Notre Dame, with its storied history of gridiron success, has produced many NFL players over the years. It's much more difficult for Air Force players to make the next step because of the post-collegiate commitments the Falcons players must make. Here's a look at the current Notre Dame and Air Force players who could end up playing on Sundays:
Senior OT Jordan Black (6-5, 310) -- Possesses physical ability but needs to demonstrate more intensity. He has great raw talent and might be a better pro than collegian. I project him as a third- or fourth-round pick.
Junior CB/return man Vontez Duff (5-10½, 195) -- A good cover man, he matched up well against Michigan State WR Charles Rogers. With strong ball skills and excellent return skills, he has a good chance to be drafted in the early rounds.
Fourth-year junior C Jeff Faine (6-3, 300) -- One of the best centers in the country. He's tough and hard-nosed and might be drafted as high as the second round.
Sophomore RB Ryan Grant (6-0, 210) -- Possesses a good burst and runs decisively; had problems with fumbling last year but has improved this year. He has plenty of upside. Last year, when I asked former Irish coach Bob Davie about which of his young players had future star potential, the guy he mentioned was Grant.
Freshman WR Maurice Stovall (6-4, 205) -- Was heavily recruited out of high school and has shown flashes of star potential. A good natural athlete, he has great size and height. Like Grant, he has lots of upside.
Senior CB Shane Walton (5-10½, 185) -- Leads the team in interceptions. He has a nose for the ball and can make plays in coverage. He's a late-round possibility, but more likely an undrafted free agent.
Senior LB Courtney Watson (6-1, 230) -- He does a good job being around the ball. Also a late-round possibility, but more likely an undrafted free agent.
Senior CB Wes Crawley (6-0, 193) -- Leads the Mountain West with three picks as a key member of the Falcons' deep patrol. He has a chance to be signed as an undrafted free agent.
Junior Chance Harridge (5-11, 185) -- As Air Force's QB, he directs the triple-option, but he has no chance to be an NFL quarterback (lacks the size and arm strength). He might project as a pro running back or safety.
Junior OG Brett Huyser (6-4, 298) -- Assists the triple-option running game as an excellent run-blocker. He has quick feet and good balance and blocks well on the move. He will be a strong pro prospect with a chance to be drafted in the early rounds.
Senior RB Leotis Palmer (5-8, 179) -- A good change-of-pace spot back, he has good receiving skills and averages 11 yards per punt return. He also has a chance to be signed as an undrafted free agent.
Sophomore LB Anthony Schlegel (6-2, 244) -- Leads the team with 52 tackles, which is 22 more than any other Falcon. A one-man wrecking crew, he is Air Force's best pro prospect.