Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Tyrone Willingham is in his first year as coach of the Irish after heading Stanford University's program for seven seasons, where he compiled a record of 44-36-1 and led the team to four bowl games - including the Rose Bowl after the 1999 season. Willingham was the Minnesota Vikings' running backs coach for three seasons before moving on to the Cardinal coaching staff.
Center Jeff Faine
Jeff Faine earned All-American honors from Football News last season after starting all 11 games at center. The senior was named to this season's Rotary Lombardi Award watch list, after logging 604.42 minutes and 22 starts over the past two seasons. Faine was a USA Today first-team prep All-American as a senior at Seminole High School in Sanford, Florida.
Cornerback Shane Walton
Shane Walton has played in 30 games his first three seasons with the Irish, starting 21 of them. He led the team in minutes played last season (513.21) and passes defensed (8). He was third on the team in tackles with 83 and has recorded four career interceptions. A member of the Football News All-Independent team, the senior earned NBC/Chevrolet Notre Dame MVP honors against Navy last season.