You can tell football season is approaching because the amount of information flowing on the internet is picking up as we head into August. This weekend’s recruiting flurry, with four verbal commitments in a span of 24 hours, has to be one of the better weekends for recruitniks that I can remember. As I mentioned before, landing recruits is important, but landing recruits at positions of need is even more crucial, and the Irish did that with all four players that pledged.
As usual, recruiting guru and usually pro-Irish analyst Tom Lemming, thought that Brian Kelly and company did a good job.
“It’s unbelievably, exceptionally unusual at this time of year,” Lemming told the Chicago Tribune. “For Notre Dame to get them at this time of the year without proving themselves as coaches and with everyone on vacation, it was mind-boggling.
Notre Dame will be almost done by September 1. It gives them four extra months to start on the junior class.”
Because of the roster balance and the available fifth-year players that’ll likely return next season, Kelly won’t win any recruiting titles like Charlie Weis did in his first full season with the Irish. But in many ways this class is better suited for the Irish roster, an issue the previous regime never figured out, and eventually doomed Charlie Weis.
Staying with recruiting, if you’re looking for another really big fish out there that Notre Dame is chasing, look no further than Brooklyn’s Ishaq Williams. While many didn’t think that the Irish would have a legitimate chance chasing down the blue-chip athlete with offers from just about every major program in the country, Notre Dame will be getting a rare summer visit in the next few weeks.
Rivals.com’s Mike Farrell reports:
“As soon as I finish work and practice I’m headed off to a few schools,” Williams said.
not exactly sure about all of the schools I’m going to but I know I’m
gonna go to Notre Dame, Florida and California. Plus, I’ll hit up a few
schools around the area.”
That will amount to thousands of miles
worth of air travel and a huge time investment, but Williams believes it
will pay off in the long run.
He hasn’t been too focused on the
recruiting process yet but he believes the upcoming visits will help him
make an informed choice later.
“I’m going to try to get it down to about ten schools before the start of the season,” he added.
If you’re looking for a reason why I think the Irish will be in this one until the end, look at defensive coordinator Bob Diaco. A New Jersey native, Williams falls into Diaco’s region, and I fully expect the charismatic defensive coordinator to be a force on the recruiting trail.
If the Irish could add Williams to the stable of Clay Burton, Brad Carrico, Ben Councell, Aaron Lynch, Anthony Rabasa, and Tony Springmann, that’d be the most impressive collection of edge players assembled since the Holtz era.
(At least on paper…)
The Chicago Tribune’s Brian Hamilton had an excellent profile of quarterback Dayne Crist in the Sunday edition of the Tribune. While you could say that Crist’s destruction of the one pound King Burger at the Oaken Bucket was impressive, Crist’s leadership seems to have teammates believing in the untested quarterback.
“Even though he was behind Jimmy, whether it was in the weight room or
the classroom or on the practice field, everybody always viewed Dayne as
a leader,” tight end Kyle Rudolph said.
“When you come here, just because you’re not the guy, you can still work
hard. There are right ways to lead. Not everybody is a good leader.
There are right ways to lead, and he definitely understands that.”
Whether its his physicality or leadership ability, Crist reminds me a lot of Brady Quinn, a comparison that I’m sure Kelly and offensive coordinator Charley Molnar would settle for immediately.
Former Irish center John Sullivan enters his second training camp as the Minnesota Vikings starting center, but does so with a heavy heart after losing his father Rick earlier this summer.
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
As he approaches the start of training camp Friday and his second
season as a starter, Sullivan has tried to maintain that stoic demeanor
while dealing with the death of his father.
“It’s one of those things that happens in life,” Sullivan said. “The
Vikings were great to me and my family. A lot of support there. “
Rick Sullivan died June 7 because of a heart attack at age 69 after returning home from a visit with his son.
The Sullivans became close to the family of former Litchfield star
John Carlson when Carlson and Sullivan were teammates at Notre Dame.
Rick Sullivan and John Carlson Sr., a coach at Litchfield High, became
good friends as they traveled to Notre Dame games around the country.
The two families spent the weekend together in the Twin Cities in early
June, and Rick died the day he returned home to Connecticut.
“We had a great time, a fitting good-bye,” Sullivan said. “It’s an unfortunate circumstance, but he had a good life.”
It’s good to see Sullivan playing to his potential after a disappointing end to his career at Notre Dame. The 2007 season saw Sullivan take a step backwards, struggling with his play under center as well as snaps from the shotgun. His draft stock plummeted and a potential first-day pick went in the sixth round. Now he’s starting for one of the NFC’s best teams, anchoring one of the best offensive lines in football.
Finally, NCAA’s Champion Magazine profiled Notre Dame student-athletes Chris Stewart and Tim Abromaitis, heralding both for their great work in the classroom as well as on the field (or court in Abromaitis’ case.)
Stewart, who has started the past 22 games on the offensive line, will be what is believed to be the first active Notre Dame football player to attend law school when he begins taking classes next fall. He earned his history undergraduate degree by compiling a 3.5 grade-point average in three-and-a-half years.
The article also goes on to point out that Stewart might have his mother to thank for his athletic abilities, basketball Hall of Famer Lusia Harris-Stewart, one of the greatest centers to ever play basketball, a three time national champion at Delta State, a silver medalist for the US National team at the 1976 Olympics, and the winner of the Broderick Cup, awarded to the top female collegiate athlete in the country.
“She never really talked about her accomplishments when I was growing up,” said Stewart, who is 6-5 and 344 pounds. “As I got older, I started questioning her about all the trophies in the house. I remember asking her why we had this huge bowl that we never use, and why do you have it on the counter? That’s when she explained what the Broderick Cup was.”
It seems Stewart’s modesty might come from his mother.