Nov 30, 2012, 12:10 PM EST
Let me utter a sentence that isn’t often said on the last day of November in northwest Indiana: It’s a great time to be in South Bend.
The Irish await the winner of Alabama-Georgia in the national championship game. Mike Brey’s hoops team dispatched John Calipari’s lastest gang of mercenaries. As the student body galvanizes around its athletic teams — an electric crowd willed the basketball team to victory as Irish football players took turns cleaning the court — life looks mighty fine under the Golden Dome, with hundreds of students storming the court on national television after a dominating upset of Kentucky.
It gets characterized as hocus-pocus or clever marketing by skeptics everywhere, but it was hard not to see the magic of Notre Dame if you watched Mike Brey’s team take down Kentucky’s future NBA roster last night. And when Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale welcomed Manti Te’o to the broadcast, it was hard not to think that the Irish — after a football season that played out like a Madison Avenue marketing campaign for the university and its aspirations — got another ten minute infomercial live on ESPN.
With Te’o as the school’s leading man, Notre Dame is riding a tidal wave of positivity that hasn’t been seen in twenty years. When he wasn’t deftly avoiding recruiting violations, he was talking about a community that just about every prospective student-athlete would love to be a part of.
“They’re our family,” Te’o said of the football team’s relationship with the basketball team. “The only time we’re not together is when they’re on the court or we’re on the field. We’re always together, always talking about our next games and match-ups.”
As most major universities resurrect buildings to keep athletes and student separate, the stands were packed with Irish football players, arm-in-arm with their dormmates. Only Louis Nix was absent from the game, according to Te’o, and he had good reason: He was playing Santa at a cancer fundraiser. Even the biggest Notre Dame haters are going to have a hard time pulling a lump of coal from that stocking.
You’d be hard pressed to find an outcome January 7th that could lessen the impact that this football season has had on the university and its fan base. After almost two decades of consistently wearing it on the chin, it’s a great time to be Irish. You can’t blame the students for storming the court. It was Te’o, of course, that led the charge.
With awards soon to be rightfully showered on Brian Kelly and Manti Te’o, you might as well enjoy six weeks of non-stop talk about Notre Dame and its chances against the mighty SEC. Whatever happens in Miami, it’s amazing to think that one overachieving football team, a group that has risen from the ashes of a disappointing 2011 season, has put a community on its back and turned South Bend into one of the happiest places on earth.
Jan 28, 2015, 2:55 PM EST
Kendall Moore’s football career did not end as planned. The fifth-year senior never saw the playing field after being pulled from the team in August as part of an academic dishonesty probe that kept DaVaris Daniels, KeiVarae Russell and Ishaq Williams out for the 2014 season — and school year — as well. (Eilar Hardy returned to the team in late October.)
Jan 28, 2015, 2:24 PM EST
Brian Kelly took a trip to Atlanta and made his in-home visit to see safety Arrington Farrar. Things went so well that Farrar decided to take his final official visit before Signing Day to South Bend.
Jan 27, 2015, 4:55 PM EST
Notre Dame strength coach Paul Longo has a new lieutenant. And he’s crossed enemy lines to join the Irish staff.
Jan 26, 2015, 11:26 AM EST
Notre Dame has a final need in their recruiting class. And over the weekend, they sold Louisiana safety Justin Reid that he could fill it.
Jan 25, 2015, 2:28 PM EST
A special Sunday delivery of the Mailbag. Let’s get to some questions.
Jan 25, 2015, 11:16 AM EST
Safety Eilar Hardy will finish his college football career elsewhere. After four seasons in South Bend, Hardy will earn his Notre Dame degree and be free to play out his eligibility in another program.
Jan 23, 2015, 1:04 PM EST
With less than two weeks to go before Signing Day, recruiting is the focus for the Irish coaching staff. But as we crack open the mailbag, we cover a bit more ground than the usual will-he or won’t-he that comes along with the first Wednesday in February.
Jan 22, 2015, 11:32 AM EST
One of Notre Dame’s long-time verbal commitments is no longer planning on joining the Irish’s 2015 recruiting class. Texas safety Prentice McKinney took an official visit to North Carolina last weekend and flipped his commitment to Larry Fedora’s Tar Heels on Wednesday, dropping Notre Dame’s recruiting class down to 22 players and just two safeties.
Jan 21, 2015, 9:51 PM EST
Can we follow up last week’s excellence with another solid week of questions? Drop them below or @KeithArnold.
Jan 21, 2015, 1:43 PM EST
While the Irish coaching staff traverses the country taking in-home visits, Notre Dame’s staff is close to putting the finishing touches on a stellar recruiting class. The additional of Aliz’e Jones pushes the Irish into a consensus Top 10 class — quite an accomplishment considering this was supposed to be a smaller group.
Jan 20, 2015, 12:29 AM EST
Star-crossed Notre Dame wide receiver DaVaris Daniels’ career with the Irish is over. After two seasons and two significant suspensions, Daniels decided to forgo any additional eligibility he has at the college level and turn professional.
Jan 19, 2015, 3:00 PM EST
Say this for Brian Kelly. He learns from his mistakes.
And after losing Stephon Tuitt and Troy Niklas after just three seasons in South Bend, Notre Dame’s head coach made sure he had a final say before Ronnie Stanley and Sheldon Day made their stay-or-go decision.
Jan 19, 2015, 1:44 PM EST
KeiVarae Russell gives a promising update on his future in South Bend via (where else?) social media.
Jan 16, 2015, 1:04 PM EST
Lots to discuss in our Friday mailbag. Position changes, 85 scholarships, Reggie Ho and more.
(Collective thumbs up to all of you.)
Jan 15, 2015, 2:51 PM EST
After being committed to UCLA for months, Las Vegas tight end Alize Jones has flipped his pledge to Notre Dame. The bluechip recruit is widely acknowledged to be the best tight end in the country and plays high school football with current Irish commit Nicco Fertitta at Bishop Gorman.
Jan 15, 2015, 2:19 PM EST
The first College Football Playoff is over. And with less than three weeks to go before National Signing Day, the dead period has ended and the home stretch in recruiting has begun.
Jan 14, 2015, 10:45 AM EST
There’s plenty to talk about. Have a question? Drop it below or on Twitter @KeithArnold.
Jan 13, 2015, 7:00 PM EST
Notre Dame junior Ronnie Stanley announced Tuesday that he will return for his senior season, giving the Irish one of the best left tackles in college football for another season. After being projected by some as a first round pick, Stanley made the decision to return for 2015.
Jan 13, 2015, 2:36 PM EST
It can happen. The right head coach can survive adversity and win a national championship. We saw that Monday night when Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes manhandled Oregon on their way to a 42-20 victory.
Jan 12, 2015, 6:55 PM EST
The first four members of the 2015 recruiting class begin their time at Notre Dame on Tuesday, with classes starting for early-enrollee freshmen Tevon Coney, Micah Dew-Treadway, Tristen Hoge and Jerry Tillery. All four freshmen will take part in winter workouts and spring practice, set to start in early March.