Stephon Tuitt

Faxes in: Tuitt official, Niklas (too), Rabasa, and Atkinson


Of course even the faxing of Stephon Tuitt’s letter-of-intent would be dramatic. But the prized five-star defensive end’s commitment letter arrived in the football offices after weather delayed it, and both the Irish coaching staff and all of ND Nation can breathe easy knowing that the Irish have locked in their biggest defensive prospect on their board.

Tuitt’s news wasn’t the only theater of the morning, with Brian Kelly dropping in on Jack Nolan’s live broadcast at to report that Troy Niklas also faxed in his letter-of-intent, pulling a talented player out of a USC feeder school and a prospect to Notre Dame that the Trojans coveted. Kelly pointed out the work Mike Denbrock did getting Niklas to Notre Dame, reminding Irish fans that the tight ends coach serving his second tour of duty in South Bend is the only Irish coach recruiting California, while USC has seven coaches committed to the talent-rich state.

While defensive back Jalen Brown’s official fax has been delayed thanks to inclimate weather in Texas, it appears as though the recruiting class has been finalized, with only cornerback Bennett Okotcha’s 11th hour defection to Oklahoma qualifying as bad news.

“This is probably as exact to the plan of who we needed to get in this class and we got them,” Kelly said this morning as the faxes rolled in. “When you have a plan you’re going to stick to the plan.”

Here are the faxes that are in according to Notre Dame. Brian Kelly will make his formal address at 1:00 p.m.

Faxes recently received:

Josh Atkinson, DB, Livermore, California
Jalen Brown, DB, Irving, Texas
Troy Niklas, DE, Anaheim, California
Anthony Rabasa, OLB, Miami, Florida
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Monroe, Georgia

UPDATE — 11:16 a.m. EST: Notre Dame confirms that the fax for Jalen Brown has been received.

Already received:

George Atkinson, WR, Livermore, California
Ben Councell
, OLB, Asheville, North Carolina
Davaris Daniels, WR, Vernon Hills, Illinois
Matthias Farley, DB, Charlotte, North Carolina
Jarrett Grace, LB, Cincinnati, Ohio
Conor Hanratty, OL, New Canaan, Connecticut
Eilar Hardy, DB, Pickerington, Ohio
Matthew Hegarty, OL, Aztec, New Mexico
Chase Hounshell, DE, Kirtland, Ohio
Ben Koyack, TE, Oil City, Pennsylvania
Nick Martin, OL, Indianapolis, Indiana
Cam McDaniel, RB, Coppell, Texas
Tony Springmann, DE, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Already enrolled:

Kyle Brindza, K/P, Canton, Michigan
Brad Carrico, DE, Dublin, Ohio
Everett Golson, QB, Myrtle Beach, SC
Aaron Lynch, DE, Cape Coral, FL
Ishaq Williams, DE, Brooklyn, NY

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.