Ranking The 6 Best Players On Notre Dame For 2016

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish narrowly missed out on a College Football Playoff berth last season, and they have every intention of competing for a national title again this year. For that to happen, they're going to need these guys to play up to their potential and lead the team. Here are Notre Dame's six best players for 2016:

6) WR Torii Hunter Jr.

Notre Dame is replacing Will Fuller, Chris Brown and Amir Carlisle in the receiving core, and Hunter looks like the one who's going to step up and become the team's go-to guy. The 6'0", 195-pounder has excellent speed and athleticism, but it's his incredible hands that make him a superstar in the making. Just look at this catch in the spring game:

If he keeps making plays like that, the Irish will have elite college receiver that will keep defensive coordinators up at night.

5) RB Josh Adams

Adams certainly proved his worth as a freshman last season. The 6'2", 220-pounder averaged over seven yards per carry as C.J. Prosise's backup, including a dominant 168-yard performance against Stanford. He will be Notre Dame's power-back in their two-back system this year, but don't let that fool you - Adams has deceptive speed, especially for his size.

4) OG Quenton Nelson

Nelson is has prototypical size for a guard, and should follow Ronnie Stanley's footsteps as a first-round pick next season. He can rotate between guard and tackle and is an absolutely devastating run blocker.

3) QB Malik Zaire

Zaire was good enough to take the starting job from Everett Golson, but after a season-ending injury suffered in Notre Dame's second game against Virginia last season, he is now battling DeShone Kizer for the job. The 6-0, 222-pound lefty is built sturdy as a house, runs with his nose to the grindstone, and is a true playmaker both on the run and in the pocket. While this high ranking is more indicative of his potential than his production so far, we have no doubt that he has both the tangibles and intangibles to get the job done.

2) RB Tarean Folston

Folston was supposed to be one of the best running backs in the country last season, but he suffered a torn ACL that caused him to miss all of 2015. At 5'9" and 215 lbs., he has an excellent combination of speed, quickness and power. He will split carries with Adams this year, but Folston has all the makings of a star.

1) QB DeShone Kizer

Kizer may have to compete with Malik Zaire for the starting job, but the redshirt freshman had a great season in relief after Zaire broke his leg in the second game of the season. A legitimate dual threat, Kizer repeatedly showed the poise, arm strength, accuracy, and decision-making ability that had him among the best quarterbacks in the country. Give him another offseason to develop and learn the offense, along with a relatively easy schedule for the Irish next year, and Kizer could find himself in the thick of the Heisman race.

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Related Topics: Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football, NCAA Football, Josh Adams, Malik Zaire, Torii Hunter Jr., Tarean Folston, Deshone Kizer, Quenton Nelson