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Notre Dame Football: 5 Players Headed For Breakout 2014 Seasons

Notre Dame Football: 5 Players Headed For Breakout 2014 Seasons

Notre Dame
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 season will mark the first that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish schedule will have more of an ACC look to it as opposed to a Big 10 feel. Brian Kelly's squad will have a very difficult schedule this year to navigate toward a quality bowl game. Two years removed from the National Championship game, the Irish will need to plug a few holes in 2014. Here are five players who could have breakout seasons for the Fighting Irish.

5. Cam McDaniel

Cam McDaniel
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

5. Cam McDaniel

Cam McDaniel
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

He may not have been No. 1 on the depth chart, but Cam McDaniel did lead the team in rushing last year. Tarean Folston could be the starter for the Irish this season, but look for McDaniel to also get a good chunk of the workload. He will have the most experience of the backfield candidates, and it could lead to a breakout year for the photogenic running back.

4. Jaylon Smith

Jaylon Smith
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

4. Jaylon Smith

Jaylon Smith
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

With the Irish losing several pieces on defense, the unit will need to have a few new key players step up and fill those holes. Jaylon Smith could be one of those guys at the linebacker position. With his workload likely to increase, look for Smith to improve on his 61 tackles from last season and possibly also garner All-American considerations in the process.

3. Ben Koyack

Ben Koyack
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

3. Ben Koyack

Ben Koyack
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Irish are a team that likes to incorporate the tight end position. They have developed a good track record of tight ends reaching the NFL. This year, Ben Koyack will step into that role. With question marks surrounding the wide receiver spot, look for Notre Dame to potentially lean on Koyack to make plays and move the chains, and have a big year in doing so.

2. Amir Carlisle

Amir Carlisle
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

2. Amir Carlisle

Amir Carlisle
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Irish could be faced with a ton of inexperience at the wide receiver spot. There is some uncertainty over whether senior DaVaris Daniels will be eligible to play this season. Junior Amir Carlisle could be one of the guys to step up and try to fill the void. After just seven grabs last year, somebody has to catch the ball out on the edge this year for Notre Dame.

1. Everett Golson

Everett Golson
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

1. Everett Golson

Everett Golson
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After missing a full year, Everett Golson returns for the Irish. Golson was the man under center during their National Championship run two seasons ago. After being ineligible for 2013, he returns ready to jump back into the fray in 2014. Golson is a guy who can make plays both with his arm and legs. If Notre Dame has any hopes of getting back to the big game, it will need Golson to carry the load and become the man on offense.

Nick Schaeflein is a Sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.

The Notre Dame football schedule features games against Purdue, Syracuse, Florida State and USC. The Fighting Irish will open their season on August 30 against the Rice Owls at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame went 9-4 last season. The team will play its first road game against Purdue on September 13. Their final game will be against USC on November 29.