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Friday football talk: All-Stars, Recruiting and more

Jan 18, 2013, 3:18 PM EDT

Notre Dame-Purdue

As the pendulum continues to swing on the Manti Te’o situation, I thought it’d help all of us to talk a little football around these parts. While I plan to dive back into those murky waters later, let’s cleanse the palate and get back to the gridiron.

Tomorrow kicks off a slew of college all-star games, giving some graduating seniors a chance to play in their final football game, while potentially auditioning for NFL scouts. All in all seven former Domers are playing in All-Star games, with the headliner, Manti Te’o, turning down an opportunity to play in the Senior Bowl.

Let’s run through the games and players:

NFLPA Collegiate Bowl — January 19 in Los Angeles

Jordan Cowart, Long snapper
Dayne Crist, Quarterback

Raycom College Classic — January 19 in Montgomery, Alabama

Mike Golic Jr., Center/Guard
Robby Roma, WR

East-West Shrine Game — January 19 in St. Petersburg, Florida

Zeke Motta, Safety
Theo Riddick, Running Back

Senior Bowl — January 26 in Mobile, Alabama

Braxston Cave, Center

Te’o’s decision to skip the Senior Bowl isn’t a product of the last few days. He’s following the lead of many top prospects, including Michael Floyd last season.

***

Turning the subject to recruiting, the Irish coaching staff are on the march, working to close strong on a class that’s among the best in the nation. Let’s run through a few of the headliners, some names we’ve mentioned, some names we haven’t, all of whom are going to be taking a look at Notre Dame on January 25th.

Eddie Vanderdoes — While Vanderdoes is visiting USC this weekend, Notre Dame gets their shot at him next weekend, when he and his parents plan on visiting South Bend. The Irish staff have put a full court press on Vanderdoes, with Irish coaches visiting him every week allowed, with Mike Elston and Mike Denbrock logging some serious miles. Several people I’ve talked to close to the situation feel confident that Vanderdoes is leaning Notre Dame’s way, but a solid visit to South Bend will be needed to close the deal.

Kylie Fitts — The Irish are also taking dead aim at another one-time USC commit in Fitts. At 6-foot-4, 260-pounds, Fitts profiles nicely as a 3-4 defensive end, with a frame that’ll likely be ready to add the weight needed to play up front. He’s a classic power player in the Kelly recruiting model.

Torrodney Prevot — Prevot is a USC commitment, but that hasn’t stopped Notre Dame from getting a visit set for the 25th as well. Where Notre Dame sees the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Texas product fitting in is probably being decided. But the athleticism he shows is apparent, and he’s high on the Irish’s wish list as a replacement for Alex Anzalone.

Deon Hollins Jr. — Another Texas product, and another committed recruit, this time to UCLA. But Kerry Cooks has done a good job on the linebacker, and he’ll be getting a visit from Irish coaches and plans to see campus on the 25th, too. The name of Hollins’ game is speed, and he could be the type of edge player that helps the Irish pass rush quickly.

Head coach Brian Kelly has started to make his in-home visits, hitting up committed prospects this week, while likely staying on the road up until Signing Day. The Irish are in a very strong position to close with a number of undeclared prospects, taking full advantage of their tremendous season.

***

Lastly, BlueandGold.com had a nice update on cornerback Lo Wood, who spent the year rehabbing a torn achilles injury suffered during preseason camp. While freshman KeiVarae Russell‘s stellar rookie season took some of the spotlight of Wood’s recovery, it’ll be good to have Wood back for spring practice, where he’ll begin to compete for time at corner.

This from B&G, who caught up with Wood down in Florida during Media Day:

“It was really tough when you can’t be out there sharing the victories, the great moments and going down in history with your teammates,” he said a day after arriving in Miami to watch his team fall to Alabama in the BCS Championship game.

“In the beginning of the season it was [frustrating]. It was hard to watch the games and you don’t want to be at practice because you just want to be out there so bad.”

Wood’s return to a secondary with Russell and Bennett Jackson — who underwent shoulder surgery earlier this week for an injury he’s been playing with all season — should really build the Irish’s depth on the back line. With Austin Collinsworth coming back and Matthias Farley getting a jump start on his playing career, the Irish secondary should look very strong next season.

  1. elwaysmilehighdenver - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    Manti declined the invite to the senior bowl
    because he was afraid that he might run into his nonexistent girlfriend on the sideline.

    • iamnotacoolguy - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Thank you for taking time away from your ultra busy life to troll on this board. Your insight and wit is beyond comparison.

    • snatchymcpants - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      If you’re going to be a troll, at least be a clever troll. Thanks for the hilarious “joke”. Here, allow me to help you out:

      “Manti declined the invite to the senior bowl because after preparing for it for months, he found out the bowl wasn’t real, but was in fact the twisted fantasy of a polynesian d-bag with a Pauly D wannabe haircut and a gang of cousins that when not singing in a fake church choir, apparently find fake-interacting with young men on the internet way more fulfilling than living in the real world maintaining careers and human relationships.”

      Better?

      Nah, you just stick with “chicken butt” and get back to making macaroni necklaces and finger-painting with chocolate pudding with the rest of the first-graders.

      P.S. I’m embarrassed to say that after years of reading Keith’s terrific blog, it took THIS nauseating “issue” and specifically THIS comment from a poster that most likely has a family tree resembling a flagpole to finally comment on the message board. Congrats? I think all my fellow Irish fans can agree next year can’t get here soon enough. Take this offseason and shove it! GO IRISH!

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jan 18, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        Manti declined the invite to the senior bowl
        because he was afraid that he might run into…..

        …..more reporters than he has ever seen in his entire life.

      • NotreDan - Jan 18, 2013 at 8:45 PM

        BEST effing post in a long time. Welcome.

  2. dickasman - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Uhhhhhh, I’m sorry I wish I could but I can’t. Everywhere I turn, there’s Womanti! Thank you for all you’ve done Womanti. What kind of damage control is bk doing with the recruits?

    • NotreDan - Jan 18, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      dickie my brother. nobody gets you bro. nobody understands that sour smell when you pee like I do. I’m with you. stay strong.

  3. fish95 - Jan 18, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Uh … This is great, but where is the 6 part series on Bruce Heggie that Mr. Nudeman teased yesterday?

  4. jerseyirish10 - Jan 18, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Read the Folston kid now had a trip to Auburn this weekend which wasn’t initially planned, so that might be something to keep an eye on. Would be nice to get Vanderdoes, Fitts and Prevot too….big guys, speed and it doesn’t hurt to stick it to USC and Kiffin too.

  5. dudeacow - Jan 18, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Just a thought, are you planning on doing a top 25 most important players for the 2012 Irish? I know you did a preseason one, I just thought a postseason one would be good, too.

    • 1notredamefan - Jan 18, 2013 at 9:33 PM

      he already did…. it’s the past….

  6. dutch31 - Jan 18, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Jersey not good news on Folston, because other than Jaylon Smith he impressed me the most of the high school all star game participants.

    Go Irish!

  7. goirishgo - Jan 18, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Thanks for the break from the soap opera, Keith.

    Can anyone tell me how the “teams” are chosen for the Spring game?

  8. cpfirish - Jan 18, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    When is signing day?

  9. ajw21 - Jan 18, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Feb 2.

    • papadec - Jan 18, 2013 at 8:48 PM

      GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 1historian - Jan 19, 2013 at 8:11 AM

      Feb 6

  10. aceinthehole12 - Jan 18, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    Hopefully Lo come back faster. Alabama whooping proved ND needs a faster secondary to hang with the big boys. Can’t wait for signing day and ’13 kickoff !

  11. mungman69 - Jan 19, 2013 at 6:42 AM

    Time to sit back and watch the action.

  12. goirish08 - Jan 19, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    The run of Bama opens up everything. I don’t think ND’s rookie db’s were the problem. If ND’s front stops the run, the safeties wouldn’t have had to move up to help with the run. That being said, Nd’s db’s aren’t shut down corners by any means, but they played pretty darn well for 1st year corners!!! The line was steller all year, but they need some dept. That makes Vanderdoes a must!

  13. 1historian - Jan 19, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Stan Musial just died

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