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Jaylon Smith rebuffs Michigan’s late push

Feb 1, 2013, 8:45 PM EST

Indianapolis Star Indianapolis Star

Current Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison has a special place carved out for him in Notre Dame football’s history books. The coaching lifer spent eight years in South Bend, coordinating the defense for Bob Davie, then staying on staff through the transition to Tyrone Willingham, a rare holdover in the house-cleaning that happened after the 2001 season.

Mattison conceded his title of defensive coordinator to Kent Baer, sliding back to defensive line coach. While he did his best to run the Irish recruiting efforts, he helped land a blue-chip recruiting class filled with NFL talent after Willingham’s sparkling first year, before efforts slipped precipitously the next two seasons.

Mattison’s years in South Bend were good ones. His daughter Lisa graduated from Notre Dame, starring for the softball team. But Charlie Weis was hired, Mattison was quickly snatched up by Urban Meyer, joining the Gators staff as the co-defensive coordinator. And from that day forward, he’s been a thorn in the Irish’s side.

Mattison and Meyer went head-to-head with Weis and his staff for multiple players, winning more often than they didn’t. Many accused the former Irish assistants of using negative tactics when dealing with their former stomping grounds, utilizing their first hand knowledge of life under the Golden Dome to swing blue-chip recruits like Omar Hunter and Justin Trattou, becoming a perpetual thrown in Notre Dame’s side ever since both town.

Mattison left the college ranks for three years, coaching linebackers then coordinating John Harbaugh’s Ravens defense. But when Brady Hoke took the Michigan head coaching job, his first call was to his old friend, who returned to the college game and picked up recruiting just where he left off.

That meant going head-to-head with Notre Dame again. And while Mattison has been a worthy adversary coordinating the Wolverines upstart defense, he also hasn’t stopped trying to chase down Irish recruits, something that’s more than fair in today’s cut-throat recruiting world.

But in the case of Jaylon Smith, it didn’t matter.

The Irish’s signature recruit heard the persuasive recruiting pitch Mattison delivered in the days where Brian Kelly considered the Philadelphia Eagles job, but rebuffed the Wolverines and their defensive coordinator all the same.

Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press has more:

When news broke shortly after the BCS title game that Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was interviewing with the Philadelphia Eagles, Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison took a little trip to Indiana.

He wanted Ft. Wayne Bishop Luers linebacker and Notre Dame commitment Jaylon Smith to know he had options.

“He told me there was still a spot at Michigan for me if anything changed,” Smith said. “I appreciated that, but nothing was going to change. The Golden Dome isn’t going anywhere.”

***

When Mattison visited with Smith on Jan. 11 — four days after Alabama thumped Notre Dame in the BCS title game, three days after Kelly talked with the Eagles and one day before he turned them down — he was more than impressed, according to Bishop Luers athletic director Jim Huth.

“After the meeting, Mattison came out of the room and just looked at me,” Huth recalled, “and he said, ‘That kid is the real deal. I have talked with hundreds of players in my career and never had a conversation like that.’ “

Smith wasn’t just a participant in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, he was a captain for the West team. That game also showed his versatility as a player when he put his hand on the ground and attacked as a defensive end.

“And then he can cover like a cornerback,” said Josh Helmholdt, Midwest analyst for Rivals.com, which ranks Smith the No. 3 overall player in the nation. “That’s a freakish athlete. The guy runs a 4.4 40 (yard-dash). He may be the most athletic linebacker I’ve covered in 10 years of doing this. He’s that special.”

For Notre Dame fans looking for a new favorite player, Smith enters the race with a pretty good tagline: “The Golden Dome isn’t going anywhere.”

On the field, Smith is the most highly touted recruit to come to campus since Jimmy Clausen. He’s ranked higher than any defensive player Notre Dame has signed in the recruiting era (Manti Te’o included) and while Smith is slotted to play behind Prince Shembo at the ‘Cat’ linebacker position, there seems little doubt that Smith will find his way onto the field, because there doesn’t look like much that the five-star outside linebacker can’t do when he’s on it.

Smith runs like a cornerback, blitzes like the quickest of edge rushers and even carried the offensive load for his high school team as their running back. In the US Army All-American Bowl workouts and game, he seemed a notch above the rest of the athletes in attendance. While he’ll need to add weight to a frame that carries around 215 pounds, he’s neck in neck with Stephon Tuitt for freakiest athlete on the Irish defense from the day he steps onto campus.

And he’s still carrying a job at the local Burger King in Fort Wayne.

While most of the focus of these final days of recruiting is on the unknowns, there’s no reason to look past a once-in-a-decade recruit like Smith. It might be easy to now, but come September, it will likely be impossible.

***

Photo property of the Indianapolis Star.

  1. fighting69th - Feb 1, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Suck it Michigan.

    • dickasman - Feb 1, 2013 at 10:27 PM

      THIS HAS BEEN DELETED.

  2. bernhtp - Feb 1, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Great kid and really talented too. He will clearly be a team leader in a couple of years. There is little likelihood that Jaylon will win a starting job at the beginning of the season, but he will probably get increasing number of snaps as the year goes on and will be ready if Spond gets injured.

    • ibleedirish - Feb 2, 2013 at 9:40 AM

      Bern, why do you say Spond? The article says Smith is slotted as a Cat. Spond is the drop linebacker right? Am I confusing the two positions? Sounds like he can play both if we need him to, so maybe it doesnt matter.

      • bernhtp - Feb 2, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        I’ve always seen Jaylon projected at Dog given his speed, athleticism and coverage abilities. Cat is usually requires a bigger frame, similar to a DE, such as the current two-deep of Shembo and Williams. Maybe they’ll move Ishaq to DE, but I still think of Smith as a Dog rather than Cat.

      • bernhtp - Feb 2, 2013 at 9:04 PM

        Out of curiosity, I did a search and read a bunch of articles on Jaylon. Almost all predicted he would play Dog in Diaco’s system, though a couple also said that he might later move to Cat once he gained more size/strength and after Shembo and Williams graduated.

      • ibleedirish - Feb 4, 2013 at 8:46 AM

        Fair enough, I stand corrected. Thanks for the info. I still wouldnt be at all suprised to see some interesting combinations and adjustements to get the best talent on the field, and cover up our glaring weekness at the mike/will spots.

  3. dmac4real - Feb 1, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    I dont see why he would play cat.

    If he can rush, and still cover like a corner, wouldnt you want him to be the one dropping into coverage?

    Ill trust BK/Diaco here, but it just seems odd.

    • dickasman - Feb 1, 2013 at 10:43 PM

      THIS HAS BEEN DELETED, TOO.

    • gtizzo - Feb 4, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      Good point. Something tells me he ends up doing a few different things with as talented as he is. I would use his coverage skills, and speed, this kid this a great recruiting plus for ND. Linebacker then can run with a tight end is a nice pet to have.

  4. kiopta1 - Feb 1, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    He is so gifted he could likely move all over the D and still be effective while confusing the Oline.

  5. dickasman - Feb 1, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    Wait a minute… This guy works at Burger King? Is that why he signed with BK? All jokes aside(and there are plenty here), what a humble son of a gun! Old timer, throw back. I like this kid. My kinda guy. How can I give his family some money? Stay off the Facebook jaylon and you will walk outta here a legend son!

  6. kiopta1 - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    Man what is wrong with you?

    • dickasman - Feb 2, 2013 at 5:04 AM

      Oh and I kinda miss doing all that stuff and I’m bored.

  7. xli2006 - Feb 2, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    The moderator is obviously asleep at the wheel. This kid doesn’t deserve those comments man, get a grip.

    Indiana needs more standout talent like this to emerge and especially talent that stays in state.

    • dickasman - Feb 2, 2013 at 4:50 AM

      Hey where did you get your GED sister? I don’t see where anyone said anything bad about the kid? You speak engriiiishhh(hand gestures)?

    • dickasman - Feb 2, 2013 at 4:56 AM

      Get off the unicorn 2006 and stop being so sensitive. I like the kid, i like him alot! there I said it and spelled it out for ya for a good measure. Holy Christ.

    • Keith Arnold - Feb 2, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      There is no moderator. It’s me. And I’m working on it.

  8. irishpuma - Feb 2, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    Keith nice piece however can you edit this passage ” becoming a perpetual thrown in Notre Dame’s side ever since both town.” I will chalk it up to a case of the Friday’s brotha!

    As for Smith he is the man pure and simple. So excited to watch him develop for the next 4 years. The golden dome is not going anywhere but the football team is, back to the top.

    Smith is the right man at the right time and his attitude and work ethic will be contagious!!

  9. takingbovadasmoney - Feb 2, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    Jaylon remembered Brian Kelly’s words….”Manti she is dead go out and play…..”

    • dickasman - Feb 2, 2013 at 4:53 AM

      Lololololol, y something like that. In this case, bk won’t have to threaten him with “hey you wanna flip burgers rest oh your life”…boy can’t remember how many times my teachers told me that and by gosh, they were right, almost.

  10. ibleedirish - Feb 2, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    If the kid is as good as advertised (he certainly seems to be) he’ll be starting at a linebacker position day one or at least in the two deep. Although not a natural mike/will I have a feeling he’ll crush our other options there.

  11. 1historian - Feb 2, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Dick;

    I have to tell you this – you have lost your edge. You have committed the cardinal sin – you have become boring and WORST of all – predictable. Why this has come about I have no idea, but I suspect it might have something to do with the fact that you cite Jerry Garcia as one of your influences. Your reference to Phish pretty much confirmed that.

    The last time I saw the Grateful Dead was in San Francisco at the Fillmore in April 1970 when they appeared along with Quicksilver Messenger Service (8-10), Jefferson Airplane (10:15-12) and then the Dead from about 12:30 until 4. It was an evening entitled “Three Bands for Three Dollars”. About a month before that I saw the Dead at the Fillmore and the opener was Miles Davis.

    Your inability to see (musically) beyond Phish is sad. What do I suggest? Bluegrass. The story is told of the young Jerry Garcia (pre-Dead days) journeying east to see Bill Monroe and when in the same room with him becoming so intimidated by his mere presence that he didn’t even have the balls to stay in the same room with him, let alone take his banjo out of the case.

    And there is the joke – What did the one stoned Grateful Dead fan say to the other stoned Grateful Dead fan after the dope wore off at the Grateful Dead concert?

    “This band really sucks.”

    But – don’t take my word for it. I forget who the big guy for Phish is, I think it’s Troy or something, but just mention the name ‘Sam Bush’ to him and if he is wearing a hat he will doff it, because he idolizes Sam, as does Jorma Kaukonen and a lot of rock ‘luminaries’ who make the money but Sam – and others like him – make the MUSIC. And there is a big difference.

    If you doubt me there is somewhere a recording of Garcia playing with David Grisman and Tony Rice, and it is pretty obvious who is the musical lightweight in the equation.

    You need new musical heroes, and then you might get your edge back.

    • nudeman - Feb 2, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      I have to stand up for Mr. Asman here

      First, I see nothing predictable about that post. Show me another one in the history of this board that mentions nitrous oxide, acid, the Dead, and clubbing.

      Second, I have always loved the Dead and Jerry (may he RIP). Probably saw them 75-80 times, and without question the best performance I ever saw was in Des Moines in 1974; a winter night in 1978 at Northern Illinois U in DeKalb, Illinois was a close 2nd. Never saw Phish and they never really moved me that much. Love Boz, the Allman Bros and The Band too.

      Anyone got any papers?

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Feb 2, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      I will not take sides in this argument. Only wanted to add that, while I haven’t met many famous people in my life, I have had occasion to meet both Jerry Garcia and Bill Monroe. Weird, right?

      • nudeman - Feb 2, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        You met Jerry?
        Details please. Hope it was in one of his coherent periods.
        Poor guy; for all his greatness he had demons.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Feb 2, 2013 at 7:48 PM

        It was around 1984 or 1985, I was a lowly law clerk for a firm that represented John Scher, a Jersey concert promoter who was, I think, the Dead’s exclusive promoter on the East Coast. One day, I was given a file folder and told to take it up to Scher’s office in Montclair right away. I guess these were the pre fax machine days because I was told to deliver the package, wait for documents to be signed and bring everything back to the office. I got there, handed everything to the receptionist and she told me to have a seat. She brought the folder into an office and came back out and sat down. She said, “Do you know who’s in there?” I had no idea. “Most of the Grateful Dead, do you know who they are?” Well, of course I knew who they were but I didn’t make a big deal out of it. A couple of minutes later, her phone buzzes and she picks up and says, “Okay, I’ll send the lawyer in.” A wave of panic overtook me because a) I wasn’t a lawyer yet and b) what if these guys had questions about the contract that I wouldn’t be able to answer. I went in, met John Scher and he introduces me to Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh. Fortunately, they had no legal questions and Scher handed me the file and I left. So I can always claim I shook the hand of the man.

        Meeting Bill Monroe was much less dramatic. I went to see him and the Bluegrass Boys play at the Englishtown Opry House. When he was done, he stayed on stage hawking his albums, t shirts, etc. I bought an album, he signed it, we talked for a minute or two, I shook his hand and left. An American legend, in any case.

        I have also met Springsteen (and bought him a drink), Jon BonJovi (who is remarkably short, but a good ND fan), literally bumped into George Burns when I was 15 and he stumbled out of a restaurant in Red Bank, NJ and crashed right into me, burning the back of my hand with his cigar, Southside Johnny, David Johansen and Joey Ramone. I also met and shook hands with Kyle Rudolph, Justin Tuck and Coach Kelly at the Lincoln Center Pep Rally the night before the Army game at Yankee Stadium a few years ago. And that’s about it with respect to famous people. The meeting with Jerry Garcia definitely stands out in my memory however.

      • nudeman - Feb 2, 2013 at 8:54 PM

        jersey
        That’s a pretty solid story. Too bad there were no cell phone cameras back then.
        I lived in the SF area for a long time and was backstage on two occasions. Once was circa 1988 and they were playing their NY eve suite of shows in Oakland. This was on the night before NY eve, I was backstage (amazingly snuck in), and Garcia came out to do a tv interview with a NY tv station before going on stage. I was probably no more than 2 feet from him and his skin was milk white. Obviously he hadn’t been to rehab in a while. Looked and sounded terrible.

        The other time was at the Greek Theater in Berkeley; hung out backstage for an hour or so before the show, saw them all up close and personal. Garcia actually was clean at that point and looked great; Weir stood right next to me, chatting someone up before taking stage. I always thought he was on the taller side. Wrong. Not Bon Jovi short, but probably no more than 5’9″. Lesh blew past, all business. Hart smoking a fattie, eying the babe I was with.

        My only brush with fame.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Feb 2, 2013 at 9:30 PM

        Yeah no cell phone cameras back then. Amazing how technology has developed in the past two decades. I can remember my first car phone in like 1994, a clunky Motorola (with cord attached) which fascinated my kids who were little at the time. Hell, what year did Wall Street come out? I was in awe of that scene with Michael Douglas on the beach talking to Bud Fox on that big old phone with no cord. Now I can watch YouTube videos of the Dead in concert on my smart phone anywhere I want. Crazy when you think about it.

      • mtb1996 - Feb 3, 2013 at 12:16 AM

        I once sent Betty White a drink from across a restaurant in Beverly Hills… does that count?

      • nudeman - Feb 3, 2013 at 9:38 AM

        I’d have to say “yes”. Everybody loves Betty.
        What was the drink, and did she accept/consume it?

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Feb 3, 2013 at 4:26 PM

        Sending Betty White a cocktail is so effing money.

    • dickasman - Feb 3, 2013 at 1:25 PM

      The point I was trying to make is that I did a lot of bad sht to myself in my life but somehow found the way to do the right things in life regardless and have done so even while intoxicated under whatever. Drugs are bad for you. you will feel great while on it but you will pay for it dearly later on. Held down jobs, multiple even. How people just do the weirdest sht completely sober today is beyond me. I am the way I am because of some of things I have done were really “kewl” thing to do back then and I regret every moment of it.

    • dickasman - Feb 3, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      Guys I just want my dopamine back. You know how? I get migraines constantly n pop sumatriptan like Jennifer pops midol. When that don’t work, toradol. This must be what it’s like to have cte which is another reason why you should get your degree at nd and forget football!

  12. bearcatirishfan - Feb 2, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Dick, how did you afford all that? Is your real name Sean Stewart?

    • dickasman - Feb 3, 2013 at 1:28 PM

      Easy, I had jobs and student loans. My left pinky cocaine nail has accomplished more than that kid. Same could be said for his father.

  13. tony34343434 - Feb 2, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    Jaylon your maturity and work ethic will serve you well and i am sure you will be a fan favorite and star. You will bring a lot to the University. You will also receive the greatest education in the country and when you graduate you will have your choice of jobs. ND is a special place unlike any university. We are lucky to have you and after you are at school for 4 years you will realize how lucky you also are. Best of luck we are all rooting for you, GO IRISH!!!!

  14. dudeacow - Feb 2, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    This guy is crazy. I’ve heard him described as a corner in a linebacker’s body and an end in a linebacker’s body. By the time he’s finished at ND, no one will even remember the name Jarvis Jones.

  15. packhawk04 - Feb 2, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    “Theres still a spot at michigan if youre interested.”

    Wow… what a sales pitch. Incredible. It really shows you how far notre dame has come that a kid can listen to that, and STILL come to notre dame.

    Sarcasm off.

  16. elwaysmilehighdenver - Feb 2, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Priceless reading the domer blog and hearing the who’s who egos trying to out do the other guy. Way touch time on your hands! It would be hilarious if it wasn’t sad and so typical for a domer. It’s ALL about ME.

    • 1historian - Feb 3, 2013 at 11:20 PM

      The New Riders of the Purple Sage.

      Pacific Coast Highway? Can’t remember exactly. I had been in California for 2 days when we went to see them it was at night I was stoned to the bone and I never went back there again so that’s the most I can remember. That also was when Pigpen played with the Dead.

    • dbldmr - Feb 4, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      …and your comment would be funnier if it were in English. What the hell does, “Way touch time on your hands!” mean?

  17. 1historian - Feb 2, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    I lived in Woodside California near San Jose south of SF for 2 1/2 months from February thru mid April 1970. 2 days after I got there we went to a place on the Gulf Coast Highway (?) to see the Dead. My first time. The opener was Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen. Good time.

    Saw Garcia once in Menlo Park when he played steel with the band whose name I forget but Mickey Hart and David Nelson were there and so were a few others. My Dead experience was all crammed into that period of 10 weeks or so. I left thinking they were the all time cosmic overlords of all they surveyed but in 1972 when I heard a band named NewGrass Revival that all changed.

    Garcia was a good musician but I never got the ‘Captain Trips’ thing.

    NewGrass Revival eventually broke up in 1989. Their last gig was December 31, 1989 at the Fillmore West when they opened for – The Grateful Dead.

    Garcia was a huge fan of theirs.

    But I digress.

    4 days until NSD.

    Dick – if you’re bored – you need new musical heroes.

    Thanks folks for your memories.

    Here’s one more – in March 1973 I was living in Boston and a friend of mine was a bluegrass promoter and she brought Bill Monroe to town and I was a gofer for her so I got there a few hours early to help out and nature called and I answered and I sat down on the throne and I noticed that there was someone on the throne in the next stall and there was a nice looking western style hat on the floor and he finished what he had to do he picked up the hat and left and then I finished what I had to do and left and the next time I saw that hat it was perched on the head of – you know who.
    So – the first time I saw Bill Monroe (his feet anyway) he was – ……..

    True story

    GO IRISH

    • nudeman - Feb 3, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      Re: the band whose name you can’t remember … sure sounds like it was the New Riders. Nelson was their lead guitarist and Garcia and Hart played for them in their incipient stage in 1970. “Gulf Coast Hwy” though is a swing an a miss. I know of no such road. There’s Hwy 1 of course.

      “Captain Trips” was just an affectionate tip of the hat to Garcia’s love for psychedelics. A goofy name that I don’t think he was all that crazy about.

      The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe is the best book about that era. Timeless.

      Get Vanderdoes. Beat Temple.

  18. vicpaul - Feb 3, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    I read Keith’s articles all the time but never post, but damn Dick you made me tonight. What’s your deal? Do you even like ND football? I am so sick and tired of reading your crap. I try to just pass over them but they’re like a bad car accident, you just have to look. Please, please, please just go away. You are annoying, mean spirited and frankly, not even remotely funny.

    I personally think Jaylon is going to be a freaking stud! Go Irish!!!!!!

    • dickasman - Feb 3, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      Vic, I have been to numerous spring games. I grew up in a family of nd graduates and had grandparents w season tickets. Do i like nd football? y i love me some nd football, especially more since ive sobered up. Sorry I’m not YOU! I don’t sit here n make fun of you for trying to plant your self firmly inside Keith’s sphincter. I do like to call things as I see it. Too bad you can’t vote for Obama next election, huh? What a shame…what ru gonna do?

      Vic you should really start your own blog where nobody will go.

      • vicpaul - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        You bring Obama into it? God, that’s funny. I’m Canadian so I could care less about your government. And as far as being up Keith’s sphincter, well you’re the assman so I’ll just leave that one up to you. Stay classy Dick and Go Irish!!!!

      • dickasman - Feb 4, 2013 at 7:27 PM

        You Canadian hey? Sh!t, I concede…you win. You guys are smart enough not to vote section8 for president. How can I argue w that? Enjoy your sweet nectar of a victory sir!

  19. fnc111 - Feb 3, 2013 at 1:42 AM

    If we had a good coach I’d be so pumped to watch ND pound scUM this year but this CBK just doesn’t have it in him just look at the 2011 debacle. Maybe Kelly will get it after reading this article. scUM is scUM. Put your man pants on Kelly and start 2-0 next year! It’s fine if you don’t ever want to be a Domer lifer but you have to beat scUM bro. If he loses again I say plezzzzz go to the NFL.

    • mayo1010 - Feb 9, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      fnc111 i didn’t know they gave crappy coaches the honor of national coach of the year? u r such and idiot!

  20. yaketyyacc - Feb 3, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    keith, just when I think, there’s no topping this, you do. Jaylon Smith. I love his remark: “the Golden Dome isn’t going away.” He’s almost grown up under that Dome, living in Indiana. I wish him nothing but continued growth. Luck, no, this young man manufactures his destiny, and he is doing very well. The Irish are coming!

    • bernhtp - Feb 3, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      Jaylon’s remark was very good, but my rebuff would have gone something like this:

      Mattison: It looks like Kelly is leaving for the NFL. We have a spot for you.

      Jaylon Smith: Let me know when Our Lady climbs down from her perch atop the golden dome. Until that happens, I’m not interested.

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Feb 4, 2013 at 8:42 PM

      When i read that quote “the golden dome isn’t going anywhere,” I wanted to tell him “you had me at hello…”

  21. bearcatirishfan - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    Dick, you gotta give rod the fact that he got Rachel hunter when she was still gorgeous. Other than that you are right not much to brag about from the Stewart clan.

    • dickasman - Feb 4, 2013 at 7:29 PM

      Thumbs up!

  22. elwaysmilehighdenver - Feb 4, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Dbldmr@ Sorry typo. Should say way to much time on your hands.

    • dickasman - Feb 4, 2013 at 7:30 PM

      How does john’s sphincter taste? Oh please do describe in detail, please.

  23. kennyk1229 - Feb 5, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    I met James Pankow, the trombonist from the group Chicago at a South Bend hotel lounge one evening. He was the most personable person and very kind. Talked for about 15 minutes about the group and others in the industry. Does that count? Been a huge Chicago fan for 40 years. They belong in the Rock Hall of Fame…don’t you think?

    And as for Jaylon Smith, he’s going to be a great one I believe. A good fit and a leader through and through. Don’t know much about “cat” or “dog” but my gut tells me he’ll be on the field most of the season.

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