SOUTH BEND – Will C.J. Prosise take to the field at Notre Dame Stadium this coming fall?
Where will he be positioned on the field?
Ummmm, that remains to be seen.
The first-year Fighting Irish athlete has shown the ability since arriving on campus last year to be able to contribute to Brian Kelly's program in all three areas of play: special teams, defense and offense.
“I think that is just a continuation of evaluating the guys in your program,” Notre Dame passing coordinator Mike Denbrock said. “If you have a need at a certain position, you can't be afraid to put guys in spots where your football team becomes a little bit stronger.”
In the case of Prosise, those “spots” could include any number of wide receiver positions, as well as safety on defense. In the wake of punt returner Davontae Neal leaving the program last week, Prosise will also get a look at that position.
“He has really been a bright spot, these last few practices, in particular,” Denbrock said. “As he gets more and more comfortable in what we are asking him to do (offensively), there's a guy that has all of the tools to do something pretty good.”
Prosise is battling with guys like Matthias Farley, Nicky Baratti, Austin Collinsworth, Elijah Shumate, and the lsit goes on and on at the safety spot. The same can be said at receiver.
Most football fans might not expect to see a 6-foot-2, 208-pound slot receiver, but Denbrock said that is a very real possibility this fall. In the past, the Irish have employed smaller, faster players at that spot, but Prosise and senior Daniel Smith (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) are getting looks there this spring.
“It's incredibly important to have a guy there that has the versatility to both show some physicality, but also be able to do some things with quickness,” Denbrock said.
Denbrock explained that the fans and media shouldn't focus on who is playing in what specific spots. The Notre Dame coaches are simply looking for athletes to make plays, and the coaches will figure out the best way to utilize those players in a variety of fashion.
“You're going to see us – as we did a year ago – use a number of different guys, in a number of different spots,” Denbrock said. “We'll tailor what we do, at what the guys are good at performing at and what they are good at doing.”
Prosise is getting work at all of these jobs this spring, but ultimately, it will benefit him to focus on one side of the ball. Denbrock said that is a decision that will be left up to Kelly.
“That's a decision that will be made primarily by coach Kelly,” Denbrock said. “We'll sit down and talk about it. I'd love to have him as an offensive player. He brings a lot to the table and he can help us.”