After a great weekend of NFL playoff football comes the biggest game of the year–maybe in the last few years–in college football. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are annually one of the most over-hyped teams in the country, much like the New York Knicks of the NBA or the New York Jets of the NFL. Teams that usually get a lot of hype but never have a ton of substance.
This year, that’s not the case. Notre Dame is for real, and their defense is up to the task against an Alabama Crimson Tide offense which features two 1,000 yard tailbacks and a deadly weapon at wide receiver in freshman Amari Cooper.
The Fighting Irish counter with their own sophomore stud, quarterback Everett Golson, as well as a star tight end–and potential future first round pick–Tyler Eifert.
The Irish are not known for their offense, however, so the defense is going to have to make some big stands in order to get the offense more opportunities. As good as the Irish defense has been and can be, the Alabama defense may be just as good all-around, with playmakers at every level.
On the defensive line, both teams boast All-American caliber nose tackles. Alabama’s Jesse Williams is a former rugby player who has taken to the game of football so well that he is projected as a sure-fire first round selection in April. Notre Dame’s Louis Nix III is only a junior and at 6’3″ 326 pounds is a load in the middle of that Irish defensive line. He will have his hands full with Alabama’s stud guard Chance Warmack, one of the top players overall in the country and easily the best guard in America eligible for the draft.
The true stars of this game are Notre Dame Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te’o and Alabama tailback Eddie Lacy, who are sure to meet often in this game.
Now that we know some of the studs of the game, it’s important for NFL Draft fans to know which players in this game are going pro, and which ones can make an impact for their team in 2013. Aside from the seniors, here are some names to keep an eye out as guys who may declare following the game tonight:
Alabama Crimson Tide:
Eddie Lacy, RB
Chance Warmack, OG
D.J. Fluker, OL
C.J. Mosley, LB (stated he’s returning, but we’ll see if that sticks. He would be a first round pick)
Dee Milliner, CB
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
CB Bennett Jackson
LB Prince Shembo
DL Louis Nix III
DL Stephon Tuitt
RB Cierre Wood
Who is Most Likely to Declare After the Game?
Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
Chance Warmack, OL, Alabama
D.J. Fluker, OL, Alabama
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Cierre Wood, RB, Notre Dame
I’m not sure if Notre Dame will lose any/many non-seniors in this game. With a very young quarterback, they have a chance to continue to improve and build upon this fantastic season.
Who Are the Top Seniors in This Game?
Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
Nico Johnson, LB, Alabama
Robert Lester, S, Alabama
Theo Riddick, RB/WR/ATH, Notre Dame
Kapron Lewis-Moore, DL, Notre Dame