I created a primer to this project which explains the way we’ll be ranking all 185 players. It will be a pyramid structure and as we ascend the players will get better and better. Follow along this off-season as we preach about all the wonderful talent that has played for Notre Dame.
Today, we finish exploring Level 1 with its final Wing 3.
Consensus or Unanimous All-American
Major CFB Award
146. Drue Tranquill, LB, Fort Wayne, Indiana (2014-18)
A converted safety after injuries plagued him early in his career, Tranquill developed into a two-time captain at linebacker for the Irish. As a redshirt junior and graduate senior he posted a terrific 171 tackles and 19.5 tackles for loss over his final 26 games. He leaves Notre Dame just outside the top 10 in tackles.
145. Peter Duranko, DT, Johnstown, Pennsyvania (1962-66)
One of the earliest 5th-year players in program history (he broke his wrist in the first game of his sophomore season) Duranko played at fullback and linebacker early in his career before moving to defensive tackle. In 1965 he was heavily featured in the rotation and then became one of the best players on a loaded defense in the 1966 National Championship season. Duranko picked up several All-American honors in his final campaign with the Irish.
144. Tom Regner, OG, Kenosha, Wisconsin (1964-66)
One of the few players to ever say they might’ve been the best player on both sides of the ball for Notre Dame. Regner led the 1964 team in tackles as an interior defensive lineman then switched to offensive guard for his final 2 seasons. Considered one of the best offensive lineman in the country he won unanimous All-American honors and a championship during the 1966 season.
143. Derek Brown, TE, Merritt Island, Florida (1988-91)
One of the sensational freshmen for the 1988 National Champions. Derek Brown excelled from day one for the Irish and produced consistently in a pass-restrictive offense. He’s still 7th and 8th respectively in school history in career receptions and yards by a tight end. Also, Brown remains tied for 4th in touchdown receptions by a tight end. He picked up All-American honors as a senior and could’ve re-written the history book for the Irish if he played 15 years later.
142. Frank Stams, DE, Akron, Ohio (1984-88)
Originally a fullback, Stams was switched to defense by Lou Holtz and the rest is history. He was the anchor of the stingy 1988 defense that won a National Championship with Stams receiving unanimous All-American honors following his final year in South Bend. As a senior, he notched 51 tackles and 7 sacks.
141. Ronnie Stanley, OT, Las Vegas, Nevada (2012-15)
Stanley was used sparingly as a true freshman then became the starter at right tackle in 2013. He had the pressure of following in the footsteps of Zack Martin when he switched over to left tackle for the 2014 season. Stanley more than kept up his end of the bargain starting his last 39 career games and becoming an unanimous All-American after his senior season.
140. Courtney Watson, LB, Sarasota, Florida (1999-2003)
After taking a redshirt and playing very little in 2000, Watson caught fire over his final 3 seasons for the Irish. In addition to picking off 7 passes, he finished his career with 39 tackles for loss which is 7th best in school history. After his 2002 redshirt junior season Watson picked up some All-American honors.
139. Anthony Weaver, DE, Saratoga Springs, New York (1998-2001)
One of the most under-appreciated talents in Irish history. Weaver was a fearsome pass-rusher, especially as an upperclassman. His 2001 campaign was magnificent finishing with 21 tackles for loss which is still the 2nd best season ever at Notre Dame. Weaver’s 42 tackles for loss is tied for 3rd best in school history. He received some All-American honors after 2001.
138. Mike Kadish, DT, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1969-71)
Despite a knee injury that slowed him as a junior, Kadish was a first-team interior lineman for his 3 seasons with the Irish. In his final year in 1971 he led the defense in tackles and finished with 8 tackles for loss. Kadish was given some first-team All-American love after his last season.
137. Jack Robinson, OC, Huntington, New York (1932-34)
A starter in 1932, Robinson missed the entire 1933 season due to eye surgery. He was fitted with a mask for 1934 and was considered the country’s best centers, earning consensus All-American honors. Robinson was also a great defender while intercepting 5 passes in his final season.
136. Marc Edwards, FB, Norwood, Ohio (1993-96)
The epitome of the modern fullback in Notre Dame history. Edwards played consistently across 4 seasons except a MCL injury shortened his senior year. His junior 1995 campaign was something special finishing with 1,078 total yards and 12 touchdowns from scrimmage. Edwards finished his career with 1,591 rushing yards at a healthy 5.1 average. A captain of the 1996 team, he produced 22 touchdowns over his final 19 career games. His 32 overall touchdowns remains 7th best by a Notre Dame player.
135. Derrick Mayes, WR, Indianapolis, Indiana (1992-95)
Mayes was a 1995 captain and two-time team MVP as a junior and senior. When he left Notre Dame his 22 career touchdown receptions was a school record which stood for over a decade and now ranks tied for 5th for the Irish. He is still 4th in career receiving yards for the Irish. Mayes’ combined 1994-95 seasons saw him collect 35.5% of the receptions and 44.2% of the receiving yardage for the Irish offense. Using 2018 passing attempts that would project to nearly 200 catches and 3,000 yards over his last two years. He remains 5th all-time in yard per reception for the Irish and the best player in this category since Rocket Ismail.
134. Kory Minor, LB, Inglewood, California (1995-98)
One of the top recruits from the 1990’s decade. Minor certainly lived up to the billing while starting all 4 years on campus and tying for the 8th most tackles by a true freshman. He finished his stellar career with 43.5 tackles for loss and 22.5 sacks, both still 2nd best in school history. Minor is in the conversation as the best linebacker of the Holtz and Davie eras at Notre Dame.
133. Allen Rossum, CB, Dallas, Texas (1994-97)
A very good corner with 7 interceptions and 144 tackles across 3 years of starting while being one of the country’s top special teams players. Rossum’s 344 punt return yards in 1996 led the country, was the best single-season average in school history, while he still holds the Notre Dame record for career punt return average. A 1997 captain, he has scored the most non-offensive touchdowns (9) in school history and is tied for 1st in Irish history with a trio of interception return touchdowns.
132. Rick Mirer, QB, Goshen, Indiana (1989-92)
A local product who stepped into the spotlight of the dominant Holtz years and flourished. Mirer has the 7th most completions, 6th most passing yards, and 5th best passer rating in school history. He remains tied for 8th in winning percentage by a starting quarterback and fell just one win shy of tying the record for most wins—all in just 3 years. Mirer was one called-back Rocket punt from winning 3 straight major bowl games and might be the best Irish quarterback to never win a National Championship.