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Senior Bowl great reward for Cave

Jan 16, 2013, 3:24 PM EST

Getty Images - Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

Braxston Cave received a big invitation, accepting the opportunity to play at the Senior Bowl, the premiere All-Star competition for graduating college football players heading to the NFL. The local Granger product will head to Mobile, Alabama, taking part in practices with representatives from every NFL team in attendance, before playing in the game on January 26.

The invitation is validation after a great career for the Irish, starting for three seasons at center under Brian Kelly after being recruited to Notre Dame by Charlie Weis. Always a physically strong player, Cave made great strides with his athleticism, a trait that’ll be fully tested in Mobile.

Cave’s development followed a path we’ll likely see more and more with the Irish as Kelly and his staff build depth along the offensive front. After seeing time as a true freshman snapper, an injury saved a year of eligibility. From there, Cave battled to fight his way into the lineup after a year spent mostly on special teams, an opportunity that came along with an injury to fifth-year senior Dan Wenger.

Once Cave was in the starting lineup, only injury could hold him out. Yet the time missed by Cave allowed the Irish to develop Mike Golic, who filled in admirably at center and shifted to right guard for his fifth season.

Cave’s departure will highlight one of the spring’s biggest holes on the Irish roster. And with injuries and a lack of depth clouding the situation along the offensive line, identifying who will fill Cave’s sizable shoes is one of the key position battles worth following.

Notre Dame has developed some decent depth on the interior of their front line, with guys like Nick Martin, Conor Hanratty, Matt Hegarty, Bruce Heggie and Mark Harrell all waiting in the wings. Yet none of those guys have played significant minutes (to be kind), and finding a center that can work into a line that’ll also need to find a right guard should be an interesting exercise.

 

112 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. jmfinsd - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    Most of you posters are frickin’ idiots and hypocrites. I don’t know the facts – and neither do you – but the gossip rag says she didn’t exist and you jump to the conclusion that T’eo made her up and that nothing he said could be true. It appears Lennay Kekua didn’t exist, but it doesn’t mean that someone did not pose as Lennay Kekua , didn’t set up an online profile as Lennay Kekua, that T’eo did not speak on the phone with someone who said she was Lennay Kekua, or others who said she was Lennay Kekua’s family. 3/2 odds that this relationship started online with Lennay Kekua reaching out to T’eo and not the other way around. But yet you quickly jump on the negativity train and want to hammer a young man whose last 2 actions were a bad NCG and this story. You disgust me. And I bet most of you were screaming for BK’s head recently due to lack of loyalty – and look at the loyalty that you display now.

    • jmfinsd - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:12 PM

      And before any of you come up with the smart retort – it’s “Te’o, not T’eo,” I’m already correcting the typo, so get some other ammo.

  2. andy44teg - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    ok..lets just play devil’s advocate for a minute..say Manti is telling the truth about being duped. I can see making the part up about meeting her in palo alto or seeing in in Hawaii b/c he would’ve been embarrassed about having an “online” g/f whom he’s never met in person. So either way he lied about something, just one is a tad bit worse than the other.

    • 1notredamefan - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:45 PM

      a tad?/??>? HUH???

      • andy44teg - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:48 PM

        #sarcasm

  3. mungman69 - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    I don’t believe what I’ve just read.

  4. idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    I’m watching Jack Swarbrick’s press conference RIGHT NOW…and Te’o was NOT in on this hoax. He was victim of an internet scam called “catfishing”

    • 1notredamefan - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:31 PM

      The crazy thing is….. most of the posts we read are from ppl who say they are fans…. that’s actually more of a hoax than this ESPN filtered story! BREAKING NEWS Nudeman Just touched his asss again…. Same stuff just different characters…

      • dickasman - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:40 PM

        Boinggggg! My pants just got tighter! I believe swarbrick is doing damage control. He covered up for the rape, why would he not cover up for this?

      • 1notredamefan - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:48 PM

        BC there is NO cover UP…. It Is what It Is…as they say!! Manti looks like a simpleton right now… We all Know that’ll change tho!

  5. 1notredamefan - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    Ready to head into the teeth of the recruiting cycle…. and this…

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:31 PM

      You’re a bag of douche for thinking this. You’re a bigger bag of douche for putting it in writing.

      • 1notredamefan - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:33 PM

        well go ahead and read the comments this is after about 2 hrs of thinking….. and posting on several sites…DOUCHE! Touche tho fan I gotta love it!

      • 1notredamefan - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:38 PM

        We real fans know Manti! Let’s pray for this man and sincerely hope for the best…. not tooo many ppl overcome publicity as bad as this unless your named Kim K

      • nudeman - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:51 PM

        1notredamefan

        “We real fans know Manti!”

        No we don’t.

        Unless you’re on the campus, on the team, in the classroom with him etc … all we know is he is a good football player. I’m not suggesting he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing, nor do I think he is.

        But we don’t “know” the guy.

    • heisenbyrg - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:52 PM

      “You’re not a real fan if you don’t agree with 1Notredamefan.” And you don’t know Manti. Jackass.

      • 1notredamefan - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:58 PM

        probably a condescending comment… that’s really not the point or is it something I wish to portray! I am as Iv’e said before 1 fan of notredame amongst may….but i’ll bust balls when I see the crones

      • 1notredamefan - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:12 PM

        Well Nude when this comes out in color I guess you’ll be missing then too???

      • 1notredamefan - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:15 PM

        It’s called a cycle in news….. 24 hours… you being the obvious intellect that you are already knew that and just wanted to ruffle our little feathers didn’t ya?

  6. cpfirish - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    I love the Irish! But this is not looking good! And who only knows if this will get worse! I think the wheels are beginning to fall off! What a complete debacle! I really hope this does hurt our recruiting. Really WTF is going on??
    Go Irish!

  7. heisenbyrg - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Apparently, the company line is: “Manti’s just too good and caring of a guy.” I want to believe, but…

  8. heisenbyrg - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Shout out to Braxston Cave on the Senior Bowl!!!! Haha.

  9. bernhtp - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    After watching most of Swarbrick’s press conference, I am completely dumbfounded. He made a fairly convincing case that Manti was the victim of an extremely elaborate and long-term hoax. Apparently this has a formal name – called catfishing – where an online relationship is developed and the prank/fraud is perpetrated over time. Think Nigerian scam on steroids. This one had multiple characters, not just Lennay.

    The girlfriend was purely a virtual – online/phone – relationship, albeit one that lasted years. I’m still trying to get my head around this. Amazing!

    • 9irish - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:12 PM

      Yep.

    • 1notredamefan - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:16 PM

      mtv has a series on it and has for a cpl months….

  10. acieu - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    Will all team members be issued virtual girlfriends now or would this be an NCAA violation?

    • bernhtp - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:28 PM

      Alabama oversigned more virtual girlfriends for their players and theirs didn’t die, and that’s why they won.

  11. jerseyirish10 - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    Watched Jack’s press conference. I’m still just so stunned right now. I hope for everyone involved, that he is not behind this or had any knowledge. Swarbrick sounded confident that he was a victim of “catfishing” and because Manti is such a trusting person, he got pulled in really deep. ND hired an outside firm who specialize in this sort of internet tracking. Although he didn’t reveal the findings, I find it hard to believe that he would put his neck out there like this if Manti was behind it from the start. I’ve been a fan since the late 70’s/early 80’s and it’s always been, “ND is high and mighty with their admissions, above it all, etc.”, and any little hiccup gives those outsiders a chance to knock them down. This is giving them TNT of the highest grade. It’s practically C4. Our star player, mourning his grandmother and “girlfriend” on the same day. And really, if he truly was the victim of this…for those people (Jack said multiple people were involved) to pull a “death” on the same day an actual human died…it’s these moments I start to lose faith in humanity. Good lord people, what are we doing? We love to lose our minds over football and all that stuff but doing this to someone, really? Then again, I’ve laughed in the past at someone falling for those Nigerian interent scams about sending 10 million if you send me 10K. It happens…..I just pray that the ND I’ve grown up with, warts and all and they aren’t perfect by any strecth, that he isn’t involved. Be humiliated now, be embarassed now young man and take the shots that are coming. But if it ever, ever comes out that you were behind that, you just destroyed your Legend. Don’t ever come back, don’t ever step foot on that campus because people like me have been telling my son and daughter, be like that guy. He does it right. I just feel so terrible that after all they worked for, it’s come crashing down. Someone above said it best, that the wheels have come off 10 days. I’m just stunned.

    • 1notredamefan - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:08 PM

      WOW! Very Nice! I respect and admire this! Thankx!!!

  12. papadec - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    What the hell does any of this have to do with Keith’s post on Braxston Cave? You sound like a bunch of middle school girls, in the lunchroom! Good Freakin’ Grief!

    • bernhtp - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:22 PM

      Braxton Cave’s senior bowl obviously takes a back seat to the most bizarre, stunning, effing unbelievable story I have ever heard. We can return to Braxton once the aliens have taken off and left Earth.

      • 1notredamefan - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:25 PM

        ha… nice

  13. elwaysmilehighdenver - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    Simply put Manti Shame-o had to be in on this charade. All of south bend over fell for it! He claimed to have personally met this dead woman who doesn’t exist. Draft stock is falling faster than tonight’s temperature outside.

  14. ndirish10 - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    Could this be A factor as to why CBK took the Eagles phone call? Saw how embarrassing this would be to him and his program. Then to top it off the debacle in the NCG. Just saying.

  15. irishpuma - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    I simply don’t know what is going on. I pointed out in half seriousness about BK programs and now look what we have under our dome. There was definitely2 deaths under suspicious circumstances, assaulting police, sexual assault, intimidation/ bullying and now this.

    No matter what comes of this MANTI is definitely a liar. Best case scenario He lied about how they met as they never actually met and obviously exaggerated a relationship. Or he felt he needed to promote this girl friend story to hide something else. His brother or father said she had been to Hawaii to visit which clearly did not happen. I think I recall her being mentioned on media day and nothing was clarified even though Notre Dame knew about it Dec. 26. Were they protecting the team, BK’s natl championship or what? Did they put football above propriety yet again? When they knew they should have made a statement shame on the university again. If the dead spin article doesn’t come out would they ever have disclosed anything? At the end of the day Notre Dame is a catholic university who not only should but must do the right thing regardless of football or PR or anything. They are mandated by God to represent themselves with truth, dignity and honesty even if it is ugly. They are failing.

    Worst case manti knew about it and contributed to it but that makes no sense so I can’t believe that.

    Side note: if he was fooled (“catfished” is not a word or thing its just a name of a documentary which turned into a reality show) Then he is not very bright and how did he make it through to graduation. This is not a 13 year old kid with an internet pen pal. I guess another day another disillusionment.

    I also have lost some faith in Jack Swarbrick as well. This should have been disclosed and not allowed to fester and continue. ESPN ran stories about her death all the way thru kickoff and at that point Jack, BK, Manti, ND all new it was fraud.

    Doing nothing sometimes makes you just as complicit.
    This is unacceptable we need better.

    Keith is always fair and unbiased and has some great sources and I think everyone should allow him time to do his work.

    I am praying for everyone.

  16. cpfirish - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Congrats! Braxton!! Best wishes to you!
    Go Irish!!

  17. tresnachos - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    this is what happened to te’o (and all of us):

    cue to 1:28:00.
    except ricky bobby figured it out quicker.
    i’d bet it was a booster engaging in motivational hoaxing.
    now i wonder if george gipp staged his own death…

  18. dutch31 - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    It’s the most bizarre thing I have ever read. Don’t think he will be able to lie Tomorrow. He said they talked all night on the phone when she was sleeping. Last I checked phone records can be checked and with cell towers they know each persons location during the duration of the call.

    I have to believe he made her up. But why? Could it be to conceal his sexual preference? He apparently created her in 2009, Weiss’ last game. Then it grows and gets out of control and what a better time to get rid of her than during the death of his Grandmother. Just think the call came from his brother. Just check his cell records and you know it’s not true, if the cell phone records show I’m wrong then I apologize , but It’s just too bizarre and his statements after “her death” are so specific to believe he he actually thought she existed.

    So if she was his creation I can’t wait to hear why.

    Can we get a count on decommits ??

  19. jerseyirish10 - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    As if this could get any more weird, I just read on ESPN.com that some guy on the Arizona Cardinals says he actually KNOWS THIS GIRL!!! Said he met her, through her cousin….this Tuiosoppo (sp?) charact that Te’o knows, before Manti was ever in the picture. He said he met her on the islands (American Samoa) a few years ago for charity work and swears she is real. He did say he thought that her mom was running her twitter….and I can’t believe what I just typed. I’m now semi-laughing at even typing any of this out. Keith, someone, please try to explain what the hell is going on. Man I wanna see that report Jack has. That has got to be some incredible read.

  20. yllibnosredna - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Swarbrick is really putting it all on the line as THE MOST CREDIBLE MOUTHPIECE FOR NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL at the moment. Let’s face it: Brian Kelly’s verbal veracity is somewhat in question at the moment; Manti apparently (whether guilty or innocent of any involvement is this hoax) just does not appear to be in a position to exonerate or defend himself. It’s really all down to Jack. And he is putting all the chips on the table IN SUPPORT of Manti–the iconic player who represents all that Notre Dame hinged its recent and potentially future success upon. In other words, there is no back-tracking now. Jack is betting it all on Manti, and 1) IF he (Manti) is found to be, in any way, KNOWINGLY COMPLICIT in this, the backlash could be so devastating that not only will the program’s recent success be eradicated but also the foundation and restoration of this program will come crashing down in a devastating collapse.

    HOWEVER, 2) IF it is proven that he (Te’o) was NOT in on it or at least not proven that he was and is complicit in this hoax, the wheels have not come off this bus just yet. At the end of the day, what we will have is a team and coaching staff coming off a severe beating on the biggest stage to a superior opponent but hopefully motivated and primed to improve and continue its ascent to the top tier CFB, a returning successful Head Coach who legitimately flirted with the NFL but ultimately decided to stay, a very strong recruiting class (minus one touted prospect), and a once larger-than-life, iconic, and seemingly transcendent player whose trusting naivety placed him in the midst of an ugly, convoluted, ignominious, and UNFORTUNATELY VERY PUBLIC hoax, in which he is seen as QUITE FOOLISH yet PITIABLE. IF this is how things ultimately play out, it’s certainly not POSITIVE, but it isn’t the magnitude of Penn State December 2011, and it’s certainly not the nadir the program was in on September/October of 2010–D. Sullivan tragedy, Seeberg case, Navy and Tulsa embarrassing losses.

    Time will tell. Let’s hope the best case scenario plays out moving forward.

    P.S. Stack this on the “to be tended to later news shelf ” along with Braxton Cave’s Senior Bowl experience, but unfortunately, J.Slaughter was refused a sixth year of eligibility–Abromaitis-style–Total B.S.

    • jerseyirish10 - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:31 PM

      Good point….it’s not on any level of what Penn State (thankfully) just went through but man, this is really terrible news. We have had really terrible things happen since BK came. I’m not in any way saying it’s because of him but 2 deaths, really bad losses, an world class beating in the biggest game in over 20 years, he sniffs the NFL and the most decorated college football player in history who happens to play for the perhaps the most famous team just got taken in a scam that it makes him look like a complete fool. I said it earlier but I hope to the heavens this kid is not any way, shape or form involved. If he is, return those awards because you know darn well some of those voters were leaning to him because of his amazing resolve and leadership combined with his great play. Man, I’m all over the place

      • irishpuma - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:31 AM

        Good posts you two same thing I said earlier. But we still need to hold ND and Swarbrick accountable. They should have disclosed immediately or after a quick investigation not 21 days later after a leaked internet report. We are supposed to live by a higher standard. I am not convinced they would have ever said anything if it had not leaked. #integrity?

  21. yllibnosredna - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    Swarbrick is really putting it all on the line as THE MOST CREDIBLE MOUTHPIECE FOR NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL at the moment. Let’s face it: Brian Kelly’s verbal veracity is somewhat in question at the moment; Manti apparently (whether guilty or innocent of any involvement in this hoax) just does not appear to be in a position to exonerate or defend himself. It’s really all down to Jack. And he is putting all the chips on the table IN SUPPORT of Manti–the iconic player who represents all that Notre Dame hinged its recent and potentially future success upon. In other words, there is no back-tracking now. Jack is betting it all on Manti, and 1) IF he (Manti) is found to be, in any way, KNOWINGLY COMPLICIT in this, the backlash could be so devastating that not only will the program’s recent success be eradicated but also the foundation and restoration of this program will come crashing down in a devastating collapse.

    HOWEVER, 2) IF it is proven that he (Te’o) was NOT in on it or at least not proven that he was and is complicit in this hoax, the wheels have not come off this bus just yet. At the end of the day, what we will have is a team and coaching staff coming off a severe beating on the biggest stage to a superior opponent but hopefully motivated and primed to improve and continue its ascent to the top tier CFB, a returning successful Head Coach who legitimately flirted with the NFL but ultimately decided to stay, a very strong recruiting class (minus one touted prospect), and a once larger-than-life, iconic, and seemingly transcendent player whose trusting naivety placed him in the midst of an ugly, convoluted, ignominious, and UNFORTUNATELY VERY PUBLIC hoax, in which he is seen as QUITE FOOLISH yet PITIABLE. IF this is how things ultimately play out, it’s certainly not POSITIVE, but it isn’t the magnitude of Penn State December 2011, and it’s certainly not the nadir the program was in on September/October of 2010–D. Sullivan tragedy, Seeberg case, Navy and Tulsa embarrassing losses.

    Time will tell. Let’s hope the best case scenario plays out moving forward, and Manti’s story holds a bit more water than Joseph Smith’s. Otherwise, he’ll likely leap-frog to the top of the ranks in American Mormon con men, and ND’s legacy will be permanently tarnished.

    P.S. Stack this on the “to be tended to later news shelf ” along with Braxton Cave’s Senior Bowl experience, but unfortunately, J.Slaughter was refused a sixth year of eligibility–Abromaitis-style–Total B.S.

  22. yllibnosredna - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Keith, You’re the best for ND coverage–We love reading your blog. And we realize that you’re probably catching your breath from this gut punch, but we are waiting with baited breath, buddy?!

  23. colkrakers - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    Stay classy dickasman. I’m not saying Manti isn’t part of the hoax (I hope he isn’t) but the people who made that report for deadspin are nothing but gossip reporters like any other tabloid they are going to say whatever as long as it is a juicy story. Like I said I hope Manti isn’t part of this hoax as anything other than the victim, but I for one am going to wait until Manti explains it in detail for himself. Judge not lest ye be judged. And I for one choose not to judge until Manti tells his side.

  24. grikes - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    A couple of thoughts…Swarbrick was polite in his defense of Te’o, but he also, in a sense, seperated himself and the University from Te’o. Any of the more questionable aspects of the Deadspin article, whether they actually met one another face to face and the particulars of those meetings, Swarbrick made clear, would be left for Manti to address, in a setting with his new representation, apart from the University of Notre Dame. Doubtful that it’ll be a presser and with Tom Condon looking over his shoulder.

    Also, I’m curious as to how much this, or any of the “drama” that this exemplifies might have played into Kelly’s decision to speak to the NFL. Here he is two weeks away from the apex of the sport at this level and he has to worry about another distraction, this time to the heart and soul of his team. The league has its own problems, but the timing and the target had to be, at the least, disheartening.

    Just wonder.

  25. runners00 - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    At best, Notre Dame had a duty to correct the reports about the girl as soon as they knew she was engaged in a hoax. So,at a minimum, from December 26 on, the Irish should have corrected reports about the girlfriend and her impact on the linebacker and his family and her family.

    As for Manti’s Dad, who has been quoted as saying Manti and the girl spent time together in Hawaii, he is, well I won’t judge. That’s God’s job. I will just say that this aspect of the tale is troubling. it’s all troubling, but the part about Dad lying is particularly a problem because it goes to motive. Why would he lie like this? Well, one reason is to get some more ink for his son. I mean its attractive to the press when you say, “I thought she could be my daughter in law and now that’s impossible,” or whatever the precise quote is. This is particularly true given how well Te’o played and ow much publicity flowed his way after her “death.”

    I’m pretty impressed with Te’o. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders. It’s possible he had an online relationship with someone for three years and it’s possible that he’s a victim here. It’s hard to believe, though since we now are told they never met. To believe Te’o, you have to believe that Te’o and the girl had this 3 year online relationship without actually meeting one another in person. That is a hard pill to swallow. This story has a long way to go.

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