Notre Dame Mid-Season Awards: Offensive Rookie of the Year, Mr. Reliable

Photo: Ryan Meyer/TNNDN

Notre Dame enters their by week ranked 16th in the AP Poll, and sporting a 5-1 record.

Given that we have some down time before the next Notre Dame football game (October 21st vs. USC), we thought it would be beneficial to reflect on the first half of the season and hand out some mid-season awards. We came up with nine different award categories, and then asked our staff to submit their nominees. This article will feature the first two award categories.

The first category is Offensive Rookie of the Year. This category isn’t limited to just freshmen. All players that were not significant contributors in past years are eligible. You could also look at this as a breakout player category.

The second category is “Mr. Reliable” on the offense. This award goes to the most consistent player on the Irish offense.

Here’s what our staff had to say:

Carlee North

Offensive ROY:
Deon McIntosh. With the injury bug seeming to hit the running back group every game, Deon has been huge for the Irish. No one expected it, seeing he was 4th on the depth chart and that was only because true freshman CJ Holmes had shoulder surgery during the off season. McIntosh has carried the ball 40 times and has 4 touchdowns, which is huge.

Offensive Mr. Reliable:
Josh Adams. My goodness has Adams been explosive half way through the season. He’s also missed a ton of time with small bruises here and there and still has over 800 all purpose yards. The Irish are relying on him to be a huge part of this offense and he hasn’t disappointed yet. He’s one guy the Irish can’t afford to lose with brutal schedule left. Stay healthy Adams, stay healthy.

Jason Pruitt

Offensive ROY:
Brandon Wimbush. You can argue about his passing accuracy, but I still love the kid. Brandon has the most rushing touchdowns on the team. He is knocking on the door of a record held by DeShone Kizer. He owns the record for most rushing yards by a quarterback. Easy pick.

Offensive Mr. Reliable:
Quenton Nelson/Mike McGlinchey. The best duo in college football easily wins this award. I believe a lot of the touchdowns from our backs have come off the left side of the line. Shocker. Nelson and McGlinchey combine for the best blocking I have ever seen. From pancaking defensive players and opening holes, the two are extremely versatile and reliable.

Kyler Cress

Offensive ROY:
Deon McIntosh. McIntosh is currently averaging 6 yards per carry. He has 239 yards on 40 carries and only has one less rushing TD than Josh Adams.

Offensive Mr. Reliable:
Equanimeous St. Brown. Even though he hasn’t been playing as well as last year, Wimbush has always been able to give him the ball deep, and knowing that he will catch it. EQ is averaging 15 yards per reception, with 2 TDs and 211 yards.

Sonny Martinez

Offensive ROY:
Chase Claypool. Claypool had only 5 catches last year, but wow, has he exploded onto the scene. Third on the team in catches and yards, becoming what appears to be the number two wideout in the process. I think things can only get better, too.

Offensive Mr. Reliable:
Mike McGlinchey/Quenton Nelson. How am I only supposed to pick one of these two? There’s a reason both are All-Americans. The left side of the line is constantly open, giving holes for the excellent running back group to explode through. I think they’re the anchor of the offense.

Nate Erbach

Offensive ROY:
Brandon Wimbush. Passing accuracy has been an issue, but there is no doubting his value to the team. He’s dynamic and only improving.

Offensive Mr. Reliable:
Quenton Nelson. A scout recently said Nelson is the best player he’s scouted for the upcoming draft through the first half the college football season. There’s a reason for the nickname, The Human Lie Detector. He’s as consistent as they come.

Jack Leniart

Offensive ROY:
Deon McIntosh. I have to admit I’m a bit biased here. Deon attended the same high school as I did, Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, FL). Still, this kid has earned my nomination for Offensive ROY through six games of the season. His production has allowed the coaching staff to feel comfortable resting their other running backs, who have all dealt with injuries early on. McIntosh already has 4 rushing touchdowns, and he has only two fewer carries than Dexter Williams and Tony Jones Jr. combined.

Offensive Mr. Reliable:
Quenton Nelson. I didn’t cheat by picking two players for this category like some of our other writers did (just kidding, guys). Offensive line play can be really tough to gauge sometimes; however, you don’t have know much about football to come to the conclusion that Quenton Nelson is a flat-out stud. He comes to play every Saturday and continues to prove why he is worthy of a high first-round draft pick.

Ben Belden

Offensive ROY:
This is a tough decision that comes down to the Deon McIntosh and Brandon Wimbush, in my opinion. Both of them have been pivotal players for the Irish. McIntosh may be the Irish’s second-best back this season, but he hasn’t played a major role in every game the way Wimbush has (with the exception of North Carolina, of course). All Wimbush has done is lead an offense that has run for 400+ yards twice and 300+ yards four times. Wimbush’s athleticism has had plenty to do with those numbers.

Offensive Mr. Reliable:
Quenton Nelson. Watch any Josh Adams big run play and you’ll see that more times than not, he’s sprung by a great block by Nelson. He’s just a guy that you don’t have to worry about. It’s pretty simple.

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