Ranking Notre Dame's top 25 football players

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Who are the best football players on Notre Dame's 2015 roster?

That's the question Keith Arnold of NBC Sports posed to members of the Notre Dame football media and blogosphere. More specifically, he asked us to rank the top 25 players heading into the 2015 season.

That is the only rule. It's up to us to decide whether we want to rank the players based on NFL potential, overall talent or some other calculation. On my list, I tried to rank the players based on value to the team this season. At the top of my list? Linebacker Jaylon Smith just ahead of offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley.

Below is my complete list. The group of 11 panelists combined to make an overall ranking here.

A few observations comparing my list to the consensus:

I was the highest on defensive end Isaac Rochell at No. 8. To me, he's behind only Sheldon Day on Notre Dame's defensive line. He finished No. 14 on the combined list. Three of us ranked Corey Robinson the highest at No. 13. He was slated No. 17 overall.

I was the lowest on defensive tackle Jarron Jones at No. 17. Jones has had promising moments for the Irish, but his return from injury and need to be more consistent slid him down my list. He was ranked No. 11 by the group. Five of us left wide receiver Chris Brown (No. 19 overall) off the list.

Wide receiver Amir Carlisle (No. 25) was the only player I ranked who didn't make the composite list. With Prosise moving into the backfield, Carlisle will have ample opportunity to impact the game. His ability to stay healthy will likely dictate if he reaches that potential.

Defensive tackle Jerry Tillery was the only freshman to make my list. Tight end Alizé Jones and kicker Justin Yoon just missed the cut.

These lists were compiled before running back Greg Bryant's season-long suspension was announced. I ranked him No. 19 and he finished No. 24 overall.

What would your list look like?

1. LB Jaylon Smith

2. OT Ronnie Stanley

3. DT Sheldon Day

4. WR Will Fuller

5. CB KeiVarae Russell

6. RB Tarean Folston

7. C Nick Martin

8. DE Isaac Rochell

9. RB CJ Prosise

10. CB Cole Luke

11. LB Joe Schmidt

12. S Max Redfield

13. WR Corey Robinson

14. QB Malik Zaire

15. OG Steve Elmer

16. OT Mike McGlinchey

17. DT Jarron Jones

18. LB Nyles Morgan

19. RB Greg Bryant

20. OG Quenton Nelson

21. TE Durham Smythe

22. DT Jerry Tillery

23. S Elijah Shumate

24. DB Matthias Farley

25. WR Amir Carlisle

Notre Dame's Ronnie Stanley, right, walks off the field with teammate Jaylon Smith following Notre Dame's victory over Rice on Aug. 30, 2014. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)