Rees Calabrese Mug Shot

Rees, Calabrese face uncertainty after off-campus arrest

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Tommy Rees and Carlo Calabrese were arrested by South Bend police after an off-campus party was broken up just after midnight. Calabrese, who is 21, faces disorderly conduct charges, and has been bonded out of jail for $150. Rees, who is only 20, faces more serious charges, including public intoxication, resisting law enforcement, minor consumption, and battery to an officer, which is a felony charge.

Multiple news outlets are reporting that Rees ran from the scene of the party, and was taken to the ground by a police officer. Rees allegedly kneed the officer in the stomach, leading to the felony charge, before he was pepper sprayed. Calabrese argued loudly with police, unwilling to stay on a sidewalk while he watched his friend arrested, leading to his arrest.

Wednesday marked the final day of classes at Notre Dame. The late night arrest also marks another offseason storyline that’ll likely loom large until the Irish head to Dublin. For Calabrese, the stakes aren’t likely as high, and you can expect him back in an Irish uniform on opening day. But for Rees, the Irish’s starting quarterback whose job is already under fire after an open competition this spring, the future isn’t as clear, especially with a felony charge looming. (A felony charge that might not last until 1 p.m. ET, when Rees is formally arraigned.)

The rush to define this story is already in full swing, with news leaking late last night and an avalanche of information already taking over social media and the college football web-world today. (Adam Jacobi, a well-respected writer now working at the Bleacher Report has already taken the reins on the “Expel Tommy Rees or Notre Dame has lost its principles story,” with his original source being an anonymous message board poster.)

Even with the most serious charge dropped, it was a bone-headed decision by Rees, choosing to run when South Bend police arrived at a party because of a noise complaint. With early reports of Rees kicking a police office turning into a potentially accidental knee to the abdomen, the early rumors of what happened have quickly turned into something far less sensational. “It wasn’t terribly violent, but it was enough to be considered resisting,” South Bend police Captain Phil Trent told the Chicago Tribune, while also saying that a police office “had the wind knocked out of him” while trying to stop the group running away.

The arrest of two Notre Dame football players at an off-campus party is certainly newsworthy, but you can’t help but wonder what the reaction would be like if the player facing the most serious charges wasn’t the quarterback almost universally reviled by a fan base that’s put last season’s disappointment almost squarely on his shoulders. People will immediately look at Michael Floyd‘s DUI arrest as the easiest comparison for the Rees case, but if you’re looking for precedent, look back two off seasons to tight end Mike Ragone‘s arrest on the Indiana Toll Road for marijuana possession. Ragone, leaving South Bend after the spring semester ended, was arrested and booked for possession, an incident that had many thinking it was the end of the road for the star-crossed tight end.

At the time, the response out of South Bend was this: “Coach Kelly is aware of the situation and feels it is a serious matter,” Notre Dame’s Brian Hardin said. “He has spoken with Mike, but any team-related action that may be forthcoming would be handled internally.”

Today, Notre Dame also released a statement after the arrests of Calabrese and Rees:

“The University is aware of this incident and is confident that it will be handled in a prompt and professional manner through the criminal justice system. Internal discipline is handled privately in accord with our own policies and federal law.”

It’s clear there’ll be internal discipline from Notre Dame, both from the University and the football program. If Rees’ felony stays in play, there’s also a real chance that he’s played his last down for the Irish. While it may be fun to be first, or to have the strongest opinion, incidents like this often take more than a few hours to play out. And if we’ve learned anything in these two years since Brian Kelly took over the football program, they rarely play out in public.

We know for sure Tommy Rees and Carlo Calabrese made a bad decision last night. What comes next, we’ll have to wait and see.

UPDATED: 3:06 p.m. ET — Head coach Brian Kelly has released a statement through Notre Dame:

“I am aware of last night’s incident involving two of our football players. I am of course very concerned given the nature of the allegations, but I am still gathering information. I’ll withhold judgment until I can collect all the facts and speak with both Carlo and Tommy.”

SECOND UPDATE — Rees was released on $250 bond and felony charges have been dropped. He still faces four misdemeanor charges.

Five Irish players sign UFA contracts

Matthias Farley
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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
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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

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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)
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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.