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Irish pick up commitment from touted LB Alex Anzalone

Jul 8, 2012, 9:20 PM EDT


With the spotlight on him during halftime of the 7-on-7 championship game at The Opening in Oregon, Alex Anzalone gave Notre Dame another blue-chip linebacker in the 2013 recruiting class.

Joining Jaylon Smith, Michael Deeb, and Danny Mattingly at the linebacker position, the Irish have filled a gigantic position of need with one of the most talented position groupings in the country, adding to the treasure trove of front-seven talent Notre Dame is stockpiling under head coach Brian Kelly.

Anzalone’s recruitment has seen its fair share of twists and turns, with the Wyomissing, Pennsylvania making an early commitment this spring to Ohio State before stepping away from the decision. In the months following, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound linebacker seemed to be favoring Florida, Penn State, and Notre Dame depending on the week, with the Irish always in the mix for one of the country’s best players.

How Notre Dame ended up closing Anzalone was a dogged pursuit by coaches, players, and fellow recruits. Joined in Oregon by Irish commitments Smith, Corey Robinson, Steve Elmer, James Onwualu, Devin Butler and Colin McGovern, Anzalone cited his comfort level with his future teammates as a big reason he’ll be playing his college football in South Bend.

“They’re awesome,” Anzalone said of his future teammates. “They’re all really close. Even when I was uncommitted they took me in like I was committed. They’re a group of special guys. I love them.”

Academics and the Irish coaching staff also played a huge role in landing Anzalone. With Kelly and Bob Diaco working hard to land what looks to be Manti Te’o’s heir apparent, Anzalone won’t shy away from the lofty comparison, with plans to wear the No. 5 jersey as well after enrolling early.

Anzalone had an impressive offer list, with Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma, Stanford, USC and at leat a dozen other teams chasing the linebacker. Anzalone is the 17th commitment to the class of 2013, rocketing the Irish’s recruiting class into one of the top groupings in the country.



  1. 1historian - Jul 10, 2012 at 5:52 AM

    I’ve been getting some thumbs down for saying that if this isn’t the year then Kelly is in trouble.

    In my defense

    Step 1 – no more losing at home to teams Syracuse & Connecticut.
    Step 2 –

  2. 1historian - Jul 10, 2012 at 5:58 AM

    Step 2 – Stop beating ourselves, e.g. USF, Michigan

    IMO we have the talent to match just about anyone, but we seem to lack the attitude.

    We need people to step up on BOTH sides of the ball

    IMO Kelly should settle on a starting QB asap and that’s that.

    • nudeman - Jul 10, 2012 at 10:48 AM

      I don’t know why you’d get thumbs down for stating those things. They are completely valid observations. Only things I’d add/clarify are this:

      1) “in trouble” – I agree here, but I don’t think that equates to a “win now” mandate for 2013. If they throw away a bunch of games – again – this year with sloppy play and lose to Lower East Louisiana, there will be a serious sit down with Swarbrick and he’ll mandate some changes on the staff to clean things up. In other words, someone will be scapegoated.

      2) QB. Do you notice how the defenders of Tommy Rees here have almost totally disappeared? I think the final straw was the BG game.
      BK absolutely can’t go any further on this track or he should be fired. The good news is that I think he knows that. I hope.
      I’d guess there’s a crash course going on to get Golson ready.
      I hope.

      • bernhtp - Jul 10, 2012 at 6:31 PM

        I’m certainly not a Tommy defender, but don’t believe it’s impossible for him to get the starting job (though unlikely). This would not automatically get Kelly into trouble unless, of course, he loses for the same reason as last year: turnovers and poor QB performance.

        I do believe that someone more athletic (everyone/anyone else) will take the QB job. I liked this quote describing the expectation:

        “They’re all in position to battle for the job, win the job, but we’re looking for somebody to take the job — with plays, with actions, with demeanor, the whole deal,” said offensive coordinator Chuck Martin.

        This from a B&G article on Kiel.

      • nudeman - Jul 10, 2012 at 6:57 PM

        I don’t like Tommy Rees. Period.

        Aside from playing bad football, I thought – as did many others – that on several occasions he’s exhibited terrible body language and zero leadership under adversity. In fact he’s been detrimental more than he’s been a leader.

        He pouted after being pulled in the Stanford game after an impossibly bad 1st half. Against FSU, the final interception to officially lose the game looked to me like a “WTF throw”. His body language on the sidelines was embarrassing.

        He strikes me as a petulant, immature kid and I’m tired of his defenders making all sorts of excuses for him. If he “checks us out of bad plays and into good ones” so often, why does the offense stink with him in there? If he calls the correct blocking schemes and reads defenses so well why did he throw 14 INTs?

        Over the last few weeks, having nothing to do with the legal issues, I have come to believe it’s MORE likely he never takes another meaningful snap for ND than that he starts in Dublin. I think with time to think about it, BK and staff saw the BG game as the final straw. He was awful, then made excuses, telling a reporter “if that pass was 6 inches lower, you wouldn’t be asking me about an INT”. And if the shot misses, JFK serves 8 years as President.

        It was what it was. Another bad pass and decision that has come to be the hallmark of the Tommy Rees era at ND.

        Please, let our long national nightmare end.

      • bernhtp - Jul 11, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        Nude: you’ll enjoy this.

      • nudeman - Jul 11, 2012 at 1:37 PM

        That’s actually a fairly reasonable scenario. A tad on the rosy side, but not ridiculously so.
        The best thing about it? Nowhere does Tommy take a snap.

  3. bearcatirishfan - Jul 10, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    At least powlus had a broken arm to blame

  4. c4evr - Jul 10, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    I’ve decided to take a sabbatical from my Kelly bashing and be a more positive presence on this board. That’s not to say I’ve opted for the rose colored glasses, but I do see a great deal of talent – both at recruiting and on the field. My question for the upcoming season has to do with development skills of the coaches. I’m wondering which kid will step up and have that ‘Aha!’ moment where he truly gets it. The last player that I saw come into his own during a game was Eiffert at the Army game last year.I was at the game and he actually MADE Rees a better player in the moment because he was hauling in everything that got near him. Now he’s on this year’s watch lists. Lynch showed his stuff from out of the gate, so I’m not including his performance – and besides, he’s gone now. That’s my gauge on developing players… when they pop like pop corn and that light bulb goes off int their head. It’s well documented that we sorely need that from one of the QB’s (Golson or Kiel, IMO), but who will be ‘The Guy’ in 2012. T’eo’s a safe bet, It seems I remember a core group of about 5 to 6 players during Holtz’s era that anchored a solid, veteran crew that cared and played for each other. I’d like to see signs of that chemistry sometime after halftime in Ireland…

    • irish4006 - Jul 10, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      Jonas Gray, too, was ‘that guy’ last year until he picked up the injury (most unfortunate, for him). We do have quite a few sleepers in WR bunch and Safeties. There will likely be a few surprises (of good kind) there. Hopefully, there will be a couple in the CB position as well since the bar/expectation there is so low.

  5. bearcatirishfan - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Nude, maybe Rees should take a note from Oliver stone. Down, and to the left…… Down, and to the left.

    • nudeman - Jul 11, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      I’m not sure what movie that references (JFK?) but he should be open to advice from anyone. Even Stone could probably throw a better ball.

      Oliver or Sharon. Pick one.

      • andy44teg - Jul 11, 2012 at 12:13 PM

        Sharon, hands down…i’d let her stab me with an ice pick all day long

      • nudeman - Jul 11, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        I tried to find the “money shot” from Casino
        It’s “unavailable”


  6. bearcatirishfan - Jul 11, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Yeah it’s JFK. It is the scene where Kevin Costner is describing the zapruder film and JFK get struck. Thought it felt appropriate.

  7. ravenseattheirownpoop - Jul 15, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Sweet!! Nice four linebackers. Its going to be fun to watch. Now go get some corners!!

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