Irish A-to-Z: Tyler Newsome


While Kyle Brindza is holding down both the placekicking and punting jobs, freshman Tyler Newsome was brought in on scholarship to take over punting when Brindza’s record-setting career in South Bend is over. The long and lanky specialist who handled all three phases of the kicking game in high school, Newsome will compete for that opportunity in 2015 as well.

Let’s take a closer look at the incoming freshman from Georgia.


6’3″ 190 lbs.
Freshman, No. 85



It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but Newsome had a three-star ranking on Rivals, a big deal for a specialist. An All-State player in Georgia, Newsome was a Semper-Fidelis All-American game participant and the No. 4 punter in the country according to Kohl’s Kicking School.

A scholarship offer was all it took to land Newsome, who Brian Kelly got a look at during Notre Dame’s summer camp last June.

“We had Tyler up here this summer. We had the kicking camp here, and we got a chance to see him work out,” Kelly said. “Just was really impressed with his versatility. Long lever punter, which in terms of his abilities really transcend the normal punting.  He’s a guy that doesn’t come along very often. He’s 6’3″, 190 pounds right now, and he is skinny.  He’s going to be a really big kid.  We loved the pop that he had as a kicker, but we were most intrigued by his punting, and that’s an area that he’s going to continue to work on and continue to develop.”



It’s hard to get too jacked up about a punter, but Newsome’s frame and body-type seem to get Kelly excited, so that’s good enough for me. After getting a weight-room warrior in Brindza and former punter Ben Turk, the Irish staff is taking a guy based on body projection in Newsome, who should be able to add quite a bit of explosiveness to his leg in Paul Longo’s strength and conditioning program.



If Newsome sees the field this year, it’s because something bad happened to Kyle Brindza. It’s most likely that Newsome will save a year of eligibility and then take the field in 2015, where he’ll be competing with incoming freshman kicker Justin Yoon.

My guess? Newsome will be punting and Yoon kicking in 2015, a lot of pressure on two young scholarship specialists.

It’s hard to get too serious about digging into the YouTube clips of high school kickers and punters, but Newsome is exactly what the coaching staff wanted when they decided to offer a scholarship to a specialist. He’s a versatile kicker with high upside who has shown the ability to do multiple jobs at the high school level, but a guy that projects easily as a punter at the very least.

Newsome will have some responsibilities hoisted on his shoulders soon. But it won’t happen in 2014.



The Irish A-to-Z
Josh Atkinson
Nicky Baratti
Alex Bars
Hunter Bivin
Grant Blankenship
Jonathan Bonner
Justin Brent
Kyle Brindza
Chris Brown
Jalen Brown
Greg Bryant
Devin Butler
Jimmy Byrne
Daniel Cage
Amir Carlisle
Austin Collinsworth
Ben Councell
Scott Daly
Sheldon Day
Michael Deeb
Steve Elmer
Matthias Farley
Tarean Folston
Everett Golson
Jarrett Grace
Conor Hanratty
Eilar Hardy
Mark Harrell
Jay Hayes
Matt Hegarty
Mike Heuerman
Kolin Hill
Corey Holmes
Chase Hounshell
Torii Hunter Jr.
Jarron Jones
DeShone Kizer
Ben Koyack
Christian Lombard
Tyler Luatua
Cole Luke
Nick Martin
Greer Martini
Jacob Matuska
Cam McDaniel
Mike McGlinchey
Colin McGovern
Pete Mokwuah
John Montelus
Kendall Moore
Nyles Morgan
Sam Mustipher
Quenton Nelson

Irish add commitment from CB Donte Vaughn

Donte Vaughn

Notre Dame’s recruiting class grew on Monday. And in adding 6-foot-3 Memphis cornerback Donte Vaughn, it grew considerably.

The Irish added another jumbo-sized skill player in Vaughn, beating out a slew of SEC offers for the intriguing cover man. Vaughn picked Notre Dame over offers from Auburn, LSU, Miami, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Texas A&M among others.

He made the announcement on Monday, his 18th birthday:

It remains to be seen if Vaughn can run like a true cornerback. But his length certainly gives him a skill-set that doesn’t currently exist on the Notre Dame roster.

Interestingly enough, Vaughn’s commitment comes a cycle after Brian VanGorder made news by going after out-of-profile coverman Shaun Crawford, immediately offering the 5-foot-9 cornerback after taking over for Bob Diaco, who passed because of Crawford’s size. An ACL injury cut short Crawford’s freshman season before it got started, but not before Crawford already proved he’ll be a valuable piece of the Irish secondary for years to come.

Vaughn is another freaky athlete in a class that already features British Columbia’s Chase Claypool. With a safety depth chart that’s likely turning over quite a bit in the next two seasons, Vaughn can clearly shift over if that’s needed, though Notre Dame adding length like Vaughn clearly points to some of the shifting trends after Richard Sherman went from an average wide receiver to one of the best cornerbacks in football, and Vaughn will be asked to play on the outside.

Vaughn is the 15th member of Notre Dame’s 2016 signing class. He is the fifth defensive back, joining safeties D.J. Morgan, Jalen Elliott and Spencer Perry along with cornerback Julian Love. The Irish project to take one more.

With Notre Dame expecting another huge recruiting weekend with USC coming to town, it’ll be very interesting to see how the Irish staff close out this recruiting class.




Days before facing Notre Dame, USC coach Steve Sarkisian to take leave of absence


When Notre Dame takes on rival USC on Saturday, they’ll be facing a Trojans team without a head coach. USC athletic director Pat Haden announced today that effective immediately, head coach Steve Sarkisian will be taking an indefinite leave of absence. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton will be interim head coach.

While the details are still coming into focus, multiple reports point to another incident with alcohol. Haden himself said that he made the decision after speaking with Sarkisian.

“I called Steve and talked to him. It was very clear to me that he is not healthy. I asked him to take an indefinite leave of absence,” Haden said, according to multiple Los Angeles media reports.

Sarkisian’s decision-making and alcohol use came into the spotlight this August when the head coach made inappropriate statements at a large booster event. Sarkisian addressed the media after the incident, acknowledged mixing medication with alcohol, and vowed to seek help and not to make the same mistake again.

Today’s incident appears to be a relapse, and one that requires immediate attention. Helton ran the team’s practice today and steps back into an interim head coaching role, a job he handled after the Trojans fired Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron left after not being awarded the permanent job.

“Fortunately or unfortunately, I have been in this situation before,” Helton said. “Once again, I’m very fortunate to have a group of first-class kids that are extremely talented and want to do something special here.”

This is the second major sports persona to leave his season to seek treatment in recent weeks. New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia left the team to seek treatment for alcohol issues. The Trojans are coming off an upset loss to Washington on Thursday night, losing 17-12 as a 17-point favorite.