderson plans to shine at safety for Notre Dame with 'Wow' factor
The plan this season is to let Ramon Henderson master a slimmer set of responsibilities rather than spread him so thin.
DEFENSIVE LINE
Notre Dame defensive lineman Rylie Mills (99) celebrates during the Notre Dame vs. University of Nevada NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.
▶ Position breakdown: Time for new wave to crest along Notre Dame football defensive front
Defensive tackle Rylie Mills and nose tackle Howard Cross III will be the primary anchors as Notre Dame looks to improve its run defense.
Jason Onye (47) during football practice April 2, 2022 at the Irish Athletics Center in South Bend.
▶ Profile: Nose tackle seems to agree with Notre Dame football lineman Jason Onye
Jason Onye now carries just 12% body fat on his 6-foot-4, 292-pound frame. What kind of difference will that make up the gut?
WEDNESDAY, JULY 26
RUNNING BACKS
Nov 19, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Audric Estime (7) runs the ball as Boston College Eagles cornerback Jalon Williams (14) defends in the fourth quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
▶ Can Audric Estime lead the downhill charge of Notre Dame’s running backs?
With the departure of Logan Diggs, Audric Estime is the unquestioned leader in the Irish offensive backfield.
Notre Dame running backs coach Deland McCullough gives instruction during Notre Dame Spring Practice on Saturday, April 02, 2022, at Irish Athletics Center in South Bend, Indiana.
▶ Breaking down Notre Dame football's reworked running back rotation for 2023
Logan Diggs transferred back home to LSU after producing 1,033 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns last season, but Jadarian Price is ready.
▶ Profile: Healthy Notre Dame football running back Jadarian Price is ready to ramble
The Denison, Texas product drew strength from the comeback story of Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers.
Notre Dame offensive lineman Joe Alt (76) talks on the sidelines with quarterback Sam Hartman (10) during the Notre Dame Blue-Gold Spring Football game on Saturday, April 22, 2023, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.
▶ Breaking down Notre Dame football's offensive line under new assistant Joe Rudolph
Bookend tackles Joe Alt and Blake Fisher might not be far behind in the race to the pros.
Notre Dame starting center Zeke Correll (52) Wednesday, April 12, 2023, during spring football practice on the Notre Dame campus.
▶ Profile: Zeke Correll is ready to prove Jarrett Patterson right
Zeke Correll played his first three seasons for Jeff Quinn, now at LSU. That included a total of eight starts.
THURSDAY, JULY 27
HEAD COACH
Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman talks with an official during first half action. The University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish took on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl game in Jacksonville, Florida's TIAA Bank Field Friday, December 30, 2022. The first half ended with South Carolina holding a 24 to 17 lead. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]
Marcus Freeman taps all resources in search of improvement
Just two assistant coaches remain from the staff Marcus Freeman inherited when he was promoted from defensive coordinator in December 2021.
Marcus Freeman's superpower: Staying present and humble
Talking coffee, cards and selfies with Notre Dame’s high energy, photogenic coach
Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz, left, and Michigan coach Gary Moeller talk before the game at Michigan Stadium on Sept. 14, 1991.
▶ Notre Dame football preview: How second-year coaches have fared through the decades
Notre Dame football trend has been Year 2 struggles, Year 3 glory
LINEBACKERS
Notre Dame linebacker Marist Liufau (8) tries to get past California offensive lineman Matthew Cindric (73) during the Notre Dame vs. California NCAA football game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.
▶ Breaking down Notre Dame football's 2023 linebacker group
Prince Kollie’s transfer to Vanderbilt should flatten the learning curve this fall for redshirt freshman Nolan Ziegler and a trio of 2023 signees.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Nolan Ziegler (42) walks into spring practice Saturday, March 25, 2023, at Notre Dame in South Bend.
▶ Profile: Notre Dame linebacker Nolan Ziegler has a legacy to uphold
Nolan Ziegler has modified his pursuit style as he learns to sift through traffic and misdirection within the tackle box.
FRIDAY JULY 28
SPECIAL TEAMS
Notre Dame special teams coordinator Marty Biagi during Notre Dame Spring Practice on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at Irish Athletics Center in South Bend, Indiana.
▶ New Notre Dame Special Teams Coordinator Marty Biagi plans to continue momentum from 2022 crew
The Irish special teams unit set a modern school record with seven blocked punts, including at least one in five straight games. That was under Brian Mason. What does Marty Biagi have in store?

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