While we’ve got the next six months to continue analyzing recruiting, defensive alignments, and 2011 targets, let’s clean out the links for the week and follow up on some items missed.
* Some of the biggest news out of yesterday’s Signing Day press conference was the health update on Dayne Crist.
“I think he’s well ahead (of schedule),” Kelly said. “My goal right now, and I don’t think I’m putting Jim Russ in jeopardy at all, I think he’s going to be able to partake in virtually everything but contact. Nobody will get in his ZIP code, but you’re going to see a lot of him in the spring.”
This is obviously good news for everybody, and the Irish pushed Spring Practice back as late as they could to get Crist as many reps as possible. With Nate Montana back from his stint at Juco football, and Tommy Rees spending his first semester at Notre Dame, it’ll be good to get Crist as close to live reps as possible, as spring installation will be a crucial part of the Irish’s transformation.
* On the subject of injuries, only Kyle Rudolph, Theo Riddick and Brandon Walker are limited in offseason training. Rudolph was obviously setback with the shoulder injury that ruined the tail end of his season, but Riddick also had shoulder surgery, which went a little bit under the radar. Meanwhile, kicker Brandon Walker, an afterthought with the emergence of freshman kicker Nick Tausch, is battling a very serious back injury, which could put an end to his football career.
* Moving on to off the field issues, Kelly was quite succinct on the subject of Michael Floyd and his underage drinking ticket.
“It’s been adjudicated, I can tell you that for sure,” Kelly said.
When asked about any disciplinary actions the school took, Kelly stayed mum.
“He informed me as to what it is. It’s been adjudicated, he’s working out with our team today. We’re moving forward.”
For those of you that reached for the dictionary, adjudicated means that Res Life has meet, a punishment has been doled out, and Michael Floyd remains on the football team, which is the proper punishment for a 20-year-old kid who had booze on his breath after a house party dust-up.
* A couple quick notes on some recruits the Irish missed on:
Ego Ferguson, the Hargrave Military Academy defensive end who had the Irish in his finalists would be a member of the Irish if he listened to his father.
“We were up until two in the morning last night debating this,” Ego Ferguson Sr. told Fanhouse’s John Walters. “I wanted him to go to Notre Dame, but he said, ‘Dad it’s too cold.'”
Ferguson ended up signing with LSU, and the Irish just missed on an elite defensive end target.
* Seantrel Henderson’s recruiting saga hasn’t ended, but don’t expect the Irish to claw back into this one. Henderson’s final decision didn’t come down to Ohio State and USC like many reported, but Miami and the Trojans. Henderson was absolutely smitten with the Hurricanes after a weekend in South Beach hanging with his idol Bryant McKinnie, and other Miami alums like Willis McGahee and Ed Reed. The decision was so close that when Henderson texted his high school basketball coach just minutes before he made his decision on-air with Tom Lemming on CBS College Sports TV, he sent back only one word: “MIAMI.”
According to the New York Times story, of Henderson’s six finalists, only Florida and Notre Dame didn’t send him a Letter-of-Intent to fax back with his signature. Florida never sent theirs because Henderson and the Gator coaching staff never truly hit it off. Notre Dame likely pulled out of the sweepstakes in the final week, when it was clear that he wasn’t interested in pursuing a Notre Dame. Expect Henderson to spend two-and-a-half years in college, before preparing for the next level of play. Not exactly the kind of athlete Notre Dame usually recruits.
* While 2009 was a tough year on the gridiron, it was also a tough year on the Notre Dame endowment. While they didn’t take the beating that Harvard did, the Irish endowment shrunk 20.8 percent in 2009, cutting the figure to $5.5 billion. Institutionally, that isn’t actually all that bad compared to the market and other universities, so consider it the equivalent of going 6-6 and skipping a bowl game.