That's just about enough out of you, Tom Reynolds


So… the billboard. (Sigh.)

Here’s where we left off. A mysterious billboard popped up earlier in the week, strategically placed above the popular bar, The ‘Backer. The billboard featured a pretty decent (actually good, but I’m not really willing to give the guy credit after learning the backstory) zinger at Charlie Weis, replacing the word “tenure” with “internship.”

At first the billboard company played mum, not willing to comment on the purchaser of the controversial advertisement that rests in the shadow of Notre Dame stadium. But it didn’t take long for Tom Reynolds to come forward and stake his claim as the man behind the billboard.

Then we got to find out more about Tom Reynolds. Not only was he not a fan of Michigan or Southern Cal or Boston College or somewhere you’d think would, you know, take a potshot at the head coach of Notre Dame. He was a former Notre Dame football player and someone who spent time on the faculty of the university as well.

That alone is treason, right?

But Reynolds then had to get all uppity. He had to flash his vocabulary, speak cringe inducing words like “my university,” “thus,” and quote an unabridged dictionary. Or basically reinforce about a thousand different negative stereotypes that get leveled daily when ripping Notre Dame people.

Tom, we already make it hard enough on ourselves with Touchdown Jesus, Rudy, Lou Holtz, and the tradition that we might sometimes flaunt. Now we’ve got you trying to prove a point about the team that you allegedly care about?

But now the story gets even more interesting.

Thursday evening, a new billboard replaced Reynolds’ pulpit. This one promoted the U.S. Marine Corps. Like a true idealist, Tom Reynolds wasn’t worried about his money (I’m sure he’ll tell us he’s got plenty). He decided to go all founding fathers on us.

“What Burkhart Advertising took away from me is far more valuable,” Reynolds told the South Bend Tribune. “They took away my freedom of speech. And Notre Dame pressured them to do it.

Reynolds will not be stopped. He still plans on marketing and selling t-shirts with his Linebacker Alumni comments, hoping to create a groundswell of support.

“We’d like to have a sea of green,” Reynolds said.

(Probably won’t be hard, considering green is a pretty popular color among Irish fans, Tom.)

Apparently Reynolds met with Burkhart executives Thursday morning, who urged him to volunteer to take the billboard down.

“I told them that I’d think about it,” Reynolds told the Tribune. “But before I had a chance to think about it, they called me back and told me they were taking it down. I can tell you the university is behind this. And it’s hypocritical. It was a light-hearted message. The university should be bigger than that.”

Reynolds was indignant.

“All I’ll say… is this isn’t the end of this.”

Tom, we’re in the middle of a recession. The nation’s trying to figure out health care. We’re fighting wars overseas, we’ve got people all around the globe dying of hunger, disease, and genocide, and to top it off the polar ice caps are melting, and you’re fighting the fight for your billboard?

If Notre Dame flexed their muscles? Good. That’s what they should do. Flex your muscles when someone who supposedly loves his university tries to lecture the masses with his superior intellect, and parade his opinion above all of us for 12 straight weeks of alumni, students, recruits, and fans visiting campus. And if Burkhart media caved to some pressure? Smart move. I can tell you what, the University of Notre Dame and it’s multi-billion dollar endowment will be buying more outdoor advertising than Tom Reynolds could ever dream of, and there is no way to build good will in a community that’s 95% behind Notre Dame than to be complicit with a yahoo like Reynolds.

Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. Here’s hoping that we don’t have to hear Tom Reynolds’ anymore.

Kizer named MVP at annual ECHOES awards

@NDFootball Twitter

DeShone Kizer was named the Monogram Club’s Most Valuable Player for the 2016 season at the 96th annual Notre Dame football awards banquet. Kizer was voted team MVP by his teammates, after throwing for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushing for 472 yards and eight scores.

He was one of 15 players honored with an award at the “ECHOES,” with the following accolades being given:

Equanimeous St. Brown, Offensive Player of the Year.
James Onwualu, Defensive Player of the Year
Greer Martini, Next Man In award
Drue Tranquill, Rockne Student-Athlete Award
Cole Luke, Nick Pietrosante Award
Isaac Rochell, Lineman of the Year
Quenton Nelson, Offensive Lineman of the Year
Scott Daly, Special Teams Player of the Year
Alex Bars, Newcomer of the Year, Offense
Nyles Morgan, Newcomer of the Year, Defense
Ben Stuttman, Scout Team Player of the Year, Offense
Jonathan Jones, Scout Team Player of the Year, Defense
Mark Harrell, Father Lange Iron Cross
Tyler Newsome, Irish Around the Bend



Notre Dame names 7 captains for 2017 team

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 17: Quenton Nelson #56 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates after a 10-yard touchdown reception by Corey Robinson against the USC Trojans in the fourth quarter of the game at Notre Dame Stadium on October 17, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Notre Dame named seven captains for the 2017 season, the most to wear the ‘C’ in school history. Quarterback DeShone Kizer, linebackers Greer Martini and Nyles Morgan, offensive linemen Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson, safety Drue Tranquill and walk-on receiver Austin Webster were all given the honor.

McGlinchey returns in the role, the 22nd different two-time captain in the program’s history. New to the job are the rest, including Kizer, who has yet to make a decision on if he’ll return for 2017 yet.

After worries about the team’s leadership heading into the 2016, the naming of captains in the immediate aftermath of the season is a change—Brian Kelly not naming his team’s official leaders into August training camp last year. It’s not an unprecedented move for Kelly (he named Harrison Smith and Michael Floyd team captains at the banquet following the 2010 season), though it points to some changes—some subtle, others not—that’ll likely take hold after a four-loss season.

Webster, a rising senior reserve wide receiver from California who has yet to register a stat in a Notre Dame uniform, made his debut as a sophomore in 2015 against UMass, is the first active walk-on to receive the honor.


Irish land blue-chip OL Aaron Banks

Tom Loy, Irish 247

Notre Dame received the commitment of 4-star offensive tackle Aaron Banks on Friday afternoon. Picking the Irish over a national offer list that included Michigan, Tennessee, and local programs USC and UCLA, the 6-foot-7, 335-pound Banks reminded all that even if the Irish only won four games this season, Harry Hiestand is still one of the premier offensive line coaches in the country.

Banks made the commitment from a ceremony at his high school in El Cerrito, California. And when he picked the Irish, he added to Notre Dame’s impressive offensive line haul, joining Dillan Gibbons, Joshua Lugg and Robert Hainsey — a key piece of the puzzle moving forward.

Banks is a consensus 4-star recruit and a Top 200 prospect. He took an official visit to Michigan in November, but has been a long-time target of Hiestand’s, visiting South Bend in September and welcoming Brian Kelly and Hiestand into his home after the USC game.

As a big recruiting weekend gets started at Notre Dame, the annual Echoes Awards will serve as the beginning of an important home stretch for a program without a bowl game. As Kelly still looks to lock in a defensive coordinator, not to mention other staff changes still in the air, Banks takes back some of the lost momentum, a key commitment heading into a holiday dead period before a furious finish leading into the first Wednesday in February.

Banks is No. 18 in the Irish recruiting class. He’s an early-enrollee, ready to hit campus within weeks and compete on the interior of the offensive line during spring ball.

Zaire says thank you to Notre Dame

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - SEPTEMBER 12: Quarterback Malik Zaire #8 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish rushes past defensive end Mike Moore #32 of the Virginia Cavaliers in the third quarter at Scott Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish won, 34-27. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Big week for The Observer. Not just for its advertising revenues, but for the classy gesture that outgoing senior quarterback Malik Zaire made this week.

Thursday’s edition included a letter to the editor from Zaire, who took to the student newspaper not to make headlines around the internet, but rather to thank the university for his experience in South Bend.

While Zaire’s time at Notre Dame is drawing to a close, he will leave as a proud alum. So while he’ll play football next season at another university, Zaire wrote the following in Thursday’s issue:

Dear Notre Dame students and staff,

My life changed for the better the moment I stepped onto the University of Notre Dame’s beautiful campus. The one goal I had set in my mind to achieve was to become a better man, a Notre Dame man. After growing through many trials and triumphs, the thing I’ve learned most from my experience was that if you don’t believe in yourself first, then no one else will. I believed in becoming a better man and succeeding through any circumstance, and I can say that I’ve truly accomplished that. I often refer to the famous quote from the movie “Catch Me If You Can” that was well put by Frank Abagnale:

“Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out.”

I’ve put my heart, soul and passion into the University, the football program, the South Bend community and the Irish community worldwide. I have the unbelievable honor to represent this University to the fullest as a student and soon-to-be alumni. Thank you to the amazing students and staff that I’ve met through the years for helping me grow into the person I’ve always wanted to be. I love the Irish and will always be an Irish alum no matter where I go! I look forward to keeping in touch. Let’s change the world!

Go Irish!

Malik Zaire

Dec. 7

Zaire is expected to compete for a starting quarterback job next year as a graduate transfer. He’s reportedly taken a visit to Wisconsin and plans to visit North Carolina as well, just two of several programs on the radar as Zaire looks to step in and win a starting Power 5 job.