Previewing 'The Echoes'

A dozen or so Notre Dame players will take home hardware Friday night at the team's awards banquet, which, for the second year in a row, is going by the name "The Echoes." (Just like the Grammys, or Emmys, or something.)

With that on the docket, we figure we can get a headstart here and take a peek into our magic crystal ball to look at who may be some of the lucky winners.

This is my third year on the Irish beat. The first awards show I covered had 12 awards, while the second had 17.

Among the constants: MVP, scout team players of the year (O and D), newcomers of the year (O and D), special teamer of the year, linemen of the year (O and D) and Next Man In, which Tommy Rees could receive for the third time in four years.

Zack Martin has won the offensive lineman award three years running, so I think that is likely the safest bet of the night. Unless, perhaps, he wins team MVP, in which case the lineman honor could go to one of his teammates, with Chris Watt probably having the best chances then. My pick for MVP would be TJ Jones.

Scout team honors are anyone's guess, considering we in the media have not seen a single minute of practice since the season started. Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt shared the defensive lineman award last year, something that could happen again. And you have to think Kyle Brindza repeating as special teamer of the year is a very real possibility as well.

Newcomers will also be interesting, though Jaylon Smith and Tarean Folston may have gained some breathing room in those races with their performances down the stretch.

There seem to be new awards every year, so there will be plenty of props to go around throughout the night. And I would be absolutely shocked if Danny Spond does not get some kind of honor, given the model that he has become for the program after all he had been through and given back to Notre Dame.

We have probably seen the last of Bob Diaco at these events, which is a shame, since, as many saw during his introductory press conference Thursday at UConn, he is usually the best-dressed man in the room. Matthias Farley rarely disappoints in that department, either. (Hey, there's a new award idea right there.)

What do you guys think? Shoot me your suggestions in the mailbag or on Twitter on those you believe are most deserving of credit at Notre Dame this year.