Floyd, Rudolph named first-team preseason All-Americans


The first of many mostly trivial preseason awards was released with two Notre Dame stars front and center on the All-American first team. (I state trivial because remember the Tim Tebow, not unanimous preseason All-SEC?)

Worthless or not, both Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph were named to Lindy’s All-American team. Here is the entire squad:

QB Kellen Moore 6-0 187 Jr. Boise State
RB Mark Ingram 5-10 215 Jr. Alabama
RB Dion Lewis 5-8 195 So. Pittsburgh
WR Michael Floyd 6-3 220 Jr. Notre Dame
WR A.J. Green 6-4 205 Jr. Georgia
TE Kyle Rudolph 6-6 265 Jr. Notre Dame
C Mike Pouncey 6-4 310 Sr. Florida
OL Rodney Hudson 6-2 285 Sr. Florida State
OL Stefen Wisniewski 6-3 297 Sr. Penn State
OL Gabe Carimi 6-7 315 Sr. Wisconsin
OL Anthony Castonzo 6-7 295 Sr. Boston College
PK Kai Forbath 6-0 192 Sr. UCLA

DL Adrian Clayborn 6-3 282 Sr. Iowa
DL Greg Romeus 6-6 270 Sr. Pittsburgh
DL Stephen Paea 6-1 311 Sr. Oregon State
DL Jared Crick 6-6 285 Jr. Nebraska
LB Greg Jones 6-1 228 Sr. Michigan State
LB Von Miller 6-3 240 Sr. Texas A&M
LB Quan Sturdivant 6-2 230 Jr. North Carolina
CB Patrick Peterson 6-1 211 Jr. LSU
CB Prince Amukamara 6-1 205 Sr. Nebraska
S Rahim Moore 6-1 195 Jr. UCLA
S DeAndre McDaniel 6-1 210 Sr. Clemson
P Drew Butler 6-2 203 Jr. Georgia

The Irish are the only team with two regulars on the first-team offense, a good reminder that even without Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate this Irish offense has a chance to be pretty prolific. (As well as a reminder of what could’ve been…)

Notre Dame will get a chance to see other All-American selections against Michigan State, where standout linebacker Greg Jones was named first team, as well as against Pittsburgh, where both defensive lineman Greg Romeus and running back Dion Lewis will be waiting.

Irish add commitment from CB Donte Vaughn

Donte Vaughn

Notre Dame’s recruiting class grew on Monday. And in adding 6-foot-3 Memphis cornerback Donte Vaughn, it grew considerably.

The Irish added another jumbo-sized skill player in Vaughn, beating out a slew of SEC offers for the intriguing cover man. Vaughn picked Notre Dame over offers from Auburn, LSU, Miami, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Texas A&M among others.

He made the announcement on Monday, his 18th birthday:

It remains to be seen if Vaughn can run like a true cornerback. But his length certainly gives him a skill-set that doesn’t currently exist on the Notre Dame roster.

Interestingly enough, Vaughn’s commitment comes a cycle after Brian VanGorder made news by going after out-of-profile coverman Shaun Crawford, immediately offering the 5-foot-9 cornerback after taking over for Bob Diaco, who passed because of Crawford’s size. An ACL injury cut short Crawford’s freshman season before it got started, but not before Crawford already proved he’ll be a valuable piece of the Irish secondary for years to come.

Vaughn is another freaky athlete in a class that already features British Columbia’s Chase Claypool. With a safety depth chart that’s likely turning over quite a bit in the next two seasons, Vaughn can clearly shift over if that’s needed, though Notre Dame adding length like Vaughn clearly points to some of the shifting trends after Richard Sherman went from an average wide receiver to one of the best cornerbacks in football, and Vaughn will be asked to play on the outside.

Vaughn is the 15th member of Notre Dame’s 2016 signing class. He is the fifth defensive back, joining safeties D.J. Morgan, Jalen Elliott and Spencer Perry along with cornerback Julian Love. The Irish project to take one more.

With Notre Dame expecting another huge recruiting weekend with USC coming to town, it’ll be very interesting to see how the Irish staff close out this recruiting class.




Days before facing Notre Dame, USC coach Steve Sarkisian to take leave of absence


When Notre Dame takes on rival USC on Saturday, they’ll be facing a Trojans team without a head coach. USC athletic director Pat Haden announced today that effective immediately, head coach Steve Sarkisian will be taking an indefinite leave of absence. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton will be interim head coach.

While the details are still coming into focus, multiple reports point to another incident with alcohol. Haden himself said that he made the decision after speaking with Sarkisian.

“I called Steve and talked to him. It was very clear to me that he is not healthy. I asked him to take an indefinite leave of absence,” Haden said, according to multiple Los Angeles media reports.

Sarkisian’s decision-making and alcohol use came into the spotlight this August when the head coach made inappropriate statements at a large booster event. Sarkisian addressed the media after the incident, acknowledged mixing medication with alcohol, and vowed to seek help and not to make the same mistake again.

Today’s incident appears to be a relapse, and one that requires immediate attention. Helton ran the team’s practice today and steps back into an interim head coaching role, a job he handled after the Trojans fired Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron left after not being awarded the permanent job.

“Fortunately or unfortunately, I have been in this situation before,” Helton said. “Once again, I’m very fortunate to have a group of first-class kids that are extremely talented and want to do something special here.”

This is the second major sports persona to leave his season to seek treatment in recent weeks. New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia left the team to seek treatment for alcohol issues. The Trojans are coming off an upset loss to Washington on Thursday night, losing 17-12 as a 17-point favorite.