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Weekend six pack: plane tracker edition

Dec 2, 2011, 2:53 AM EDT

Keith Marshall

With a bowl game still to be determined, the Irish aren’t quite sure when their next game is. For players, that means a week where there isn’t a whole lot to do.

“I hate not knowing what to do with your free time,” linebacker Carlo Calabrese tweeted yesterday.

Well that makes a few thousand of us, Carlo. We’ve got a few hundred days to talk about what’s happened this season. But in a week where players twiddled their thumbs, Brian Kelly just earned enough miles to fly platinum all year.

After starting on the West Coast last weekend, Kelly criss-crossed the country, with the university’s Cessna Citation hitting nine airports before returning to South Bend around 7 p.m. Thursday night. Where did he go? Well — Let’s roll out a special weekend six pack and talk about it.

1. The battle with USC has just begun. 

The Trojans definitely got the better of the Irish on the field this year. But right now, Notre Dame is out to a lead, and trying to run out the clock with two of their most talented California recruits. Cousins Tee Shepard and Deontay Greenberry are two of the highest profile recruits that Notre Dame has currently committed. Shepard will walk onto campus with a good shot to win immediate playing time in the secondary. Greenberry is the closest thing the Irish have to Michael Floyd, and he’s not on the roster until June.

If it were up to Lane Kiffin and his coaching staff, neither will end up on the Irish roster. Within the last 48 hours, hard-core recruitniks were thrown for a tizzy when news broke that both Shepard and Greenberry planned on seeing USC this weekend. Brian Kelly reportedly took his in-home visit with Shepard earlier in the week while Mike Denbrock was welcomed into the Greenberry household. The cousins always said they’d take their official visits, but a spook job this late in the game by the Trojans — who have somehow proclaimed themselves champions of a division they weren’t technically allowed to compete for — have Irish fans worried.

According to this tweet, the worries on Shepard should be alleviated, as it appears Shepard is going nowhere except South Bend in January to enroll early. As for Greenberry, Brian Kelly has wisely saved his in-home visit, and while the Trojans may get their opportunity to entertain the 6-foot-3 wide receiver, just one look at the depth charts and his cousins decision to enroll at South Bend, and the Irish are still doing more than all right.

2. This coaching staff doesn’t take no for an answer. 

It’s amazing to think that Notre Dame is out to almost a dozen uncommitted recruits, has just a handful of spots left in the class, and is still working even harder on players that most don’t think they have a chance with. The best two examples are across the country from each other: Arizona offensive lineman Andrus Peat and South Florida cornerback Brian Poole.

Today, offensive line coach Ed Warinner put plenty to think about in Peat’s ear, and the super blue-chip prospect moved the Irish back into consideration after cooling on the team considerably. Jason Sapp of has more:

“I’d say it helped,” he shared of Notre Dame’s chances of being in the group of schools he’s looking at for his other officials. “I’m considering taking a visit again now.

“I just got a better feel for Coach Warinner, who would be my position coach if I went there, and my parents and I got to ask any questions we had about the program. I’m not sure if I’m going to take an official there yet, but I’m going to call (Irish head coach Brian) Kelly tomorrow and possibly set one up.”

Adding another massive left tackle prospect would help stockpile talent on the offensive front. But adding a guy like Poole — who has long been committed to the Florida Gators — would satisfy a huge need for the Irish, and Tony Alford‘s on the case. According to multiple reports, the Poole family is high on a Notre Dame education and has taken a look at the depth chart in front of him, giving the Irish a legitimate chance to flip another Top 100 player in the country, who has offers from just about every power team in the Southeast.

3. Carolina on the mind. 

There’s a big fish still out there. It’s Keith Marshall, the talented running back from Raleigh, North Carolina, that has Mark Richt and Brian Kelly doing battle. Marshall was named Gatorade’s National Player of the Year yesterday, and has decided to announce his college choice on December 6th, with the intention of enrolling in school early.

Yet that’s far from the only open line the Irish have down in the Carolinas. The Irish are once again hitting the area hard, and Kelly has gone and visited a trio of Carolina commitments — Charlotte natives Mark Harrell and Romeo Okwara, and also South Carolina wide receiver Chris Brown, who reported to’s Jason Sapp that he was fully qualified for next year.

All three of those recruits are below-the-radar targets, and Okwara is particularly high on the Irish board, with Notre Dame unwilling to take blue-chip recruit Tommy Schutt‘s commitment with Okwara ready to pledge Irish. Okwara is incredibly young, making his 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame something that’s easily projectable.

4. Irish fans are already getting ready to re-hate Urban Meyer.

More than a few eyebrows were raised when Kelly announced Urban Meyer would be talking at the staff’s annual coaching clinic last offseason. Didn’t this new staff know that Meyer, even if he was out of coaching, was the enemy?

Well — if Kelly wasn’t aware of it then, he’ll certainly be more mindful of it now that they’ll be running into each other on the recruiting trail. The first collision? None other than current Irish offensive line commitment Taylor Decker. But don’t worry Irish fans, Decker’s rock solid in his commitment.

“Urban Meyer called my high school coach but I didn’t talk to him directly and one of the coaches came to the school and talked to my coach,” Decker told Irish Illustrated. “My coach said it was very brief and that coach Meyer said they were interested in me. As far as I’m concerned I’m still committed to Notre Dame.”

Decker’s been committed to the Irish since March, making him one of those old reliable recruits you tend to undervalue. But the fact that in the first days of Meyer’s term in Columbus he’s talking to the Vandalia, Ohio native, well — the Irish’s prom date just got a lot more attractive.

5. It’s not 4 a.m. yet, but Bob Diaco’s back on the case.

One of the sneaky good recruiters on this coaching staff is defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, who handles the Northeast for the Irish. Last year, that meant reeling in five-star recruit Ishaq Williams at 4 a.m.when he waited outside the family’s Brooklyn home. No word on when Diaco secured the visit, but he’s talked New Jersey safety Elijah Shumate — one of the best players in the region — into an official visit for later in December. If it’s up to Diaco, he’ll be joined by his teammate cornerback Yuri Wright, who is another cornerback that could likely walk onto campus and compete for a job.

The Irish aren’t recruiting the Northeast all that hard this year, but getting Shumate and Wright on campus will be a big benefit, and if that happens Diaco proved last year he’ll go the extra mile to land them.

6. Enjoy recruiting in moderation. 

Let’s dump the sixth one out and start drinking some water. It’s the beginning of December. If we get too hot into this, we’ll be one-eyed texting by the end of the month and rolled up in a corner and fast asleep with our shoes on before Signing Day rolls around a few months from now. That’s no way for us to be, and this will never be a hotbed for recruiting news, though I’ll certainly do my best to keep you up to speed.

Still — it deserves a mention: The internet is a very open playground, and there’s now really easy ways to follow your favorite athletes and recruits, be it on Twitter, Facebook, or whatever it is the kids are enjoying these days. But it deserves an even stronger mention — consider the recruiting world the zoo. Stare all you want at the lions and tigers, but please — don’t touch them. Nothing good can happen.

So cheer for your favorite team to sign that five-star running back or quarterback, but please use your head. Don’t send messages, emails, Twitter messages, or anything else to these kids pushing them to a school. If you donate money to your favorite college, you might be committing a recruiting violation. Even if you don’t, it’s just plain weird. Think back to those days when you were 17. Would you want to see the 2011 you poking around in your life as you try and pick a college? Me neither.

  1. NDfan1224 - Dec 2, 2011 at 7:27 AM

    Great post, it would be huge if the Irish could land Elijah Shumate and Yuri Wright, I think Keith Marshall is Georgia but hey you never know GO IRISH!

  2. jerseyshorendfan1 - Dec 2, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    The zoo, ha. Perfect comparison. Look but don’t touch.

  3. oldestguard - Dec 2, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    Thanks for the great lunch-time read, Keith. Keep ’em coming.

    Okay to visualize to Marshall saying “ND” next Tuesday ?

  4. bernhtp - Dec 2, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    From all public accounts, Keith Marshall is a long shot at best. However, I trust Brian Kelly and his team to present Notre Dame very well, and if Marshall is the type of kid that highly values elite education, everything represented by Our Lady on the dome, unparalleled football tradition, commitment to the student athlete (e.g., graduation percentages), a perfect opportunity for an elite RB, and constant national exposure, then we have a good shot. In other words, expect him to enroll in January if he really is a Notre Dame kind of guy; otherwise, good luck at UGA.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Dec 2, 2011 at 6:53 PM

      with losses like we had this year. i would understand why he would go Georgia and has a chance at BCS every year and national champion contention.

      something ND hasnt had since brady quinn and matt levechio lol

  5. 808raiderinparadise - Dec 2, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Another boring year … no rise back to the top in country …… QB puzzles ….. blowing games late ……. and starting ranked in #12 in the country or 16? whatever…. we were ranked and deserved none of it.

    Year 3 Kelly ….. you better put YOUR SYSTEM QB out there …. thats not Rees, no way ….. go with Hendrix or Everett Golson.

    I say Golson.

    • bernhtp - Dec 2, 2011 at 5:34 PM

      Except for Michigan, the games we lost were lost early.

      While I’ve been critical of Rees, his play, and ultimate ceiling, I’m not about to tell BK who to start. I would be surprised to see Rees to take the first snap in Ireland, however.

      BTW: sentences end with a period and ellipses are used to indicate incomplete quotations.

      • 9irish - Dec 2, 2011 at 6:16 PM

        Shouldn’t that be, “By the way, sentences end with a period and ellipses are used to indicate incomplete quotations?” I’m not into judging perfect grammar as an extra way to kick someone in the head!

        No offense, bern

        I see his point, but don’t agree with it either.

      • 808raiderinparadise - Dec 2, 2011 at 6:45 PM

        Ok, so you guys really think our year “prized head coach hire” should enter year 3 of his tenure with Rees at QB? Rees makes ZERO thrilling plays … he doesn’t do one thing spectacular, he is mediocre across the board and can’t make plays with his feet (something Kelly covets in his QB’S system).
        Rees can’t throw a deep ball and although he has guts to step up, often his guts outwiegh his decison making and he blows it.

        What kind of ND fans are you?
        You really think Rees is suddenly going to be great?
        You want ND to go 8-5 again and Kelly be on the hot seat? He will be on the hot seat if thats the case.
        Another new coach to follow, another new scheme, new recruits …. blah blah blah

        I think Kelly is the right coach but he needs the right QB for HIS SYSTEM.
        If Golson is a quick learner than he will absoloutely shine when he plays. I guarantee it.
        Golson can run, throw and fit into this system brilliantly …he is short, small and all that BUT so was clausen and say what you want but if clausen had this years defense we wouldn’t have lost a game.
        Clausen was scoring 32 points a game his junior year and we went 6-6.

        Golson is the guy, Hendrix didn’t look like the hype he warranted. Golson for QB 2012.

        -A depressed ND fan sick of screaming at the TV and being shamed on national TV every saturday.

  6. Keith Arnold - Dec 2, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    There will be no grammar talk in these comments, gents. This isn’t high school English. (At least I hope not. I’d be in trouble.)

    • 9irish - Dec 2, 2011 at 10:20 PM

      Agreed. That’s the point I was making. We could all tear each other apart. I think of this as conversational, not work of literature.

  7. nudeman - Dec 2, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    1. Rees will start the Bowl game. Take it to the bank. I’d be shocked if BK starts Hendrix.
    2. If you’re a QB and are immobile, you better have a big arm
    3. If you’re a QB and don’t have a big arm, you better be mobile
    4. Hendrix has a big arm and is mobile and he rides the pine.
    5. Rees has zero mobility and a below average arm, yet he starts.

    What’s wrong with this picture? Oh, forgot: “Tommy gives us the best chance to win”
    No he doesn’t.
    And don’t tell me he hasn’t learned the offense; he’s a pre-Med major.

    So go ahead BK, start Rees in the Bowl game (Because I know you will).
    And put in the proverbial “Hendrix package” that frequently results in zero snaps.

    But this needs to be Tommy’s last hurrah. Next year it needs to be Hendrix or Golson.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Dec 2, 2011 at 8:59 PM

      thank you. i agree. its gotta be GOLSON in my opinion.


      on another subject can I say “imo” that would mean “in my opinion”

      and for all of you upset about grammar in here, your the exact people who want ND to not change their helmets, or band songs or ever keep up with the changing of the college football scene.

      I was an english major …. this is a blog, you keep it casual ……

      and as always


      • 9irish - Dec 3, 2011 at 5:38 AM

        Hey, I was sticking up for you on the “grammar” thing….pretty petty. As for the rest of it, I don’t really voice an opinion too much (doesn’t matter) with coaching decisions, don’t agree or disagree, but I have my opinions. I just assume they know more than I do. And I hope they figure it out. Soon.

      • 1historian - Dec 7, 2011 at 9:19 PM

        split infinitives are yucky

    • bernhtp - Dec 2, 2011 at 10:26 PM

      NudeOne: I tend to agree that Rees will start the bowl. However, I also expect to see the Hendrix package in early. If Rees struggles ala Stanford, the Hendrix package will stay in.

    • papadec - Dec 3, 2011 at 1:55 AM

      There’s the nudeman we know, and love. Right on. I see Rees getting the start, BUT Hendrix coming in when Rees can’t score.

      • nudeman - Dec 3, 2011 at 12:19 PM

        I don’t know about that.

        Here are a couple scenarios I could see playing out:

        1. Rees struggles early, ND gets DOWN a score or two, Kelly is reluctant to put Andrew in because (he doesn’t know the offense”, which of course is pure BS)
        2. ND starts out strong, gets UP a score or two and Kelly wants to keep riding the Tommy Train.
        3. Bonus: Close game, can’t afford to put a QB in who hasn’t had that many snaps, so the Tommy Train rolls on and Andrew just signals plays in.

        The point: Don’t count on anything logical where Kelly and Rees are concerned.

  8. ajw21 - Dec 2, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    808: so Hendrix plays one half and didnt live up to the hype? Golson hasn’t played a snap and he is the answer? Next year your want the next qb we recruit. Truth is we have no idea how well Hendrix or Golson will do or how good they will be. Glad you don’t make the decisions.

  9. gtizzo - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    Nice work Keith,

    This article is a nice breakdown. So many people in the Georgia camp with Marshall buy why? Crowell is going to be the guy next season and take a majority of the carries. Marshall could see the field as a freshman when ND runs the ball. Savon Huggins was a guy ND was after last season and they didn’t lose him because of wins and losses, he wanted to stay home so he went to Rutgers. Keep in mind Jimmy Clausen made his commit to ND during as season they were 3-9. Manti T’eo was suppose to go to USC, Lynch to FSU, Tuitt to Georgia Tech and so on…they are all Irish. The media plays the win loss game in reality its parents and coaches that are the biggest factors. Don’t forget academics it does matter.

    • tlndma - Dec 3, 2011 at 1:50 PM

      It has been reported on multiple websites that K. Marshall has eliminated ND. Kevarie Russell is our next best bet at RB. There have been reports of Crowell looking to get out of Georgia.

  10. gtizzo - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:26 PM

    Ok Keith,

    Forget the Clause comment in my last post I think its wrong. Keith any word in T’eo plans to stay or go to the NFL? He might be a huge target for Kelly to convince to stay would be nice to have an All American linebacker to anchor the defense.

    • notredamegrad - Dec 3, 2011 at 12:04 PM

      Gtizzo, Clausen, as you say, didn’t commit during/after the 3-9 season (2007), but Kyle Rudolph, Michael Floyd, Dayne Crist, and others did (all the more reason to be grateful for the outgoing senior class).

      The current buzz is that Te’o will leave for the NFL, based largely on something he tweeted a few days ago – “@MTeo_5: @KyleRudolph82 @JimmyClausen and it begins!” Of course, Rudy and Clausen left after their junior seasons and other CFB juniors are filing paperwork with the NFL right now. But who knows.

  11. herringbonesports - Dec 3, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    Keith Marshall? I heard a few reports that he was now out of the running with ND. I also heard that ND had actually pulled themselves away.

    Anybody have an update on this?

    I always love to hear about Florida speedsters that have SEC offers and are interested in ND, so hopefully Poole is a guy with serious consideration. I’ve been diappointed in Lo Wood’s progression at CB mostly due to his really rigid hips, fluidity, and below average acceleration. When I think “Class of 2012” I’m hoping for 4-5 guys that possibly project at corner, and the more in the speed mold the better.

  12. leftcoastirishfan - Dec 3, 2011 at 3:19 AM

    Does anybody know why ND had one unused scholarship in 2011?

    • 9irish - Dec 3, 2011 at 5:28 AM

      That is a good question…I did not know that.

    • dmac4real - Dec 3, 2011 at 2:39 PM

      Alex Bullard transfered in the spring after singing day…Thatd be my guess.

  13. acieu - Dec 3, 2011 at 3:49 AM

    A whole website devoted to a mediocre football program that hasn’t been relevant since the 1980s? Notre Dame the definition of a mid major wannabe.

    • 9irish - Dec 3, 2011 at 5:23 AM

      God…another one of you guys. Where is your school website and why are you here? Oh, yeah, it’s Notre Dame!

  14. norcalirish - Dec 3, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    “…and for all of you upset about grammar in here, your the exact people who want ND to not change their helmets, or band songs or ever keep up with the changing of the college football scene.”

    I hardly care about grammar on a blog (it’s you’re btw) but I do care about my alma mater’s football helmets and how f-ing stupid they look. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible, but they looked even worse in person. My Northern California sun made them look like halogen filled radioactive neon Christmas ornaments. I might even buy one and hang it on my tree to ward off evil spirits.

    However, I DO think ND should just get rid of the dumb old band and just play ozzy all the time. The band is a stupid, expensive and worthless tradition. WHO CARES if it is the oldest university band in continuous existence? Recruits don’t listen to band music. Ozzy is hip. Kids like hip. Right?

    *A hip kid whispers in my ear*…wait, what? I’ve just been told that Ozzy is apparently not hip, and hasn’t been for *more whispers*…oh wow, like, four decades? Hmm….

    Now that i think about it, you know what we should do to REALLY modernize? Have a DJ booth set up at each home game and have the cast of Jersey Shore have trashy dance parties during each tv timeout. We could give prizes for the best orange hued fake tits and replace Touchdown Jesus with the world’s largest hot tub. The CSC folks probably won’t like it, but WHO CARES. Recruits don’t look at murals, they look at tits. And hot tubs are hip. Kids like hip. Right?

    • dmac4real - Dec 3, 2011 at 2:54 PM

      Deep breaths. Youll get over it.

    • 9irish - Dec 3, 2011 at 6:23 PM

      Ha! I couldn’t figure out how that got into that “grammar” issue, either. Don’t see the connection. I voiced my opinions about the weird uniforms, that horse is dead. Ozzy, hey I love the guy, but he’s one of the craziest bastards in the world. I still think ND needs to stick to what they have, image wise. I like the noise and the imaginary jumbotron, but don’t try to go out of your box to far. (still like green jerseys, though, occasionally. with white numbers. and it doesn’t have to be a second-coming type event)

  15. papadec - Dec 3, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    nudeman – Kelly would play his mother to get a bowl win, and better record this year than last year. If Rees doesn’t get the job done in the 1st qtr – Hendrix is in. The only thing logical, I count on, is Kelly’s desire to have a better record each year.

  16. somebadhatharry - Dec 3, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    For selfish reasons I hope Teo stays for another year. I also don’t think he’s ready for the pass happy NFL. Really needs to improve in pass coverage before going to the NFL. But that’s just my opinion.

    • papadec - Dec 3, 2011 at 7:31 PM

      Very valid opinion – totally agree with his need to improve pass coverage.

  17. mudslider - Dec 4, 2011 at 3:46 AM

    Good luck Dayne. See you at the next level.

    • 9irish - Dec 4, 2011 at 6:32 AM

      Just heard about him leaving. I don’t know…difficult decisions that everyone can argue about. No time machine available, unfortunately.

      • bernhtp - Dec 4, 2011 at 10:59 AM

        No arguing here. Dayne is a class guy who has done everything, and more, of what asked him. He obviously has had some really bad luck, but deserves another chance to see if pro football is in his future. I hope that someone gives him that shot and he succeeds (ala Wilson).

  18. mudslider - Dec 4, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    He will get a shot somewhere.

    Doesn’t he know the Florida OC?

    • nudeman - Dec 4, 2011 at 12:25 PM

      Chi Trib article mentions Utah, Wisconsin and San Diego State as possible suitors for him
      FL a possibility too since he knows CW.

      I’ll bet he does something in or near CA. I don’t know the particulars of SD State’s needs but they historically have a rep as a high flying offensive minded team. Easy for family to come watch him there.

      RIP Dayne.

      You are a classy guy and got shafted by BK. Good luck wherever you go.
      By the way, would it be too much to ask that you take Tommy with you?

      • don74 - Dec 4, 2011 at 1:07 PM


        LOL. The Rees horse is horizontal. Need to beat on something else.

        All the best to Dayne. He held a recruiting class together through that 3-9 season. Committed early and demonstrated leadership every step of the way. As I Kelly supporter his handling of Dayne is the one move that causes concern. Benching him for someone that was a better system fit, ok. But switching him out with Tommy…?

        My only guess is he want neither but Hendrix wasnt ready to handle the load. Let’s see what the bowl brings.

  19. 1historian - Dec 7, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    I’ve said this before but here I go again.
    The story is told of the 1989 Super Bowl. Cincinnati had just scored with less than 2 minutes to go to go ahead of San Francisco. The offense was standing on the sideline and one of them said “we’ve just won the Super Bowl.”

    (As the legend goes Austin Collinsworth’s dad) Chris Collinsworth said “Don’t be too sure – have you seen who’s playing Quarterback for San Francisco?”

    The reference, of course, is to Joe Montana.

    The point is that Kelly is looking for that guy – the guy who calmly trots on the field with the fate of the universe on the line and inspires his teammates to do things they didn’t know they could do and the universe is saved. (I STILL remember that Cotton Bowl!) It obviously wasn’t Crist it doesn’t seem to be Rees, although he does get the most out of what he’s got, and Kelly doesn’t believe it’s Hendrix. (Yet?)

    Which leaves Golson. He is the first 100% Kelly QB recruit and unless the excrement hits the air circulator on the 29th he’ll get through his red-shirt season, leaving him 4 years.

    Any news on Kiel?

    This is going to be a very interesting off-season.

    Dayne – good luck kid and thanks.

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