When looking at upcoming seasons, many people look at returning stars or popular player and position discussions. But I want to do something different. I want to try and predict breakthrough players of the year for Notre Dame Football. For this one, it is on the offensive side of the ball.
While everyone may be looking at Brandon Wimbush to have a breakout year, I’m eyeing someone different to step up and prove to be a key part of this Notre Dame Offense. His name is……. Chris Finke, Wide Receiver.
Chris Finke’s story is one that has become pretty well known around the Notre Dame community recently. He wasn’t heavily recruited and had to walk-on, wasn’t initially offered a scholarship, and he never really saw the field until recently. A perfect set-up for a Cinderella story, right? “Notre Dame’s newest rising star, Chris Finke” has a nice ring to it.
Now please note, I may be slightly biased in my pick because of the fact that he’s 5’9 and I’m 5’11 and he plays receiver and I play receiver. There’s a lot of similarities there but just one minor difference. He plays for Notre Dame, I play for a small college. For the record, I still think I could play for Notre Dame.
All joking aside, this guy has all the tools to be a key receiver for Notre Dame. Speed, agility, elusiveness, he can be a utility guy (do anything) and he has great feet and great capability of getting in and out of routes which, if you didn’t know, is a major factor in getting open for your quarterback.
After not seeing any action in 2015, Finke played in 10 games for the Fighting Irish in 2016 where he had 10 catches for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns. For someone who didn’t really start and see that much action, those numbers aren’t bad and you can only expect them to rise given more playing time, which I think he has earned.
Yes, I do know that it will be hard for him to see playing time and this whole article is predicated on him seeing the field more. With the likes of C.J Sander, Kevin Stepherson, Miles Boykin, and St. Brown, it could be difficult for him to get on the field. With that said, I think he is very capable of being as good as C.J Sanders from the slot position. Their skill sets are very similar.
Finke can run it from out wide, block in the run game and then obviously catch the ball when he is thrown too. So, if Chris Finke can find his way onto the field come September and the rest of the year, he will be a breakthrough player for Notre Dame on the offensive side of the ball.