A school-record 14 freshman football recruits enrolled early this spring semester that enabled them to be part of winter conditioning and then spring drills that commence tomorrow (Saturday, March, 27).

Here is a quick look at the numbers they have been assigned, and who were the best and/or most famous at their position with that number:

Former quarterback and now offensive offensive coordinator Tommy Rees started 31 games under Brian Kelly.
Former quarterback and now offensive offensive coordinator Tommy Rees started 31 games under Brian Kelly. (Matt Cashore/USA TODAY Sports)


Ron Powlus III — 11

Best QB: Current offensive coordinator Tommy Rees was No. 13 as a freshman but switched to 11 the next season. He was 23-8 as a starter and passed for 7,670 yards and 61 touchdowns, fourth and third, respectively, on the all-time Irish chart.

Famous Note: Right guard Noble Kizer was one of the famous Seven Mules for the 1924 national champs, and then in the 1930s he led Purdue to two Big Ten titles as head coach.

Tyler Buchner — 12

Best QB: Ian Book just finished his career with the most victories as a Notre Dame starting QB (31), the second-most passing yards (8,948) and the second-most rushing yards by a signal-caller (1,517).

Famous Note: Tailback/flanker Ricky Watters (1987-90) was the starting flanker for the 1988 national champs before rushing for 10,643 yards in the NFL, making him a Pro Football Hall of Fame candidate.


Lorenzo Styles Jr. — 21

Best WR: In 2002, Maurice Stovall had a marvelous senior year with 69 catches to become a third-round selection.

Famous Note: Safety/cornerback Bobby Taylor (1992-94) was the best to don the jersey, receiving All-America notice before becoming a second-round pick as a junior and future Pro Bowl player.

Tight Ends

Cane Berrong — 80

Best TE: During a 12-1 season in 2012, senior Tyler Eifert won the Mackey Award and became a first-round selection. His 140 career catches are the most by a Fighting Irish tight end.

Famous Note: In his time at Notre Dame from 1957-59, Monty Stickles (1957-59) was the equal to Eifert. The two-time All-American (consensus in 1959) also became a first-round pick who caught more than 200 passes in the NFL.

Mitchell Evans — 88

Best TE: Second-round pick Anthony Fasano (2003-05) caught 92 passes at Notre Dame (47 as a senior) and played 12 years in the NFL, snaring 299 passes, 36 for scores.

Famous Note: Defensive lineman Mike Fanning, the No. 9 pick in the 1975 NFL Draft, started for the 1973 national champs.

Offensive Linemen

Rocco Spindler — 50

Best OL: Tie between two-year starters Norm Nicola (1962-64) at center and Dan Santucci (2004-06) at guard.

Famous Note: The most famous 50 at Notre Dame is College Football Hall of Fame nose tackle Chris Zorich (1988-90), but another national champion/captain and second-round pick was linebacker Greg Collins (1972-74).

Blake Fisher — 54

Best OL: Center George Goeddeke (1964-66) started for the national champs as a senior and played six years in the NFL.

Famous Notes: Former walk-on center Mike Oriard (1967-69) was a captain his senior year, and left tackle Luke Petitgout (1994-98) became a first-round pick.

Caleb Johnson — 72

Best OL: Bill “Moose” Fischer won the 1948 Outland Trophy as a guard and is in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Famous Note: Defensive tackle Mike Kadish (1969-71) joined Fischer as the lone first-round picks to wear this number.

Defensive Linemen

Devin Aupiu — 44

Best DL: From Alabama, Justin Tuck (2001-04) was a stalwart end who also starred for two Super Bowl champions while with the New York Giants.

Famous Note: Game-breakers Thom Gatewood (1969-71) at receiver and Eric Penick at running back (1972-74) wore this six straight years.

Will Schweitzer — 48

Best DL: For the 1973 national champs, Jim Stock (1972-74) started at end. In his career he recorded 41 tackles for loss and recovered 11 fumbles.

Famous Notes: The first Heisman Trophy winner at Notre Dame was Angelo Bertelli (1941-43), and fullback Neil Worden (1951-53) also was a top-10 NFL pick.

Gabe Rubio — 97

Best DL: From 1990-93, Bryant Young was a dominant force up front for the Fighting Irish, who went 21-2-1 his last two seasons and won 17 straight games.

Famous Note: Young became Notre Dame’s best defensive player in the NFL the past 40 years.

Defensive Backs

Ryan Barnes — 15

Best DB: After switching from wide receiver, Pat Terrell (1986-89) became a superb free safety for the 1988 national champs, immortalizing himself versus No. 1 Miami en route to becoming a second-round selection.

Famous Note: As a senior in 1993, quarterback Kevin McDougal became the program’s career pass efficiency leader. Cornerback Allen Rossum (1994-97) then set an NCAA record for most career touchdown returns of kicks, punts or interceptions with nine (three apiece).

Justin Walters — 20

Best DB: Perhaps the best all-around defensive back in school history was Luther Bradley, who started as a freshman safety for the 1973 national champs and was a consensus All-American at corner for the 1977 national champs. His 17 career interceptions are a school record.

Famous Note: Running back Allen Pinkett’s 53 career touchdowns from 1982-85 were the fourth most in NCAA history at the time, and still the school record.

Philip Riley — 25

Best DB: Best known for his late TD at Oklahoma in 1957 that ended the Sooners’ record 47-game winning streak, Dick Lynch (1955-57) was also a superb defender. During an eight-year career with the New York Giants, Lynch twice led the NFL in interceptions and recorded 37 in his career en route to All-Pro honors.

Famous Note: This has become the traditional “speed” number at Notre Dame, beginning with running back Al Hunter for the 1973 national champs and reaching its crescendo with the peerless Raghib “Rocket” Ismail for the 1988 national champs. As a junior he would win the Walter Camp Award and finish second in the Heisman.


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