If Notre Dame is going to build on last season's run to the national championship, it's going to need a few players from their excellent 2013 recruiting class to step up.
The Irish aren't in a desperate need for this help. They are returning 14 starters from a season ago. However, Notre Dame could use a boost from this class to become more explosive on offense and maintain its defensive dominance.
Here are three guys that could help them do just that.
Greg Bryant, RB
With Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood both leaving Notre Dame's backfield, the Irish could use stud recruit Greg Bryant to step up.
He is rated sixth among running backs in 247Sports' composite rankings. At 5'11", 196 pounds he has the body to take the abuse and run downhill. However, he still has quick feet and solid elusiveness with the speed to take it to the house.
George Atkinson III returns for the Irish, but he is the only returning back who received at least 50 carries.
The Irish need someone to emerge as a true lead back, and Bryant has the potential.
Hunter Bivin, OL
With both starting center Braxston Cave and right guard Mike Golic Jr. departing along the offensive line, the Irish could use Hunter Bivin to quickly acclimate to the college game.
Bivin has the versatility to play anywhere along the offensive line, and he certainly has the right attitude for it. This young man has a nasty streak on the field, and he knows how to finish off blocks.
Even as a true freshman, Bivin could handle the center position for the Irish, where he would be responsible for lining up his trench mates.
Bivin is the ninth-rated lineman in 247Sports' composite rankings. He has great technique for a kid coming out of high school and the strength to hang from Day 1.
Jaylon Smith, OLB
With both Danny Spond and Prince Shembo returning at outside linebacker for the Irish, they are not desperate for help at the position.
However, they could use the disruptive potential of Jaylon Smith. Shembo has the versatility to line up at end and is especially effective in pass-rushing situations.
Either way, it is going to be tough to keep Smith off the field. He is ranked as the second-best recruit in 247Sports' composite rankings.
Smith has the speed to be dominant coming off the edge. 247Sports credits him with a 4.44 40-yard dash.
If Smith can harness that potential next season, the Irish will have a fierce pass rush.
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