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Weekend notes: Recruiting Ohio, Bracketology, Cooks, Daniels and more

Jun 18, 2011, 2:52 PM EST

Davaris Daniels

It’ll likely be months until anybody is certain what the fate of Ohio State football will be, but that hasn’t stopped people from talking about it. If you’re looking for some context, Michigan blog MGoBlog.com revels in the comparison to USC (their conclusion: “Yeah, you guys are screwed), a benchmark that’ll likely be referenced a few thousand times before the NCAA Committee on Infractions puts the Buckeyes athletic program in its crosshairs.

With that angle in mind, Brian Kelly was asked earlier this week about the Ohio State problems and whether they effect the Irish’s recruiting efforts in the state of Ohio.

“It doesn’t,” Kelly said point-blank on Tuesday.

“We still have to be focused on what we’re about and what we’re looking for. If there’s a hole in recruiting because Ohio State is not on a kid because of what’s going on, that really doesn’t affect us. We’re still going to recruit the kind of guys that we believe fit at Notre Dame. If there are things ancillary that will work in our favor, we don’t sit around thinking about those things.”

In the two recruiting classes Kelly’s already signed, he’s made it clear that recruiting Ohio is important by the sheer volume of players he’s taken. Notre Dame has signed nine players from the Buckeye state in the past two classes, and the state of Ohio trails only Illinois for active members on the roster.

Here are the Ohio recruits Kelly inked in the last two classes:

     Alex Welch, TE (Ohio State offer)
     Derek Roback, LB
     Luke Massa, QB
     Matt James, OL (Ohio State offer)
     Andrew Hendrix, QB (Ohio State offer)
     Chase Hounshell, OL/DL
     Eilar Hardy, DB
     Jarrett Grace, LB (Ohio State offer)
     Brad Carrico, OL

The Irish already have Ohio native Taylor Decker committed to the 2012 class and are chasing another ten or so players from Ohio, many with offers from the Buckeyes. With or without Jim Tressel, it’s pretty clear Brian Kelly thinks he’ll do just fine.

“It’s been a great state, it’s a state we need to continue to work hard in,” Kelly said. “It was good for me in Cincinnati, and it’s going to be good for us at Notre Dame.”

***

You want a playoff in college football? Well, here’s likely your best chance… for now.

As part of the run-up to EA Sports’ popular videogame franchise, “NCAA Football 12,” EA is holding a bracket challenge to decide what college football tradition is the country’s best.

The Irish’s “Play Like A Champion Today” is the No. 1 seed in the tournament, and facing off with West Virginia’s “Hold the Rope” tradition. (I honestly didn’t know this existed…) Over 42,000 votes have been cast, with the Irish holding a 70/30 advantage over the Mountaineers, but be sure to continue to stuff the ballot box, because a dog fight is coming next round, with either Uga the dog from Georgia or Tennessee’s Smokey moving on to the quarterfinals.

If you are so inclined, help Notre Dame defend their No. 1 seed.

(Yep, it’s the offseason…)

***

Irish cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks is on his way back from Orlando, where he was one of seven college football coaches selected to participate in the NCAA Champion Forum.

Put on in conjunction with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) convention, the Champions Forum focuses on a select group of minority coaches who have been identified as potential candidates to become college football head coaches.

Here’s more from UND.com on the focus on the initiative:

During the Forum, the coaches, athletics directors and speakers will have time to develop professional relationships in a more informal, private setting. There will be simulated interview sessions, media training, keynote speakers. There will also be opportunities to discuss key topics such as understanding and developing culture within their team and the athletics department and effectively engaging with the campus and academic staff after becoming a head football coach.

Through the Forum, the football coaches will have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the search process and the steps taken by search firms and athletics directors when preparing to hire head football coaches to lead intercollegiate programs. In turn, the athletics directors and administrators will have opportunities to meet, interact and become better acquainted with the football coaches; become “champions” by assisting with the coaches’ continued career growth; and broaden their outlook on potential minority head coaching prospects within the NCAA.

Joining Cooks in Orlando were Michael Barrow, linebackers coach for Miami, Lawrence Dawsey, Florida State’s wide receivers coach, Gary Emmanuel, Purdue’s co-defensive coordinator, William Inge, Buffalo’s defensive coordinator, Brian Stewart, University of Houston’s defensive coordinator and Joel Thomas, Washington’s running backs coach.

This is Cooks’ second year on Brian Kelly’s staff and first year coaching cornerbacks.

***

Following up on the Matt Hegarty story, Davaris Daniels’ hometown newspaper, The Daily Herald, had an in-depth profile on the incoming freshman receiver after naming him the Lake County male athlete of the year.

Daniels starred on both the football and basketball team for Vernon Hills, something he’s done since his freshman year.

Clearly, Daniels leaves Vernon Hills as one of its best athletes in history. But he also goes down as one of Lake County’s most decorated and talented athletes, so it seems only fitting that Daniels has been named the Daily Herald’s male athlete of the year for Lake County.

“This all went by so quick,” said Daniels, who is eyeing a starting spot at wide receiver at Notre Dame, which opens football camp in eight days. “But it also seems like I’ve been in high school forever.”

Could be all those weeks, months and years of varsity pressures and expectations.

Not that Daniels ever seemed flustered by them.

He was on the radar of college recruiters almost from the moment he returned that kickoff for a touchdown. Yet, Daniels stayed grounded and kept his nose to the grindstone.

“DaVaris is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete to coach when you consider his abilities, work ethic and attitude,” Vernon Hills basketball coach Matt McCarty said. “His attitude has always been team first. Rarely do you see the complete package, but we have had it with DaVaris in both football and basketball.”

Daniels role in the offense could be rather large, depending on what happens with Michael Floyd and his uncertain return to the football team. Either way, if he’s even within two-tenths of a second of his reported 4.3 forty time, he can make an immediate impact as a returner or in the red zone, where his 6-foot-3 height and leaping ability should come in handy.

Another point of interest will be Daniels’ development as a wide receiver. He was used all over the field last season for Vernon Hills, which means he didn’t spend a ton of time concentrating on the nuances of the receiver position. Athletically, that’s a good thing for Daniels, but it also might make the transition a little harder.

***

Is it possible Notre Dame is continuing its way up the cool charts? Consider this article that came up in my Notre Dame news feed, from celebrity tabloid OK! Magazine:

“Selena Gomez & Taylor Swift Tried to Have a “Normal College Experience” at Notre Dame.”

Here’s the quote of record from Taylor Swift, whose younger brother is a Notre Dame student.

“So we fly to Notre Dame and decide we’re gonna fit in,” Taylor explains. “We went and we got all this Notre Dame gear so we’re like wearing the Notre Dame jacket and the Notre Dame visor and we learned that’s not how you fit in at college evidently.”

I expect every guy on campus to have two size-small “The Shirts” waiting for these girls when they try to come back for a game next year.

***

Lastly, for any fans of Friday Night Lights out there, we might have found a replacement for Tim Riggins.

Enter Cam McDaniel:

  1. ccad05 - Jun 18, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    September 3rd really needs to hurry up

  2. 1historian - Jun 19, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    BK is going to go after the players he wants in Ohio no matter what. The fact that OSU is in trouble right now is not going to affect which Ohio players BK wants to recruit. It simply means that there be less competition for them than previously. Nevertheless his blunt answer to the obvious question was politic as well as blunt.

    This guy is the real deal – he’s the right man for the job.

    Why do I keep saying that?

    76 days and counting until kickoff!

  3. kingniels - Jun 19, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    pretty sure austin swift transferred, so i don’t think taylor or selena gomez will be returning any time soon.

    vanderbilt was the rumor.

  4. tpdsdomer - Jun 20, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    Hi Keith,

    Thank you for your terrific coverage of Notre Dame football! You do a great job.

    I was wondering when or if any members of the media are ever going to ask Coach Kelly how is it that Michael Floyd is still enrolled at Notre Dame. What he’s had to say about this issue so far is incredibly weak and I’ve yet to hear of any reporter really taking him to task over this, and it needs to happen!

    As someone who has been in love with the University of Notre Dame my entire life and cares deeply about what it stands for, I cannot understand how this very talented young man that has had three alcohol-related issues since 2008 is still a student in good standing at ND.

    I read recently that Floyd’s lawyer will be going in front of a judge next month to pitch a plea bargain agreement regarding his recent DUI charge (which put innocent lives in danger), and up until now I have heard of no punishments dished out by the University to him. How can this be?!!! How in the name of God has Notre Dame allowed this to happen?!!

    Where are the Notre Dame standards of conduct? Where is the discipline?

    By allowing this to happen it tells the world that the University of Notre Dame is fine with its students and student-athletes being involved with alcohol abuse on numerous occasions with no fear of any repercussions handed down by the University.

    I want Notre Dame to win football games as much as I want my next breath, but not to the extent that ND discards it’s values to make it happen. I feel terrible about all of this, and once camp opens up and the season gets closer the national media is going to pummel Notre Dame for not doing something about this and appearing to be just like all the other college football factories in letting their football players get away with improper conduct. The media will be right to do exactly that, and the leadership at Notre Dame only has itself to blame for the criticism that’s coming.

    I am in desperate need of answers to this issue and so are many friends of mine who love Notre Dame. As a member of the media who covers Notre Dame football, any answers to these questions you could come up with from the leadership at Notre Dame will be most welcome. Thanks!

    • treeplaydomer - Jun 20, 2011 at 12:12 PM

      @tpdsdomer:
      You want ND to be different from all the other college football factories? How’s this: Not dumping a young black man after you’ve used him up for all he’s worth to you, leaving him with no degree, no future, no nothing. How about offering the young man the opportunity to confront an alcohol problem, to take the corrective steps, and to graduate a better person with a bright future where he can be a role model for others.
      I’m not condoning what he did. He has to live with his actions. The law will deal with Michael Floyd as it sees fit, but I think the tough love and shot at redemption at ND speak to the best values of our Lady’s university.
      I may be deceived by what’s really a PR show, but for Michael’s sake, and the sake of so many athletes who don’t make it to the NFL, I hope he grabs this opportunity and holds on more than any touchdown he could score.

      • nudeman - Jun 20, 2011 at 12:41 PM

        Completely agree here with treeplay. This is an opportunity for Floyd to change his life. A seminal moment upon which he might look back in 15 years and say “That’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Brian Kelly made me a better person.”

        It’s also possible he could blow it, revert to the destructive lifestyle and spiral back downward. No guarantees in life, as we all know. But the approach with Floyd is far more intelligent than the kid I referenced in the earlier post from So Carolina. Spurrier is doing him and his family a total disservice.

  5. nudeman - Jun 20, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    TPDSDOMER, you are WAY overreacting in my opinion. Regarding Floyd, seems to me Kelly has been pretty firm. Yes, the player did a dumb thing. Period. But we don’t know the extent of what he’s had to do to make himself eligible to play football (he’s not eligible yet, btw). So unless you have some inside info, how can you say Kelly is being soft?

    My guess is, from what I’ve read, that the program Kelly has laid out for Floyd involves classroom and grades stuff, alcohol abstinence, comm service and counselling, with zero tolerance for underperforming in any of those areas. If I’m right about that, I’d say that’s pretty firm but pretty fair.

    Contrast that for a minute about a story I read a few weeks back about some SEC player (think it was So Carolina) who just had his 4th ARREST and is still on the team.

  6. tpdsdomer - Jun 20, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    treeplaydomer & nudeman: Thank you both very much for weighing in on this issue! I need all the perspective I can get.

    Please understand that I wish nothing but the best for Michael Floyd. It appears to me that he’s grown up tremendously since he’s been at Notre Dame except for one issue that he cannot seem to get a handle on. If there were only one instance of alcohol with him up to this point I wouldn’t be pushing the panic button, but this is three times since 2008 and I simply cannot wrap by head around it.

    You guys believe that Notre Dame is doing the right thing by keeping him in school and on the team and I truly hope you are right. Although I disagree with you, I am open-minded. However, I need to be convinced that I’m wrong and I need the University to do that for me.

    Nudeman, you guess that: “the program Kelly has laid out for Floyd involves classroom and grades stuff, alcohol abstinence, comm service and counseling, with zero tolerance for underperforming in any of those areas.”

    What you’re saying Nudeman is all well and good, and you could very well be right. However, as you wrote, that’s your guess. I need to hear about these programs for Floyd from Kelly or someone else representing the University if I’m going to feel any better about this situation.

    It appears from what I’ve seen (and appearances count a great deal, especially when facts aren’t available) that ND has told Floyd one more slip up and you’re finished at ND without publically stating that Floyd has faced any discipline or punishment for what he’s done. That simply isn’t good enough. It appears to me that ND has enabled Floyd to continue down this path much more than it’s tried to seek help for him or discipline him for his actions. Again, I’m not saying this is how it is, but without knowing the facts, this is how it appears to me and many others.

    This entire mess is putting a great cloud over the University and its reputation. Throw this in with the Declan Sullivan tragedy and a recent instance of a Notre Dame football player being accused of wrong-doing with a female student (although he was later exonerated), and Notre Dame’s reputation has taken a pounding of late. When all is said and done I sincerely hope this Michael Floyd issue somehow has a happy ending. I would love to be more optimistic than I am.

  7. nudeman - Jun 20, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    tpdsdomer, We are probably never going to know the details of the Floyd program. They seem to be appropriately private about this, and I have no problem with that. Feed that detail to the press and bloggers and it will take on a life of its own. Personally, I don’t care.

    I don’t think that this is “putting a great cloud over the University and its reputation”. That’s a tremendous overstatement. Is it something they’re proud of? No. Is it something that some like you and others will use against them? Yes, absolutely. Should they/could they have nipped this in the bud sooner? Perhaps. I don’t know the nature of the previous transgressions. But they happened under fatso with the schematic advantage, not Kelly.

    And realize this: No school has an entire roster full of choir boys. There are no doubt a lot of things we never hear about at ND and other places. Some minor; some maybe not. Let me ask you this: Did you drink alcohol before you were of age? I admit I did. And what about South Carolina with the guy who’s been arrested 4 times? My guess is he’s an awfully good ballplayer, or he’d be long gone.

    • tpdsdomer - Jun 20, 2011 at 5:25 PM

      nudeman – I do not want to use the Michael Floyd issue against anybody. I have supported and defended the University of Notre Dame on a variety of issues for more than 40 years. It’s just that when the criticism comes from the national media on this issue when the season draws near, I have no defense to offer, and that’s my biggest problem with this.

      You’re right about Floyd’s first two alcohol transgressions happening under the Weis regime and we have no way of knowing how CW handled the situation. However, nobody disputes that they happened, and it’s now Kelly who has to take the full responsibility for what goes on from the second he arrived in South Bend going forward. Has he handled this correctly? Until we know all the ins and outs of what’s happened we really have no idea, and we probably won’t ever know that. Unfortunately, appearance-wise this looks pretty bad to me and many others.

      You ask if I ever drank while underage? You bet I did, and I was pretty lucky I didn’t get in trouble for it. However, I’m pretty certain that if I had the rare and cherished privilege of representing the University of Notre Dame as a student-athlete on the football team with a full scholarship and the strong possibility of playing in the NFL, I would’ve been a heckuva lot more careful and descreet about it than Mr. Floyd has been, and odds are pretty good that I wouldn’t have touched alcohol much, if at all.

      I don’t expect Notre Dame players to be perfect, but I do expect the University to deal with conduct problems in a consistent way that helps the athlete see the wrong they’ve done, punish them for doing it and helping them never to do it again. However Notre Dame handles these situations, at least where Floyd is concerned, the University and Floyd have joined forces to fail at handling this issue.

      • papadec - Jun 20, 2011 at 7:46 PM

        When you get right down to it – how ND, or any other institution, handles their student discipline issues is none of your business – unless you are directly involved. If you are having trouble getting your head around what is happening – contact ND directly.

      • Keith Arnold - Jun 22, 2011 at 10:27 AM

        Glad to see you guys have kept this civil. @TPDS — I think you’d be shocked to see how many ND students have had “three alcohol related issues” during their four years of college. They just don’t all catch touchdowns on Saturday in front of 80,000 people. The DUI is a completely different issue and I can tell you that personally, I’m very glad the university didn’t expel him, just to follow the draconian precedent that had been in place under previous administrations.

        If the administration turned its back on Floyd after that March arrest and threw him out, some people would be happy, but others would accuse ND of turning its back on one of its own when he needed them most.

        Call me an apologist for Floyd and/or BK, but I think they are handling the issue perfectly.

      • nudeman - Jun 22, 2011 at 10:31 AM

        Does anybody here think Alabama, Florida, Clemson, USC, or Oregon would have banished him from spring practice? Or punished him at all?

        Maybe a tongue lashing or miled slap on the wrist, followed by “OK, now get out there and knock somebody on their a**”

  8. 808raiderinparadise - Jun 20, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    anyone else here about Everett Golston having a chance to start?!

    • borromini - Jun 20, 2011 at 7:28 PM

      The only chance Golson has of starting this year is if Crist and Rees are injured and Everett beats out Hendrix. He has a chance to get on the field but starting is a very remote and long prospect.

    • bernhtp - Jun 20, 2011 at 8:08 PM

      Kelly .is only going to have 3 QBs active. Unless Golson is significantly ahead of one of the others (Hendrix), I suspect he will be effectively red-shirted for his freshman year.

  9. tpdsdomer - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    papadec: If I could’ve found Jack Swarbrick or Coach Kelly’s email adresses on the Notre Dame Athletic Department website I would have contacted them already. I guess the U.S. Mail will have to do.

  10. nudeman - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    My predictions:
    1. Crist easily wins the starting job. Real question is “can he stay on the field?” Poor track record there. I like the guy a lot, better arm and leader than Clausen; but he’s had 2 sort of fluke knee injuries now so I just wonder if that’s his destiny.
    2. Aaron Lynch has the best Frosh yr of the incoming class. Ishaq Williams and Tuitt close 2nds.
    3. Michael Floyd, with much to prove, has a spectacular yr, assuming no injuries.
    4. Cam McDaniel will make a solid special team contribution, prob returning punts and kicks.
    5. If Crist gets hurt, Rees won’t have the benefit of last year’s soft run of opponents. Will struggle. (Personally, I’ve heard so much about Hendrix, I’d love to see him play)
    6. ND: 9-3 with a BCS bid.

    • pigfanincolorado - Jun 25, 2011 at 10:30 AM

      Re: nudeman’s predictions

      1. Agree it’s Crist, though I disagree slightly on the Clausen comparison. Crist definitely has a stronger arm, but isn’t close to Clausen, yet at least, on accuracy and quick release. Time will tell, but Clausen was a warrior behind a crappy line for two of his three seasons. His stats in 09 were ridiculously impressive for TD to interception ratio.
      2. It sure looks that way right now. The kid is a damn beast and it’s going to be fun to watch him team up with Nix and others to deal pain.
      3. He has a lot to prove to his fans, the scouts, but more importantly, his momma. His numbers may be off because of the other teams keying in, but that will still be ok in BK’s scheme.
      4. I sure hope SOMEBODY makes a difference. Last year was an upgrade all around, but it only got them up to just below average. It’s been hard to figure out.
      5. That would be the progression, depending on how early Crist goes down.
      6. They wouldn’t go BCS at 9-3, based on the numbers, but 9-3 would be great if they could win their bowl game. I saw Athlon had them #6 in preseason rankings. That is just too high. I think somewhere between 15 and 18 makes sense until we see how the offense comes out.

      It’s time to kick this thing off!!!!

  11. skifmli - Jun 21, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    Hmmm…
    High school stadium with video scoreboard, stadium with theater seats…
    Must be Texas

  12. tpdsdomer - Jun 22, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    Keith: Thank you very much to you and the others for responding to my concerns about the Michael Floyd issue. My mission with this was to express my deep concerns and get different perspectives on the issue, and you all have provided me with that. I greatly appreciate it!

    To your point, Keith, I totally understand that Notre Dame doesn’t want to appear to turn its back on Floyd by kicking him out of school. However, with what he’s done, I think Floyd has turned his back on Notre Dame, and whenever I’ve made mistakes in my life there have always been repercussions and I don’t see them here, aside from Floyd being told that he must NOW follow all the rules or risk expulsion.

    Oh well…

    All of you believe that the ND administration and Coach Kelly are handling this as they should, and I sincerely hope you’re right. Although nobody on this thread shares my concern on this issue (that happens a lot with me!!) I remain uncomfortable about all of this. Here’s hoping Floyd gets his life together and serves as an example on how to turn a negative in one’s life into a positive. Thanks again, everyone! GO IRISH!!

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