While Notre Dame has some questions at the wide receiver position heading into the 2013 season, the same cannot be said of several Fighting Irish opponents. The Irish are still searching for "that guy" after Michael Floyd's exit to the NFL after the 2011 season, but Notre Dame will see its share of top notch receivers this season.
Marqise Lee - USC
Lee is considered the marquee receiver in the nation heading into the season. The junior already owns or shares 22 USC records after just two seasons and is already projected to go very early in next year's NFL Draft.
Lee was named the Pac-12 Co-Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2011 when he had 73 receptions for 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also averaged 28.5 yards on kickoff returns that season.
The 6-foot, 195 pound Inglewood, Calif native went to another lever in 2012 when he recorded 118 catches for 1,721 yards and 13 TDs. His efforts earned him the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver. He is also considered one of the top blocking receivers in the nation and also qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships this spring in the long jump.
A 62-reception season in 2013 will make Lee USC's all-time leader in that department. He will also try to become the first Trojan to ever have three 1,000 yard receiving seasons (he is currently tied with Keyshawn Johnson, Keary Colbert, Dwayne Jarrett, and Mike Williams with two).
Cody Hoffman - BYU
While Lee is a practical lock to go early in the first round of next year's draft, Hoffman could easily find himself being a late first round selection. The senior was projected as a late second to early third round pick had he opted for the NFL this year, but he decided to return to Provo instead for his fifth year of eligibility.
Hoffman enters 2013 with a 32-game reception streak. He reeled-in 100 catches for 1,248 yards, both second in BYU single-season history, and caught 11 touchdowns last season. Five of those scores came in a 182-yard receiving day against New Mexico State.
The 6-foot-4, 215 pound Hoffman is bigger than Lee, but he possesses neither the speed nor overall athleticism as the USC receiver. Hoffman redshirted as a freshman in 2009 and then totaled 103 receptions for 1,470 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2010 and 2011 combined. He had eight receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown in Notre Dame's 17-14 win over the Cougars last October.
Jalen Saunders - Oklahoma
Saunders is an interesting case who has put up big numbers at two different stops in his college career. The senior earned All-WAC honors at Fresno State in 2011 after totaling 50 receptions for 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns that season. His 21.3 yards per catch were even second in the nation in Pat Hill's pro-style offense.
Hill was fired after that season though and Saunders decided to transfer to Oklahoma after spending the 2012 season as a possession slot receiver in current Fresno head coach Tim DeRuyter's spread offense.
"It was the way I was being used in the slot," Saunders said of the reason for his departure from Fresno. "The offense wasn't for me."
The 5-foot-9, 175 pound receiver found a place in Oklahoma's offense after sitting the first five games of last season to fulfill his transfer obligations. He finished the season with 62 catches for 829 yards and three touchdowns in 2012. His numbers translate to roughly 90 receptions and 1,200 yards over a full season.
Saunders' breakthrough game last fall came in his second game of the season when he totaled 15 receptions for 181 yards against Notre Dame. He set a school record with eight of those receptions in the first quarter in ND's 30-13 victory.
Devin Street - Pittsburgh
Street is another top receiver on the Fighting Irish schedule who stands to leave his school as a record holder. That's saying something considering Pitt has produced Biletnikoff Award winners Larry Fitzgerald and Antonio Bryant. Street needs 28 receptions and 1,028 yards this season to become Pitt's all-time leader in both departments.
The 6-foot-4, 190 pound senior redshirted in 2009 and is back for his fifth year in the Steel City. He had 73 receptions for 975 yards and five touchdowns, all career-highs, in 2012. Street has 151 career catches for 2,047 yards and nine touchdowns in his first three seasons on the field. He had three receptions for 35 yards in Notre Dame's 29-26 triple overtime win over the Panthers last season.
Jeremy Gallon - Michigan
Gallon is the third player on this list who redshirted in 2009 and who is now back for his fifth season of eligibility. The Apopka, Fla native had 49 receptions for 829 yards and four touchdowns last season to set new career-high marks across the board while earning All-Big Ten honors. His 16.9 yards per catch was also a career-best.
The 5-foot-8, 187 pound senior has 84 catches for 1,331 yards and eight career touchdowns to his credit. Most of that production has come in his last two seasons after catching just four passes for 49 yards in 2010. Gallon's 64-yard reception set up Michigan's game-winning touchdown against Notre Dame two years ago in Ann Arbor, but the Irish held him to 33 yards on three catches in last year's win.
Gallon ended his 2012 season on the upswing by setting career highs in receptions (9), yards (145) and touchdown catches (2) in Michigan's Jan. 1 33-28 Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina.