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 begin at the bottom of the pyramid on Level 1 in the first wing.
Consensus or Unanimous All-American
Major CFB Award
185. DeShone Kizer, QB, Toledo, Ohio (2014-16)
Two-year starter and only Brian Kelly-era quarterback to make the Pyramid. Over 5,800 passing yards and nearly 1,000 rushing yards. In 25 career games he was responsible for 65 overall touchdowns. Kizer’s 143 rushing yards against Temple in 2015 are the 2nd most in a game by an Irish quarterback. He left Notre Dame with the 3rd highest completion percentage, 2nd highest passer rating, and the highest total offense per game mark for quarterback over a career.
184. Nick Setta, K/P, Lockport, Illinois (2000-03)
Fourth in school history with 46 field goals made. Tied for 1st with 5 field goals in a single game which he achieved on two separate occasions. Punted briefly as a freshman and then took over the punting duties as a senior. Missed only 1 of 105 PAT attempts in his college career.
183. Anthony Fasano, TE, Verona, New Jersey (2002-05)
Accumulated 92 catches and 1,112 receiving yards throughout his career. Fasano’s 47 catches during the 2005 season were the most in over 30 years at Notre Dame and at the time the 2nd most ever in school history. He remains 4th all-time in career receptions by an Irish tight end.
182. Jerome Heavens, RB, East St. Louis, Illinois (1975-78)
Led the Irish in rushing as a true freshman and also during his 1977 junior season. Never eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in a season but left Notre Dame as the all-time leading rusher breaking George Gipp’s career mark that lasted for decades. His career mark has since been passed several times, including in 1979 the year after Heavens graduated and he is now the 6th leading rusher in Irish history.
181. Anthony Denman, LB, Lufkin, Texas (1997-2000)
An underrated, quick inside linebacker. Denman blossomed as an upperclassman finishing 2nd on the team in tackles in 1999 before leading the 2000 squad. He finished with 23 tackles for loss over his final 2 seasons.
180. Joe Kurth, OT, Madison, Wisconsin (1930-32)
A transfer from Wisconsin who would go on to start 3 years for Notre Dame, winning a National Championship in his first season in South Bend. Kurth picked up some All-American honors in 1931 before finishing his career as a 1932 consensus All-American.
179. Kyle Brindza, K, Plymouth, Michigan (2011-14)
Notre Dame’s kickoff specialist as a freshman whose first career field goal defeated Purdue in the final seconds of the 2012 home opener. Brindza would go on to set the school record for most field goals (23) in a single season. Upon graduation after the 2014 season he was the all-time field goals made leader in Notre Dame history, since eclipsed.
178. John Mohardt, RB, Gary, Indiana (1919-21)
One of Knute Rockne’s early stars. Mohardt lived in the shadow of George Gipp during his first 2 years then exploded with 781 rushing yards and 995 passing yards in 1921 becoming one of the first teams to use the forward pass as a main weapon for an offense. Denied his last year of eligibility for playing in a professional football game, Mohardt was awarded All-American honors for the 1921 season and was said to be one of the best athletes to ever play at Notre Dame.
177. Tim Ruddy, C, Dunmore, Pennsylvania (1990-94)
Ruddy was famous for being an Academic All-American who graduated with a 3.86 GPA in mechanical engineering. He waited his turn on the football field before becoming the starter at center for the 1993 team and picked up some All-American love in his final 1994 season.
176. Frank Rydzewski, C, Chicago, Illinois (1915-17)
A hulking 6’1″ 224 pound lineman who dwarfed many of his contemporaries. His playing days came in the last 3 years of the Jesse Harper era before Knute Rockne was hired as Notre Dame’s head coach. Blocked for a freshman George Gipp in 1917 and was awarded consensus All-American honors that year, only the second Notre Dame player to achieve that through this point in history.
175. Tom Zbikowski, S, Buffalo Grove, Illinois (2003-07)
Exploded onto the national scene in 2005 and 2006 earning some All-American honors in both seasons. A hard-hitting safety, Zbikowski padded his resume as one of Notre Dame’s best modern punt returns, including 757 yards (3rd most in school history) and 3 touchdowns over his career. He is Notre Dame’s all-time leader in fumble return yards and his 300 tackles is 1st among all Notre Dame defensive backs in their careers.
174. Paul Seiler, OT, Algona, Iowa (1964-66)
A little know backup until 1966 when he became a starter at right tackle and developed quickly into one of the top players on a loaded team. Picked up some All-American honors while winning the ’66 National Championship.
173. T.J. Jones, WR, Gainesville, Georgia (2010-13)
A career that built slowly through each of his four seasons culminating in tying for the team lead in receptions as a junior and then leading the Irish with 70 catches and 1,108 yards in 2013. Jones’ senior season is the 8th best for receptions in Notre Dame history. He’s currently 7th all-time in school history with 2,429 receiving yards.
172. John Carney, K, West Palm Beach, Florida (1984-86)
Perhaps the best kicker in school history from the 20th Century. Carney’s 21 field goals from his senior season was the school record for over a quarter century. He was the most accurate kicker (.739) until being taken over in this category very recently. Carney’s 51 career field goals ranks 3rd all-time in Notre Dame history.
171. Ted Twomey, OT, Duluth, Minnesota (1928-29)
Noted as the toughest player on the 1929 National Championship team. Twomey was 2nd team All-American on a couple of services that year and one of Rockne’s best tackles.
170. Tyler Newsome, P, Carrollton, Georgia (2014-18)
A team captain as a punter. Set the single-game record for punting average against Vanderbilt in his final season. Left South Bend tied for first in school history in punting average.
169. Louis Nix, DT, Jacksonville, Florida (2010-13)
At his peak, one of the country’s best nose guards and shockingly nimble for an interior player pushing 350 pounds. Played just over 2.5 seasons due to injuries while leaving a year of eligibility behind. In his time, finished with 122 tackles and 14 tackles for loss while picking up some All-American love during the 2012 season.
168. Craig Hentrich, K, Alton, Illinois (1989-92)
Pulled double-duty as kicker and punter during a golden era of Irish football. Nearly automatic on PAT’s (he made 136 straight!) and still third all-time in career points for Notre Dame. His 1990 season featured the most field goal points in a season by any Irish kicker. Tied for the school record for punting average over a career.
167. Te’von Coney, LB, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (2015-18)
Lightly used as a freshman, Coney developed into a tackling machine later in his career. Combined back-to-back 100+ tackle seasons for 2017-18 and chipped in a respectable 23 tackles for loss over his time at Notre Dame. He picked up some All-American honors as a senior and leaves South Bend 10th in school history with 313 tackles.