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Weekend notes: Rees, Anzalone, Zaire, and more

May 5, 2012, 1:10 PM EDT

Malik Zaire

As much as I enjoy reading the 200 odd comments (I’m trying to get figured out the technical bugs) about the arrests of Tommy Rees and Carlo Calabrese, let’s do our best to get some football discussed on here. First — Let’s put a pin in the Rees discussion (for now), as nothing more — from a material perspective at least — will break until Rees’ court appearance, scheduled for mid-May.

Rees’ arrest makes things even more interesting going into the summer. With four quarterbacks tasked with taking charge during summer workouts to get a firm grasp on the starting job, having one guy potentially facing school suspensions and serious legal issues seems like it could be a mighty distraction. That said, for all the bluster that’s come and gone since late Wednesday night, here are my thoughts on what’s most likely going to happen.

  • Most people continue to compare this to the Michael Floyd DUI situation. As I said before, take the test case of Mike Ragone instead. Ragone’s arrest had many people up in arms after he was stopped on the Indiana Toll Road with marijuana, but the school didn’t impose the draconian punishment that it did on Kyle McAlarney. Instead, Ragone received an undisclosed punishment (most likely meted out during summer school), and was with the team from day one of fall camp.
  • Floyd also had in his favor timing. Getting arrested right before spring ball gave Kelly and the coaching staff the ability to discipline him during the 15-practice spring session. Many made a big deal of Floyd being allowed to work out during voluntary workouts over the summer, but in reality, that voluntary nature likely makes it difficult for the coaching staff to regulate who does and doesn’t work out with the team. I don’t expect Rees to face any limitations during summer workouts, especially after his court date in a few weeks.

From a football perspective, there’s no way that this incident can help Rees win the starting job. Any altercation with police shows bad decision-making in action, and after a season where Tommy made too many on the field, a big one off the field doesn’t help either. Whether it’s an All-American wide receiver or a reserve tight end, Brian Kelly has been consistent with his punishment of players. So while we can all hypothesize about a one or two game suspension for Rees, history has shown we’re far more likely to see him in uniform against Navy than not.

***

One of Notre Dame’s top linebacking targets has reopened his commitment after pledging to Ohio State. Alex Anzalone, A Wyomissing, Pennsylvania linebacker with offers from just about every powerhouse program in the country, took back the commitment he made to Urban Meyer during the Buckeyes’ spring game and reopened his recruitment. The Irish had been on Anzalone’s short-list before the commitment and are hoping to get back in on the talented linebacker, a position of need in the 2013 recruiting class.

Anzalone was initially evasive with his reasons for walking away from his commitment, but in an interview with the Reading Eagle, his father, Dr. Sal Anzalone, was more than candid.

“There’s a disconnect between what Alex thought was there and what is actually there,” Dr. Anzalone told the Eagle. “Something’s just not right at Ohio State. It’s not for him.”

The younger Anzalone, pictured here with Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer  after making his commitment (getting the Charlie Weis championship ring treatment), fell immediately for the Ohio State experience. But many are speculating that what happened on that recruiting trip also led to his decision to eliminate the Buckeyes nine months before signing day.

Most point the finger at “super-fan” Eric Waugh, who had built up quite a following on Twitter sending motivational tweets and messages to Buckeye players and recruits. That, in and of itself, tiptoes the line of acceptability. Adding an even creepier element to all of this is Waugh’s past. The Lantern, the Ohio State school newspaper, first reported that Waugh is a registered sex offender, and the school’s compliance department warned student-athletes of Waugh, after multiple photos of Waugh with Buckeye players and recruits had been posted on Waugh’s twitter page.

One photo featured Anzalone with Irish commitment Mike Heuerman, and blue-chip defensive end Joey Bosa, taken over the Scarlett and Gray game weekend.

source:

***

That seemed to be all that the Anzalone family needed to turn the bus around and back out from the Buckeye commitment. Per an ESPN Recruiting Nation story, Anzalone was already on shaky ground with his decision, and that experience solidified it.

That was enough to spook Anzalone, who already had experienced some regret about his early college decision, his father said.

“You would think that these kinds of people would be kept at a distance away from recruits,” Sal Anzalone said. “The fact that he got close to recruits was the issue. Keep people like this away from them. I can’t be everywhere.”

Sal Anzalone urged his son to decommit after word began to spread about Waugh.

“Separate yourself,” Sal Anzalone said, “because you don’t want the NCAA thinking that you’re being influenced by this joke.”

Taking the sex-offender angle out of this, communicating with student-athletes and perspective student-athletes via the internet is never a good idea. I’ve said it multiple times before, but it’s an eligibility and NCAA rules-laden minefield, and also a slippery slope that far too often causes more harm than good.

(Irish fans taking shots at Tee Shepard and Aaron Lynch via Twitter and Facebook take note.)

***

Back to the football field, Irish commitment Malik Zaire competed for a spot in the Elite 11, held this year just a few miles from the Inside the Irish HQ in Redondo Beach, California. Zaire was working out in Columbus, where a collection of the Midwest’s best quarterbacks competed for a coveted invite to the finals in California.

Multiple reports have Zaire holding his own, among the three most talented players at the camp along with Ohio State commit Jalin Marshall and Michigan commitment Shane Morris. It was Morris that locked down an invitation to the South Bay yesterday, with Zaire among the final choices. He’ll compete again today.  (Don’t feel bad Irish fans, Morris is at his second camp location, after failing to get an invite earlier in the offseason.)

“I think I came out and I did a pretty good job,” Zaire told Irish Illustrated. “I saw a lot of things I need to work on but at the same time I competed well with Shane and the other guys. I have a little bitter taste in my mouth, but I’ll definitely be back out tomorrow and try to win that spot.”

Without the ability to show-off the running skills that made him one of the best dual-threat prospects in the 2013 recruiting class, Zaire had to earn his keep with his throwing arm and fundamentals, things that he seemed to do just fine.

“I’ve never met him, didn’t even know who he was until today,” wide receiver prospect Jack Wangler told ESPN.com about Zaire. “But I liked the way he threw the ball. I didn’t even know him and I felt like I could’ve played with him all day. I think every receiver felt that way.”

We’ll be tracking down Yogi Roth, who has worked as both a QB coach at the college level and hosts the Elite 11 television coverage for ESPN, to get more on Zaire. But early reports are in that the Irish’s QB recruit seems to be every bit the player Notre Dame fans hoped for.

***

To end this story on a far different note, Coldplay was at the Hollywood Bowl last night, and paid tribute to Adam Yauch, better known as MCA of the Beastie Boys. Thought this was a pretty cool rendition of a classic.

  1. nudeman - May 5, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Not terribly hard to tell who the pedophile is in that picture

    • uawlocal1136 - May 7, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      Nudeman,

      Try wearing vertical stripes next time. The horizontal make you look a bit, well….portly.

      Buy American, Buy Union.

      • nudeman - May 7, 2012 at 12:06 PM

        Goat/Hall Monitor/UAW
        If I had a screen name that referenced a human performing a sex act on an animal … well I’d lay a little lower on these sort of topics if I was you.

        You are a holier than thou, sanctimonious clown who has made it your mission to make sure no one ever says anything critical of ND or … SHOCKING … uses a four letter word.

        Quite simply I think you should go back and listen to your Best of Neil Diamond or perhaps get out and get some exercise. Maybe swim a lap or run around the garage. But make sure you have your defibrillator nearby.

      • domer77blowsgoats - May 7, 2012 at 12:46 PM

        I don’t know how many times we have stated not the same person, but oh well – we share a common enemy so close enough…

        might want to try a couple sizes bigger too

        thanks UAW for putting a face, and more disturbingly, a body to the mental image of nudeman sitting, well, nude, at his computer hammering the refresh button on netscape for hours waiting for the next post here or HLS….

      • uawlocal1136 - May 7, 2012 at 1:03 PM

        Nude,

        You really are hilarious. No,No, I am not goat, although from time to time he has humored me in the past…as you have now and then, although I do struggle with recalling exactly when. I surface now and again when comment warrants.

        You make fun of my Neil Diamond collection (how did you know?). Yet, you reference the Allman Brothers, Dead and REM. Why no Karen Carpenter, no Mama Cass, no Dusty Springfield? So you see, we are more alike than you think, perish the thought.

        Buy American. Buy Union.

  2. dickasman - May 5, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    First of all, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh hahahahahahahahaahahhahahaahahahahahahahahaahahhahahahahaahahahahahaahaaaaa. Let me get my laughs in before they horse pound us in orange bowl 89-0. Take that buckeyes!!!(for those naughtier people, replace b with F). That program is soon dirty in all sports they make miami look like Clorox.

    Nude looks like this guy gives corky a bad name,

  3. gtizzo - May 5, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Keith,

    I think your coverage of the Ohio State recruiting stir is the best I have read. You seem to have the best details and your story makes the most sense. I have a small request with the possible change to the BCS post season I was wondering your thoughts on the matter. How will it affect Notre Dame? I have my own ideas but would love to read yours. Thanks for info.

  4. nudeman - May 5, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    By the way, on Zaire he seems like the prototype for what BK is looking for.
    Sort of like Golson but without the difficulty learning the playbook.

    If the Irish can get through this year respectably without more ridiculous incidents like the USF game, the last minute of the UM game and the FSU mess, I REALLY like the way things are setting up the next few years.

    Golson, GK and Zaire as QBs
    GA III, Mahone, Russell and Neal as elite offensive talent
    Tremendous O Line recruiting and coaching
    Heurmann, Welch and Niklas at TE
    Tuitt, Day and Nix on the D Line
    Ishaq coming on at LB
    Secondary getting better but along with WR, still not where it needs to be

    I’m sure I’ve left names out, so don’t jump my ass. The point is from an ALL AROUND talent perspective, things look much, much better than in a long time.

    Also, on another board I saw a few posts talking about moving Hendrix to LB, so I’m not the only one out there thinking he’s out of position. I still say at LB or Safety – he could be an All American.

    • bernhtp - May 5, 2012 at 7:32 PM

      I think the probability of Hendrix changing positions was near zero last week, and it is significantly lower now that it appears the presumptive leader for QB may be out of the competition, at least for a while.

      I agree that there is a lot to like about the general direction of the program. However, it has been a tough spring with the loss of Shepard, Lynch, and now the problems with Rees. (I think that Carlo will be fine).

      • nudeman - May 5, 2012 at 9:38 PM

        Clearly they can’t move AH now.
        And I said that even before Tommy was run down by a cabbie and a cop.
        (I still can’t get over that)

        However, there’s a very reasonable scenario where next year the move makes sense. It is possible, even probably that AH doesn’t play much this year. Rees will be back; AG will probably be the starter. That leaves AH as the 3rd man in for 2012, not counting occasional “package” appearances.

        So next year (2013), you’ve got Rees, a more mature GK and an experienced EG; and then Zaire as the man of the future.

        So AH is the odd man out. What do you do? Let him hold a clipboard all year? He’s too good for that.

        He’s an exceptional athlete who LOVES contact. He’s big, fast and in my opinion would be a great OLB and/or FS.

    • clannahaw - May 5, 2012 at 8:54 PM

      100% on point, good post. Go ahead and put pressure on BK to win, but give credit with where he has made improvements. The offense isn’t as good as 4/5 of the Weis era, but is there anything else on the field specifically that he hasn’t improved on?

      • audomer - May 8, 2012 at 11:04 AM

        try special teams for instance. Punt return was abysmal..

      • clannahaw - May 8, 2012 at 9:19 PM

        Punt return is worse, punting is a push, kick returns are significantly better, and kickoff coverage is a push at worst (I would argue it is better, but the rule changes also have an impact here). Hard to say that special teams are worse overall.

  5. fnc111 - May 5, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Problem is ND still doesn’t have a QB. The most important player on the field. So I disagree with nude because there isn’t improvement when your team loses the majority if future games by three to sex points because the QB can’t move the ball. Like the FSU. We will see a lot if 18-14 losses this year.

  6. txirish2 - May 5, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    Nude,

    That first comment could be your thumbs up record! Well done sir.

    I can see a scenario where Hendrix changes positions in 2013. Then again, the same could be true of Golson if he doesn’t end up starting this year.

    Anzalone would be a good get. Recruiting has been going well. Corner is thin, though. Maybe one of the slot guys can transition. I sure hope so.

    RIP MCA

  7. jerseyshorendfan1 - May 5, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Keith, I haven’t gotten on your case in awhile but feel compelled now to question your judgment if you think that Coldplay version of the Beastie Boys was any good. Also, perspective should be prospective, taken should be taking and what’s with this sentence: I’m trying to get figured out the technical bugs. Did you suddenly turn Latvian on us or something? I’m thinking the Excise cops should have ordered you away from your computer. Seriously though, it’d be great to get Anzalone and Heuerman both away from tOSU. Would go a long way toward establishing Kelly as a force in recruiting.

    • nudeman - May 5, 2012 at 11:41 PM

      Call me an old fart, but I’m still partial to the Allman Bros, Dead and REM
      Boz Scaggs too
      But that’s just me
      Goat probably is a big Carpenters and Bread fan

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - May 6, 2012 at 1:17 AM

        you’re an old fart

  8. joeschu - May 6, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Wouldn’t Golson seem the more natural transition and mentor to Zaire? We can’t afford to go scrapping the playbook every 2 years b/c of “limited’ skill-sets.

  9. cpfirish - May 6, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    Hey lets all just face it!! EG is the man for the next four years! This kid is way to talented! I watched the spring game and EG was by far the best. He is our future!!!.. Yes he will make a few mistakes, fumbling a bad snap but he gained a few yards out of it rees would of lost five. it will be a very long season if TR is the QB!! Come on EG and lets go irish!! ND 34 Navy 14..!! Haha..

    • nudeman - May 7, 2012 at 10:50 AM

      I think that’s a little ambitious re: Golson. I like the guy a lot and think he’ll start in Dublin.
      But by next year he’ll have his hands full holding off Gunner.

  10. bernhtp - May 7, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    There are too many posts saying that Golson is the obvious starting QB. We’ve seen some electric moments from him, but also some serious need for development. You don’t see enough in a spring game, with its contrived rules and personnel mixes, to come to a conclusion.

    The QB competition will go well through the summer and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kelly use two QBs – Hendrix and Golson – especially in early games. It seemed that Hendrix was ahead in the depth chart before the spring game. Whatever impact the B&G game had will be dwarfed in importance by what happens in summer camp and practice.

    If I had to bet, I think that Rees gets off of suspension before the end of the season, but it’s obviously very early in the process to have any conviction (haha) on this. I think he returns as #3 on the depth chart with Kiel taking a redshirt year.

    Here’s a prediction: injuries play a role in QB minutes this season. Both Golson and Hendrix use their feet to buy seconds and make plays. Golson is pretty small and Hendrix likes to take on linebackers head first on the read option. They have a higher likelihood of being knocked out. They might burn Kiel’s redshirt if he makes significant progress by midseason and there are QB injuries and/or poor execution, especially if Rees is out longer.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - May 7, 2012 at 11:31 AM

      Good point bern. I like it.

    • nudeman - May 7, 2012 at 12:10 PM

      I am not convinced Rees will face a suspension.

      Everything is a misdemeanor now and looking at Floyd who had multiple DUIs (right?) he missed no time. A repeat offender and he missed no snaps.

      I’d guess Rees will pay some sort of price, and he MIGHT be suspended but I’m betting 60/40 he’s in uniform vs. Navy. Not so sure anymore that he will start, though that’s not impossible to see either.

      • bernhtp - May 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM

        Floyd had two MIPs in Minnesota while at home away from campus before he got his DUI.

        There will be some sanctions against Tommy and I think there is near-zero likelihood of him starting the Navy game. Given the nature of the incident, the four charges against him, and the big publicity hit the university has taken, my bet is that he is suspen

      • nudeman - May 7, 2012 at 1:55 PM

        bern
        I defer to you, and you make a good point, particularly on the publicity hit angle.
        I suppose he’ll be suspended.

        I know I’ve managed to brand myself as the foremost ATR (anybody but TR) guy here, so my words will hold minimal water. But is the best thing because it will absolutely 100% force Kelly (who I’m convinced has a blindspot where Rees is concerned) to give up the security blanket, cold turkey. Period. End of subject.

        Otherwise I am convinced he’d have started Rees in Dublin

      • domer77blowsgoats - May 7, 2012 at 3:00 PM

        other than omitting calling TR a “paperboy” i think I’ve read the above post at least 73 times in the last 2 weeks….

      • bernhtp - May 7, 2012 at 3:06 PM

        Somehow my comments got cut off, but I was saying that I suspect Rees will be suspended for at least the first two games, which would frankly be perfect. For reasons I gave, I believe he will be needed for depth. If Gunner doesn’t develop very quickly, we don’t want to burn a year of eligibility without significant benefit. With that said, It’s hard to get five-star players to stay beyond three years, let alone five, so the redshirt is probably moot anyway.

      • nudeman - May 7, 2012 at 3:55 PM

        Goat/UAW/HallMonitor

        Likes:
        White wine, Tommy Rees, Harry Potter, doing karaoke, soccer, the color chartreuse, Lindsey Lohan, brussel sprouts, nun habits

        Dislikes:
        Dogs, anyone who writes anything critical of ND, mankind

        Really, you should just leave this board, as you add zero value
        Addition by subtraction

      • audomer - May 8, 2012 at 11:23 AM

        How old is nudeman?? or should he be called nudeboy?

        Most of your comments are of a lucid nature, but who really cares when you go on the attack when someone questions you?

        Lighten up!

        (I just opened an account to get this off my chest, i’m sure i’ll be attacked soon….stay tuned)

      • nudeman - May 8, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        No, sorry. No attack from me anyway.
        I’m curious though what inspired you to post this message. I attacked no one in my post.

        Perhaps you should retire from here after 1 at-bat.
        Not sure this is for you. Take Goat with you, please. Perhaps you 2 can go open a tanning salon.

      • audomer - May 9, 2012 at 8:08 AM

        Your likes and dislikes above is pretty mature, but stating the obvious is lost on you

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