Irish and Wolverines unveil throwback uniforms

12 Comments

After much discussion and debate, Notre Dame and Michigan have unveiled their throwback uniforms for the September 10 meeting between the Irish and Wolverines. Deemed “Under the Lights at the Big House” (Bravo Michigan marketing department), both teams strutted their retro look with official releases yesterday.

The Irish are going psuedo old school, with the most pronounced change to the uniform two Kelly green shamrocks adorning the sides of the helmet, the first time Notre Dame has done that since the early 1960s. The white jersey has two Kelly green stripes on each shoulder to match the large number on both the chest and back.

“We are happy to partner with adidas to help commemorate the first night game at Michigan Stadium with new uniforms,” said Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly. “It seems fitting that the two schools with the two best winning percentages in college football play in this historic game. I know our players are looking forward to the contest and both teams’ new uniforms will only add to the excitement in the Big House on September 10.”

 

 

As you can see from the Wolverines’ photo, Michigan is rolling with a block ‘M’ on their chest, some stripes on their shoulders, and numbers on their helmet while wearing their traditional blue home jersey, paying homage to the different generations of Michigan football.

“The compilation of elements from different eras of Michigan football makes this a unique and special uniform,” Michigan AD Dave Brandon said. “Our players have seen other schools and professional teams wear throwback uniforms and will now have an opportunity to showcase our tradition in a melding of styles. This will  be a special event for our football program, the University  of Michigan, Ann Arbor and all of our fans.”

The response on the web is pretty much what you’d expect from two ultra-conservative programs that are incredibly proud of their respective histories. But for every old grouch claiming their school’s sold their soul to adidas, there are more than a few people almost begrudgingly acknowledging that the uniforms look pretty cool. I think the uniforms are a fun change, with the Irish leading in the clubhouse with an almost old school 1970s adidas look.

(It probably helps that ND has the Terminator version of Everett Golson modeling the Irish uniforming as he smolders in spotlights and shadows while the Wolverines chose some quarterback (that may or may not haunt Bob Diaco’s dreams) and a guy built like a pizza delivery driver to model theirs.)

We are officially three months out from Under the Lights at the Big House. Official throwback merchandise goes on sale August 1.

Five Irish players sign UFA contracts

Matthias Farley
12 Comments

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
11 Comments

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.

Sheldon Day drafted in 4th round by Jaguars

North Carolina v Notre Dame
Getty
6 Comments

Former Notre Dame captain Sheldon Day didn’t have to wait long on Saturday to hear his name called. The Indianapolis native, All-American, and the Irish’s two-time defensive lineman of the year was pick number 103, the fourth pick of the fourth round on Saturday afternoon.

Day was the seventh Irish player drafted, following first rounders Ronnie Stanley and Will Fuller, second round selections Jaylon Smith and Nick Martin, and third rounders KeiVarae Russell and C.J. Prosise.

Day has a chance to contribute as he joins the 24th-ranked defense in the league. Joining a draft class heavy on defensive players—Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack and Yannick Ngakoue already picked ahead of him—the front seven will also include last year’s No. 3 overall pick Dante Fowler, who missed the entire season with a knee injury.

Scouted by the Jaguars at the Senior Bowl, Day doesn’t necessarily have the size to be a traditional defensive tackle. But under Gus Bradley’s attacking system (Bradley coordinated the Seahawks defense for four seasons), Day will find a niche and a role in a young defense that’s seen a heavy investment the past two years.

Smith, Martin, Russell and Prosise all drafted Friday night

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 13: William Fuller #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Nick Martin #72 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate a touchdown during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
5 Comments

Jaylon Smith, Nick Martin, KeiVarae Russell and C.J. Prosise were all selected on Friday, with four Irish teammates taken on the second night of the NFL Draft. As mentioned, Smith came off the board at pick 34, with the Cowboys gambling on the injured knee of the Butkus Award winner. Nick Martin was selected at pick 50, joining former teammate Will Fuller in Houston.

The third round saw Russell and Prosise come off the board, with Kansas City jumping on the confident cornerback and the Seahawks taking Notre Dame’s breakout running back. It capped off a huge night for the Irish with Sheldon Day, one of the more productive football players in college football, still on the board for teams to pick.

Here’s a smattering of instant reactions from the immediate aftermath.