Rosters set for the Blue-Gold Game

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Notre Dame released the rosters for tomorrow’s Blue-Gold Game, with both squads featuring a number of starters.

The Blue team features Michael Floyd, Armando Allen, Kyle Rudolph, Dayne Crist on offense and Gary Gray, Jamoris Slaughter, Anthony McDonald, Brian Smith, and Ethan Johnson on defense.

The Gold team will feature Nate Montana, Shaq Evans, Duval Kamara, and Robert Hughes on offense, while the defense will have Darren Walls, Manti Te’o, Robert Blanton, Darius Fleming, Kapron Lewis-Moore, and Ian Williams.

There are a number of players that’ll see time on both rosters.

For the complete rosters, see below:

BLUE TEAM
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Class* Hometown/High
School
3 Floyd, Michael WR 6-3 220 Jr. St. Paul, MN/Cretin-Derham
Hall
4 Gray, Gary CB 5-11 190 Sr. Columbia, SC/Richland
Northeast
5 Allen, Armando TB 5-10 201 Sr. Opa Locka,
FL/Hialeah-Miami Lakes
7 Jones, TJ WR 5-11 185 Fr.
Gainesville, GA/Gainesville
9 Rudolph, Kyle TE 6-6 265 Jr.
Cincinnati, OH/Elder
10 Crist, Dayne QB 6-4 235 Jr. Canoga
Park, CA/Notre Dame
17 Motta, Zeke S 6-2 210 So. Vero Beach,
FL/Vero Beach
17 Mulvey, M. QB 6-2 191 Jr. Del Mar,
CA/LaJolla
19 Toma, Roby WR 5-9 175 So. Laie, HI/Punahou
20
Wood, Cierre TB 6-0 210 So. Oxnard, CA/Santa Clara
21 Gallup
Jr., Barry WR 5-11 185 Sr. Wellesley, MA/Belmont Hill
23 Wood, Lo
CB 5-10 175 Fr. Apopka, FL/Apopka
26 Slaughter, J. S
6-0 195 Jr. Stone Mountain, GA/Tucker
27 Banks, E.J. CB 5-11
180 So. Pittsburgh, PA/Montour
29 Coughlin, P. TB 6-0 195 Sr.
Oak Lawn, IL/Brother Rice
30 Paskorz, Steve ILB 6-1 245 Sr. Allison
Park, PA/Hampton
30 Redshaw, James CB 5-9 175 Sr. North Huntingdon,
PA/Norwin
33 Salvi, Chris+ S 5-10 180 Jr. Lake Forest,
IL/Carmel Catholic
35 Turk, Ben P 5-11 196 So. Davie, FL/St.
Thomas Aquinas
36 Posluszny, David ILB 6-0 225 Jr. Aliquippa,
PA/Hopewell
39 Sheehan, Ryan+ CB 5-10 177 Sr. Purcellville,
VA/Loudown Valley
40 Smith, Thomas+ S 6-1 215 Sr. Manchester, CT/East
Catholic
48 Fox, Dan OLB 6-3 230 So. Rocky River, OH/St.
Ignatius
48 Ruffer, David+ K 6-1 176 Sr. Oakton, VA/Gonzaga
51
Wenger, Dan C 6-4 297 Sr. Coral Springs, FL/Saint Thomas Aquinas
54
McDonald, A. ILB 6-2 230 Jr. Burbank, CA/Notre Dame
56 Neal, Kerry
OLB 6-2 244 Sr. Bunn, NC/Bunn
57 Golic Jr., Mike C 6-3 283 Jr.
West Hartford, CT/Northwest Catholic
58 Smith, Brian OLB 6-3
234 Sr. Overland Park, KS/Saint Thomas Aquinas
60 Cowart, Jordan LS
6-2 215 So. Plantation, FL/St. Thomas Aquinas
62 Flavin, Bill+
OC/LS 6-3 260 Sr. Darien, IL/Benet Academy
63 Botsford, Steve+ DE
6-2 220 Sr. Arlington Heights, IL/St. Viator
71 Mahoney, D.
OT 6-7 289 Jr. Baltimore, MD/Boys Latin High School
75 Dever, Taylor
OT 6-5 301 Sr. Nevada City, CA/Nevada Union
77 Romine, Matt
OT 6-5 298 Sr. Tulsa, OK/Union
78 Robinson, Trevor OG 6-5 300 Jr.
Elkhorn, NE/Elkhorn
80 Eifert, Tyler TE 6-6 240 So. Fort
Wayne, IN/Bishop Dwenger
81 Goodman, John WR 6-3 205 Jr. Fort Wayne,
IN/Bishop Dwenger
86 Burger, Bobby+ FB/TE 6-2 245 Sr. Cincinnati,
OH/LaSalle
90 Johnson, Ethan DE 6-4 280 Jr. Portland, OR/Lincoln
91
Nwankwo, Emeka DE 6-4 280 Sr. N. Miami Beach, FL/Chaminade-Madonna Prep
92
Stockton, Tyler NG 6-0 290 So. Linwood, NJ/Hun School
98 Cwynar,
Sean DE 6-4 281 Jr. McHenry, IL/Marian Central Catholic

GOLD TEAM
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Class* Hometown/High
School
1 Walker, Deion WR 6-3 195 Jr. Christchurch, VA/Christchurch
2
Walls, Darrin CB 6-0 185 Sr. Pittsburgh, PA/Woodland Hills
5
Te’o, Manti ILB 6-2 250 So. Laie, HI/Punahou
6 Boyd, Spencer
CB 5-10 175 Fr. Cape Coral, FL/Cape Coral
11 Evans, Shaquelle WR 6-1
205 So. Inglewood, CA/Inglewood
12 Blanton, Robert CB 6-1 190 Jr.
Matthews, NC/Butler
13 Rees, Tommy QB 6-2 200 Fr. Lake Forest,
IL/Lake Forest
14 Walker, Brandon K 6-3 210 Sr. Findlay, OH/Findlay
15
Castello, Brian+ QB 6-2 210 Sr. Pittsburgh, PA/Chartiers Valley
15
McCarthy, Dan S 6-2 205 Jr. Youngstown, OH/Cardinal Mooney
16
Montana, Nate+ QB 6-4 215 Jr. Concord, CA/De La Salle
18 Kamara,
Duval WR 6-4 220 Sr. Jersey City, NJ/Hoboken
22 Smith, Harrison S 6-2
212 Sr. Knoxville, TN/Knoxville Catholic
24 Badger, Chris S 6-0 195
Fr. Provo, UT/Timpview
25 Gray, Jonas TB 5-10 225 Jr.
Pontiac, MI/Detroit Country Day
27 Herlihy, Derry+ TB 6-0 198 Sr.
Houston, TX/St. John’s
29 Garcia, Michael+ S 6-2 195 Sr. Colorado
Springs, CO/St. Mary’s
32 Riddick, Theo WR 5-11 190 So. Manville,
NJ/Immaculata
33 Hughes, Robert TB/FB 5-11 245 Sr. Chicago,
IL/Hubbard
35 Plaska, Andrew+ CB 5-11 185 Jr. Zeeland, MI/Zeeland
West
36 Kramer, Pat+ P 5-11 160 Jr. Akron, OH/Archbishop Hoban
38
Gurries, C.+ WR 5-10 186 Sr. Reno, NV/Bishop Manoque
40
Tausch, Nick K 6-0 190 So. Plano, TX/Jesuit
42 Franco, Dan+
WR 5-10 188 Sr. Granger, IN/Clay
42 Lezynski, Nick+ CB 5-9 180 Sr.
Newton, PA/Notre Dame High School
44 Calabrese, Carlo ILB 6-1 245 So.
Verona, NJ/Verona
45 Fleming, Darius OLB 6-2 245 Jr. Chicago, IL/St.
Rita
46 Filer, Steve OLB 6-3 235 Jr. Chicago, IL/Mount
Carmel
50 Kavanagh, Ryan+ LS 6-3 200 Jr. West Chester, PA/Salesianum
(Del.)
50 Oxley, Sean ILB 6-2 227 Jr. Avon Lake, OH/Avon
Lake
52 Cave, Braxston C 6-3 309 Jr. Mishawaka, IN/Penn
59
Stewart, Chris OG 6-5 344 Sr. Spring, TX/Klein
61 Quintana, M
DE 6-0 232 Sr. Berwyn, IL/St. Joseph
62 Skubis, C. DE 6-2
232 Sr. Clarence, NY/Clarence
65 Wray, Evan+ ILB 6-0 215 Sr.
Kettering, OH/Kettering Fairmont
66 Watt, Chris OG 6-3 313
So. Glen Ellyn, IL/Glenbard West
70 Martin, Zack OT 6-4 280
So. Indianapolis, IN/Bishop Chatard
73 Clelland, Lane OT 6-5 290 Jr.
Owings Mills, MD/McDonogh School
76 Nuss, Andrew OG 6-5 303 Sr.
Ashburn, VA/Stone Bridge
79 Williams, Hafis NG 6-1 290 Jr. Elizabeth,
NJ/Elizabeth
83 Ragone, Mike TE 6-4 250 Sr. Cherry Hill, NJ/Camden
Catholic
88 Golic, Jake TE 6-4 230 So. West Hartford,
CT/Northwest Catholic
89 Lewis-Moore, K DE 6-4 275 Jr. Weatherford,
TX/Weatherford
95 Williams, Ian NG 6-2 301 Sr. Altamonte
Springs, FL/Lyman
99 Newman, B NG 6-0 297 Jr. Louisville,
KY/Pleasure Ridge Park
 

Path to the Draft: Will Fuller

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 14: Will Fuller #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish rushes against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium on November 14, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish won 28-7. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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Part two of a seven-part series looking back at Notre Dame’s impressive 2016 draft class. 

 

Will Fuller
No. 21 overall to the Houston Texans

For as much flack as Will Fuller took from the moment he declared for the NFL Draft until his named was called after Houston traded up to land him with the 21st pick, most of it missed the biggest story of them all. We were talking about Will Fuller.

Perhaps Notre Dame’s least likely All-American since Shane Walton ditched his soccer cleats for the gridiron, Fuller was an unlikely superstar, all but a recruiting afterthought who had a mostly anonymous freshman season before two years of productivity never seen in South Bend.

While Fuller ended up a four-star prospect, he was a regional recruit if there ever was one. Pulled away from a Penn State program that was amidst chaos, Fuller picked Notre Dame over other offers from schools like Boston College, UMass, Rutgers, Temple and Delaware. Like Ronnie Stanley, he was another invite to the Semper Fidelis All-American game—a second-tier All-Star game— but on Signing Day, Kelly sounded like he knew that his staff had landed a big-time talent.

“He’s also a young man that we believe that if there’s a guy that flew under the radar a little bit, it was William Fuller,” Kelly said. “The thing that really clearly stands out is his ball skills. He can run and catch the football. Any time that we got a chance to observe him, he was running and catching, just terrific ball skills. We think as he develops physically, he also has that speed, that top‑end speed that can obviously impact football games.”

Kelly’s crystal ball couldn’t have looked more prescient than it did in that moment. While he only managed to make six catches as a freshman, the 46-yard deep ball Fuller reeled in from Tommy Rees after play-action was a sign of things to come.

Fuller’s development was hardly just an arrow up proposition. The drops that had so many draft analysts talking about his hands plagued him throughout both his prolific sophomore and junior seasons. But even amidst that self-inflicted inconsistency, the game-to-game productivity is astonishing when you look at the two-season run Fuller put together.

You can learn a lot about how little analysts have seen Fuller by the criticisms they lay on him. Ted Ginn? Former top-ten bust Troy Williamson? Fuller’s hardly a one-trick pony—playing opposite DeAndre Hopkins won’t just make life easier for the Texans’ Pro Bowler, it’ll allow Fuller to see man coverage and get back to terrorizing defenses in the screen game as well.

Selected at No. 21 as just the second receiver off the board, Fuller’s decision to leave Notre Dame after just his third season looks to be a great one. With a blazing forty time and his lack of size not changing with another season in college football, Fuller struck while the iron was hot after two of the best receiving seasons we’ve ever seen.

Not bad for a skinny kid out of the Philadelphia Catholic League.

***

Looking for more discussion on Notre Dame’s 2016 NFL Draft (as well as a bunch of other stuff), here’s John Walters and I chopping it up on our latest episode of Blown Coverage. 

 

Path to the draft: Ronnie Stanley

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28:  Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame holds up a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #6 overall by the Baltimore Ravens during the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Getty
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Your name didn’t have to be Mel Kiper or Mike Mayock to understand that from the moment Jaylon Smith stepped foot on campus at Notre Dame he was destined to be an early-round NFL draft pick. But as the dust settles on the Irish’s impressive 2016 draft haul, a look back at the developmental process of the team’s seven draft picks serves as a wonderful testament to Brian Kelly and the program he has built.

Notre Dame’s draftees come in all shapes and sizes. Fifth-year seniors like Nick Martin. Three-and-out stars like Jaylon Smith and Will Fuller. Consistent four-year performers like Sheldon Day and one-year wonders like C.J. Prosise.

But each followed a unique path to the NFL, one that was fostered by a coaching staff that allowed each athlete to develop at their own pace and ascend into a role where an NFL team thought highly enough to select each player in the first 103 picks of the draft.

Let’s take a trip down (recent) memory lane, as we connect the dots from recruitment, development and playing career as we look at Notre Dame’s seven success stories.

 

Ronnie Stanley
No. 6 overall to Baltimore Ravens

The first offensive lineman selected in the 2016 draft, Stanley’s recruitment saw the Irish find their first bit of success at Bishop Gorman High School, leading the way to Nicco Fertitta and Alizé Jones. A four-star prospect who hovered between a Top 100 and Top 250 player depending on the evaluation, Stanley was invited to the Semper Fidelis All-Star game, a second-tier game that all but signified his status outside of the elite, at least on the recruiting circuit.

That’s not how Notre Dame’s coaching staff felt about him, though.

“He’s probably as gifted of an offensive linemen that we have seen in many years,” Kelly said on Signing Day in 2012.

Stanley proved early that Kelly wasn’t blowing smoke. He saw the field in 2012’s first two games, earning reps against Navy and Michigan before he suffered an elbow injury that allowed him to save a year of eligibility.

But even offseason surgery didn’t prevent Stanley from stepping into the starting lineup, flipping to right tackle and playing 13 games in a very successful sophomore campaign across from first rounder Zack Martin.

Even though Stanley was blossoming into one of college football’s best players, we still openly wondered who would slide to fill Martin’s left tackle spot. (That’s how it goes with offensive linemen, their work only truly appreciated by those with either inside information or a coach’s eye of evaluation.)

In his opening comments before spring practice in 2014, Kelly named Steve Elmer, Christian Lombard and Mike McGlinchey as candidates along with Stanley, so it wasn’t necessarily a lock for the staff yet either. But it took just a few practices for the Las Vegas native to solidify his spot on the left side.

Stanley’s first season at left tackle was so solid that some wondered if there’d be two. While some of the online analysts saw Stanley as a potentially elite draft pick, the NFL Advisory Board came back with a second-round grade, perhaps all Stanley needed as he made his decision to stick around for his senior season. Still, Notre Dame took no chance. Kelly, Harry Hiestand and Jack Swarbrick traveled to Las Vegas to sell Stanley on the virtues of a final season in South Bend.

It worked. With a healthy offseason and weight-room gains needed, Stanley stuck to the script and played a mostly anonymous 2015 season. That was a very good thing—only along the offensive line can All-American honors and being named Offensive Player of the Year be considered ho-hum.

Add in the vanilla off-the-field life, and an elite academic profile that’s a comfort to teams investing millions in a potential cornerstone, Stanley’s placement as a Top 10 pick should have never been in doubt. While he lacked the dominance at Notre Dame that we saw from Zack Martin, he possesses athleticism and a body that Martin wasn’t given—a big reason the Cowboys shifted him inside to guard from day one.

Picked instead of Laremy Tunsil amidst a bizarre scenario that’ll go down as one of the draft’s cautionary tales, John Harbaugh talked openly about his relationship with Harry Hiestand and the comfort that came from Notre Dame’s offensive line coach as they pulled the trigger on Stanley. And Stanley, almost epitomizing that faith that the Ravens showed, all but embodied that when he told Joe Flacco in his first visit to Baltimore that he celebrated his selection by heading back to his hotel room and going to sleep.

Counted on by Baltimore to be a key piece of the puzzle as the Ravens look to rebuild an offensive line tasked with protecting a franchise quarterback in his prime, now it’s up to Notre Dame’s highest draft pick since Rick Mirer to continue his ascent.

Five Irish players sign UFA contracts

Matthias Farley
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Notre Dame had seven players selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, trailing only Ohio State, Clemson and UCLA on the weekend tally. But after the draft finished, the Irish had five more players get their shot at playing on Sundays.

Chris Brown signed with the Dallas Cowboys. Romeo Okwara will begin his career with the New York Giants. Matthias Farley and Amir Carlisle signed contracts with the Arizona Cardinal. Elijah Shumate agreed to a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After missing two seasons, Ishaq Williams will be at Giants rookie camp next weekend as well, working as a tryout player. Expect Jarrett Grace to receive similar opportunities.

Count me among those that thought both Brown and Okwara would hear their names called. Brown’s senior season, not to mention his intriguing measureables, had some projecting him as early as the fifth round.

Okwara, still 20 years old and fresh off leading Notre Dame in sacks in back-to-back seasons, intrigued a lot of teams with his ability to play both defensive end and outside linebacker. He’ll get a chance to make the Giants—the team didn’t draft a defensive end after selecting just one last year, and they’re in desperate need of pass rushers.

Both Shumate and Farley feel like contenders to earn a spot on rosters, both because of their versatility and special teams skills. Shumate played nickel back as a freshman and improved greatly at safety during 2015. Farley bounced around everywhere and was Notre Dame’s special teams captain.

Carlisle might fit a similar mold. He played running back, receiver and returned kicks and punts throughout his college career. With a 4.4 during Notre Dame’s Pro Day, he likely showed the Cardinals enough to take a shot, and now he’ll join an offense with Michael Floyd and Troy Niklas.

 

Robertson picks Cal over Notre Dame, UGA

Demetris Robertson
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Demetris Robertson‘s decision wasn’t trending in Notre Dame’s direction. But those that expected the Savannah star athlete to pick the in-state Bulldogs were in for a surprise when Robertson chose Cal on Sunday afternoon.

Notre Dame’s pursuit of the five-star athlete, recruited to play outside receiver and hopefully replace Will Fuller, likely ended Sunday afternoon with Robertson making the surprise decision to take his substantial talents to Berkeley. And give credit to Robertson for doing what he said all along—picking a school that’ll give him the chance to earn an exceptional education and likely contribute from Day One.

“I am excited to take my talents to the University of California, Berkeley. The first reason is that the education was a big part of my decision. I wanted to keep that foundation,” Robertson said, per CFT. “When I went there, it felt like home. Me and the coaching staff have a great relationship. That’s where I felt were the best of all things for me.”

Adding one final twist in all of this is that Robertson has no letter-of-intent to sign. Because he’s blown three months through Signing Day, Robertson merely enrolls at a college when the time comes. That means until then, Kirby Smart and the Georgia staff will continue to sell Robertson on staying home and helping the Dawgs rebuild. Smart visited with Robertson Saturday night and had multiple assistant coaches at his track meet this weekend.

Summer school begins in June for Notre Dame. Their freshman receiving class looks complete with early enrollee Kevin Stepherson and soon-to-arrive pass-catchers Javon McKinley and Chase Claypool.