With less than two weeks before spring practice, it’s almost time to get our first look at Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish. But before we get to that, here are a few notes from the weekend.
* Brady Quinn has been given a fresh start in Denver, and he’ll have a chance to play in a system that’s very similar to the one he thrived in under former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis. Quinn spent three seasons in Cleveland after the Browns traded their 2008 first-round pick to grab a sliding Quinn with the 22nd pick of the first round, but never really had a chance to play and thrive in an organization and system low on quality and high on disarray.
“It will be a fresh start for me and a great opportunity with a very talented team and it should be a lot of fun,” Quinn told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It’s a great opportunity for me to play under a great coach.”
Quinn will be reunited with former Irish teammate Ryan Harris in Denver, and will compete for the starting job with former Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton, who’s in his second season at Denver after being acquired by the Bears as part of the mega-trade that brought Jay Cutler to Chicago. Orton’s first season in Denver was respectable and he’ll likely go into training camp as the number one quarterback. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if Denver head coach Josh McDaniels gives Quinn every shot at winning the job, and picking up a potential starting quarterback for a sixth round pick and a fullback has to be considered a good move for the Broncos. Cleveland replaced Quinn and Derek Anderson with Jack Delhomme and Seneca Wallace this offseason. Only time will tell if those moves were good ones.
* While most Irish fans had long given up on signing him, blue-chip left tackle prospect Seantrel Henderson will officially sign with Southern Cal on Thursday. Henderson created news by announcing his intention to play for the Trojans on Signing Day, only to wait until the NCAA’s infractions committee met to conclude their investigation into wrongdoing in the USC athletic department.
Sean Henderson, Seantrel’s father, confirmed to multiple media outlets that Henderson will play for head coach Lane Kiffin next season. He also confirmed that his son received fully qualifying scores from his most recent ACT exam, another factor likely contributing to his delayed signing.
“We are definitely, 100-percent USC,” Sean Henderson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Henderson’s 6-foot-8, 330-pound frame would’ve come in handy in Brian Kelly’s new offensive attack, but it was clear that the bright lights of Los Angeles were always the allure to Henderson’s family.
* Lastly, congratulations to Mike Brey’s basketball team, who finished the regular season scorching hot and went from a team destined for the NIT to a six seed in the NCAA tournament. I now look forward to ruining my NCAA bracket by trying to find a way to get the Irish into the Final Four, and by picking every upset that doesn’t happen, while sleeping on the ones that actually do. I know it’s officially Spring when my NCAA bracket is a wash within the first week.