Cam McDaniel

Spring practice video breakdown: Part six

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On Saturday, Notre Dame had their first and only open practice of the spring. (Until the Blue-Gold game, that is.) With Loftus packed to the walls with a thousand high school coaches a a large group of local media getting their looks at an Irish squad three-quarters of the way through spring ball, there was plenty to see.

Let’s get into our breakdown of UND.com’s official look at practice, which features one impressive catch by freshman Corey Robinson and a few other revealing snippets that give you an idea of how the 2013 squad is shaping up.

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0:09 — Kicker/punter Kyle Brindza was given the task of breaking down the squad. Brindza has a lot on his shoulders next season, with the place-kicking and punting jobs both his to lose.

Irish Illustrated’s Tim Prister reported that it was a rough day for the specialists, with Brindza only making two of five field goal attempts, which fifth-year senior Nick Tausch made just one of five. (Worth mentioning: The sky isn’t falling. Kicking in Loftus is far from the real thing.)

0:36 — It sounds like Everett Golson is mic’d up again. That’s a nice reminder that the NBC Sports Channel is airing another one-hour special on the Irish, in the lead up to the Blue-Gold game next Saturday.

0:39 — A little drill work to get us going. Sheldon Day (#91) tackles a fake ball carrier. Ishaq Williams (#11) drives a blocking sled. Bob Diaco coaches up the fundamentals.

0:45 — There’s a lot athletically to like about Daniel Smith (#87). This should be an interesting season for the local South Bend product. Will he be just another spring achiever, or will he play a significant role in the offense.

Remember, it wasn’t all that long ago that Brian Kelly was singing the praises of Deion Walker in spring ball. I think he ended up with one catch the season after.

0:49 — Here’s one of Brindza’s field goal attempts. The snap looked good — thanks to new long-snapper Scott Daly, who is taking over for departing veteran Jordan Cowart.

0:51 — What’s up, Manti?

0:54 — That’s a tough match-up for Austin Collinsworth (#28), trying to match-up physically with Alex Welch (#82).

0:59 — I’ve done my best not to rave about Cam McDaniel (#33) yet, but I’ve got to believe he’s going to get some significant carries in the offense this season. He seems to be a guy that has such a strong grasp of the game, and is too productive of an athlete to keep off the field.

1:05 — About the only guy that CAN keep McDaniel off the field is George Atkinson III (#4). Here’s Atkinson on one of those nifty stretch pitches, getting around the edge and running for a nice gain.

1:11 — Here’s your catch of the spring by freshman Corey Robinson (#88). That’s a heckuva play by a kid many didn’t expect to be ready to contribute. Now (if we’re jumping to conclusions), it’s going to be hard not to imagine a role for him in next year’s offense, especially with his height and ball skills.

1:20 — New receiver CJ Prosise (#20) just did bad, bad things to Eilar Hardy, burning by him for a big gain in one-on-one drills. Prosise is a really intriguing athlete. He’s a 220-pound guy that seems to have pretty good jets, too. (He was a 10.9 100m guy in high school.)

It’s too early to call him a poor man’s Percy Harvin, but it looks like Kelly and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin seem to have a guy they think can excel in the slot.

1:27 — Looks like Josh Atkinson (#24) got away with some interference.

1:35 — This looks like some eleven-on-eleven work, with plenty of talent getting after it.

1:38 — Ishaq Williams just plants Will Mahone here. From other reports, it sounds like freshman Mike Heuerman whiffed on his block.

1:45 — Don’t look now, but Tommy Rees has been showing some good touch on his fade routes. Here’s a nice conversion with Davaris Daniels (#10).

1:51 — Big Louis Nix (#1) just burns past Nick Martin on his way to a big hit in the backfield.

1:59 — This would be an exciting development. Golson buys time, keeps his eyes down field and throws a strike to Prosise, who gallops away from defenders for an easy touchdown.

2:04 — That’s a nice play by linebacker Kendall Moore (#8) who is fighting for his chance at middle linebacker. Right now, he’s slotted behind Jarrett Grace, but Moore definitely has the athleticism and physicality necessary to play.

2:10 — That’s Mahone bursting through for a nice gain.

2:12 — Rees throws another nice deep ball — this time it’s Chris Brown (#2) making the back-shoulder catch.

2:18 — Nice grab, Davaris Daniels.

 

 

 

 

Sheldon Day drafted in 4th round by Jaguars

North Carolina v Notre Dame
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Former Notre Dame captain Sheldon Day didn’t have to wait long on Saturday to hear his name called. The Indianapolis native, All-American, and the Irish’s two-time defensive lineman of the year was pick number 103, the fourth pick of the fourth round on Saturday afternoon.

Day was the seventh Irish player drafted, following first rounders Ronnie Stanley and Will Fuller, second round selections Jaylon Smith and Nick Martin, and third rounders KeiVarae Russell and C.J. Prosise.

Day has a chance to contribute as he joins the 24th-ranked defense in the league. Joining a draft class heavy on defensive players—Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack and Yannick Ngakoue already picked ahead of him—the front seven will also include last year’s No. 3 overall pick Dante Fowler, who missed the entire season with a knee injury.

Scouted by the Jaguars at the Senior Bowl, Day doesn’t necessarily have the size to be a traditional defensive tackle. But under Gus Bradley’s attacking system (Bradley coordinated the Seahawks defense for four seasons), Day will find a niche and a role in a young defense that’s seen a heavy investment the past two years.

Smith, Martin, Russell and Prosise all drafted Friday night

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 13: William Fuller #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Nick Martin #72 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate a touchdown during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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Jaylon Smith, Nick Martin, KeiVarae Russell and C.J. Prosise were all selected on Friday, with four Irish teammates taken on the second night of the NFL Draft. As mentioned, Smith came off the board at pick 34, with the Cowboys gambling on the injured knee of the Butkus Award winner. Nick Martin was selected at pick 50, joining former teammate Will Fuller in Houston.

The third round saw Russell and Prosise come off the board, with Kansas City jumping on the confident cornerback and the Seahawks taking Notre Dame’s breakout running back. It capped off a huge night for the Irish with Sheldon Day, one of the more productive football players in college football, still on the board for teams to pick.

Here’s a smattering of instant reactions from the immediate aftermath.

 

 

Jaylon Smith goes to Dallas with 34th pick

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 07:  Jaylon Smith #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates by wearing the hat of team mascot, Lucky The Leprechaun, following their 42-30 win against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field on November 7, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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Jaylon Smith’s nightmare is over.

After watching his football life thrown into chaos with a career-altering knee injury, Smith came off the board after just two picks in the second round, selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 34th pick. His selection ended the most challenging months of Smith’s young life, and come after cashing in a significant tax-free, loss-of-value insurance policy that’ll end up being just shy of a million dollars.

No, it’s not top-five money like Smith could’ve expected if he didn’t get hurt. But Smith isn’t expected to play in 2016.

And while there was a pre-draft fascination that focused on the doom and gloom more than the time-consuming recovery, it’s worth pointing out that Dallas’ medical evaluation comes from the source—literally. After all, it was the Cowboys team doctor, Dr. Dan Cooper, who performed the surgery to repair Smith’s knee.

Smith joins Ezekiel Elliott with the Cowboys, arguably the two best position players in the draft. While he might not be available in 2016, Smith will be under the supervision of the Cowboys’ medical staff, paid a seven-figure salary to get healthy with the hopes that he’ll be back to his All-American self sooner than later, especially as the nerve in his knee returns to full functionality.

Will Fuller brings his game-changing skills to the Texans offense

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 07: Will Fuller #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish catches a pass before running into the endzone for a touchdown in the second quarter in front of Avonte Maddox #14 of the Pittsburgh Panthers during the game at Heinz Field on November 7, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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In all the weeks and months leading up to the NFL Draft, one key tidbit linking Will Fuller to the Houston Texans never seemed to come up. The relationship between Brian Kelly and Bill O’Brien.

The two coaches share a high school alma mater, a friendship that made the due diligence on Notre Dame’s prolific playmaker easy. And it was clear that after all their research, Houston was aggressive in their pursuit of Fuller, trading up to make Notre Dame’s All-American the second receiver off the board, triggered a run at the position.

“He was a guy that we felt strongly about,” Texans general manager Rick Smith told the team’s official website. “We didn’t want to take a chance on not getting him. We were aggressive. We went and made the move.”

That move made Fuller’s decision to leave Notre Dame after three seasons a good one. While it’ll require the Irish to rebuild at a position where Fuller served as one of college football’s best home run hitters, it gives Houston a vertical threat that can extend the top of a defense for a Texans offense that was serious about finding some solutions for a team already in the playoff mix.

Yes, Fuller has work to do. Completing the easy catch is one big area. But for all the pre-draft talk about his limitations, Brian Kelly took on some of the criticism head-on when talking with the Texans’ media reporter.

“Some people have compared him to Teddy Ginn, that’s not fair. He can catch the ball vertically like nobody I’ve coached in 25 years,” Kelly said (a sentiment some hack also laid out). Teddy Ginn is a very good player, but this is a different kind of player. If you throw the ball deep, he’s going to catch the football.”

Fuller is never going to be the biggest receiver on the field. But while most of the banter on his game focused on the negative or his deep ball skills, expect Fuller to find a role not just running deep but unleashed in the screen game as well. After the Texans spent huge on quarterback Brock Osweiler and have invested in fellow Philadelphia native and 2015 third-round pick Jaelen Strong, Fuller wasn’t selected for the future but rather expected to be a day-one piece of the puzzle.

“This will change the speed on offense immediately,” Kelly said. “It was not ‘Hey, let’s wait a couple of years’. It was ‘Let’s go get this right now’ and I think Will will do that for them.”