Kyle Rudolph Notre Dame tight end
The Cincinnati native started all 13 games as a freshman last year, catching 29 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot-6, 260-pounder started off this season even hotter, with 13 catches in the first three games. But the last two games Rudolph has been nearly nonexistent. Coach Charlie Weis has noticed, saying Rudolph will be more of a focus today.
Kyle McCartney WSU safety
The 6-foot, 192-pound redshirt freshman has earned his teammates respect just by his play on special teams. So much respect, in fact, he is one of three captains for today’s game. Yes, he is just a redshirt freshman. McCartney rarely plays on defense, backing up junior Chima Nwachukwu at strong safety. But he’s made his mark – and impression – on the special teams. In the Cougars’ seven games, the walk-on from Edmonds, Wash., has six tackles, including four unassisted.
Manti Te`o Notre Dame linebacker
The Notre Dame defense has been an evolving unit since the opener, with only strong safety Kyle McCarthy starting every game in the same position. No one exemplifies that flux more than the 6-2, 244-pound freshman from Hawaii. Te’o was in and out of the starting lineup until the Washington game, where he announced his presence with 10 tackles.