New York Post

Back to football: Video breakdown

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Notre Dame plays Rice in less than two weeks. While that might take a backseat to the interest following the academic investigation that’s underway, the Irish are preparing for a football game, and 15 practices into camp, things are starting to come together.

With Media Day Tuesday, I’ll have a better opportunity to poke and prod and see things for myself. But here’s another breakdown of the Irish’s practice, taking a look at Saturday’s open practice inside Notre Dame Stadium.

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0:16 — Notre Dame Stadium is shaping up… And look close enough and you see another slick Under Armour shirt for UND.com’s Jack Nolan. (Not to mention the Irish coastal grasses, or whatever we’re calling the thick rough I lost my golf balls in.)

0:21 — Look closely and you see Doug Randolph (44) and Durham Smythe (80) riding the stationary bikes.

0:35 — Welcome back, Mike Denbrock.

0:39 — That is some artistic trolling… Look at that beautiful synthetic shag.

0:41 — He may have lost his starting job, but I don’t want to see Romeo Okwara (45) coming off the edge at my blind side.

0:44 — That’s DeShone Kizer (14) and Malik Zaire (8) working some agility drills.

0:47 — Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder coaches up freshman Nyles Morgan (5), who looks to have dinged up his thumb this camp.

0:52 — Nice coverage by Cole Luke (36), but Chris Brown (2) gets inside and makes a well-contested catch.

 0:56 — Maybe Matthias Farley (41) is the defense’s version of Tommy Rees. Just when you think he’s buried, he finds a way back to life. Here Farley gets beat to the corner by C.J. Prosise (20).

1:01 — Not sure if that was underthrown, but you know Cody Riggs (2) has pretty good jets when he’s running stride for stride with Will Fuller (7). The pass falls incomplete and Fuller looks a little bit gimpy.

1:05 — I’m all for tight coverage, Devin Butler (12). But that’s 10 yards the easy way for Corey Holmes (15).

1:11 — Not sure if Jalen Brown (21) gets away with that one, either…

1:15 — Nice move by Corey Robinson (88) to break that route off. He hits the breaks and Nick Watkins (19) flies by him.

1:20 — That’s walk-on freshman Keenan Centlivre (87), a 6-foot-6 wide receiver boxing out senior walk-on Connor Cavalaris (47). That’s some intriguing size.

1:22Ben Koyack (18) when one way, Drue Tranquill (23) went another. Koyack just ate Tranquill up, as the young safety tried to squat on the route.

1:28 — Maybe I’m going to start buying what BK is selling on Chris Brown. That’s a pretty impressive catch in the corner of the end zone that the refs gave him. (Now would the replay officials?)

1:35 — That doesn’t seem fair. It looked like Robinson was wearing those velcro gloves when he reached out and snatched that throw over Cole Luke. (Nice ball by Malik Zaire.)

1:42Everett Golson throws a rocket to Brown, who juggled the ball before catching in underneath the Irish coverage.

1:46James Onwualu (17) would’ve had the sack, but Golson drills a deep corner to Will Fuller, and then another rep shows him hitting Brown again, this time in front of Cody Riggs.

1:55 — This time it’s Zaire’s turn to hit Brown.

2:04 — Gotta think that’s broken coverage. C.J. Prosise was wide open behind the defense, keeping his feet and jogging in for a touchdown.

2:11 — Zaire shows some nice zip, hitting Holmes on the sideline in front of Brown.

2:14 — If you’re looking to start some Jaylon Smith All-American reels, here’s the first of two pretty good plays. A nice breakup on Koyack.

2:18 — Fancy feet by Tarean Folston (25), who runs through a shadow defense.

2:22 — Unfortunately, Jaylon runs through Folston who was trying to pass block him, with Smith literally de-cleating Folston the blocker on his way to the quarterback.

For the love of football, I hope we get a chance to see Smith blitz a bit this season.

2:27 — Speaking of steamrollers, Sheldon Day (91) just put one on Mike McGlinchey (68), who was filling in at left tackle. Day got the sack with Anthony Rabasa (56) coming off the other edge.

2:40 — Decent pass rush by “starter” Andrew Trumbetti (98), working against McGlinchey. Golson steps up to buy time, scrambles until his pass is knocked down by Onwualu.

2:48 — Those freshmen mistakes that Kelly talked about with Zaire? This is one of them. Rolling right, throwing across his body into the end zone, Zaire is picked off by Elijah Shumate, a killer turnover that would’ve got some steam to come out of BK’s ears.

2:58 — That’s some red zone success for the 1st team offense, with Golson connecting with Koyack.

 

 

Five Irish players sign UFA contracts

Matthias Farley
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Notre Dame had seven players selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, trailing only Ohio State, Clemson and UCLA on the weekend tally. But after the draft finished, the Irish had five more players get their shot at playing on Sundays.

Chris Brown signed with the Dallas Cowboys. Romeo Okwara will begin his career with the New York Giants. Matthias Farley and Amir Carlisle signed contracts with the Arizona Cardinal. Elijah Shumate agreed to a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After missing two seasons, Ishaq Williams will be at Giants rookie camp next weekend as well, working as a tryout player. Expect Jarrett Grace to receive similar opportunities.

Count me among those that thought both Brown and Okwara would hear their names called. Brown’s senior season, not to mention his intriguing measureables, had some projecting him as early as the fifth round.

Okwara, still 20 years old and fresh off leading Notre Dame in sacks in back-to-back seasons, intrigued a lot of teams with his ability to play both defensive end and outside linebacker. He’ll get a chance to make the Giants—the team didn’t draft a defensive end after selecting just one last year, and they’re in desperate need of pass rushers.

Both Shumate and Farley feel like contenders to earn a spot on rosters, both because of their versatility and special teams skills. Shumate played nickel back as a freshman and improved greatly at safety during 2015. Farley bounced around everywhere and was Notre Dame’s special teams captain.

Carlisle might fit a similar mold. He played running back, receiver and returned kicks and punts throughout his college career. With a 4.4 during Notre Dame’s Pro Day, he likely showed the Cardinals enough to take a shot, and now he’ll join an offense with Michael Floyd and Troy Niklas.

 

Robertson picks Cal over Notre Dame, UGA

Demetris Robertson
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Demetris Robertson‘s decision wasn’t trending in Notre Dame’s direction. But those that expected the Savannah star athlete to pick the in-state Bulldogs were in for a surprise when Robertson chose Cal on Sunday afternoon.

Notre Dame’s pursuit of the five-star athlete, recruited to play outside receiver and hopefully replace Will Fuller, likely ended Sunday afternoon with Robertson making the surprise decision to take his substantial talents to Berkeley. And give credit to Robertson for doing what he said all along—picking a school that’ll give him the chance to earn an exceptional education and likely contribute from Day One.

“I am excited to take my talents to the University of California, Berkeley. The first reason is that the education was a big part of my decision. I wanted to keep that foundation,” Robertson said, per CFT. “When I went there, it felt like home. Me and the coaching staff have a great relationship. That’s where I felt were the best of all things for me.”

Adding one final twist in all of this is that Robertson has no letter-of-intent to sign. Because he’s blown three months through Signing Day, Robertson merely enrolls at a college when the time comes. That means until then, Kirby Smart and the Georgia staff will continue to sell Robertson on staying home and helping the Dawgs rebuild. Smart visited with Robertson Saturday night and had multiple assistant coaches at his track meet this weekend.

Summer school begins in June for Notre Dame. Their freshman receiving class looks complete with early enrollee Kevin Stepherson and soon-to-arrive pass-catchers Javon McKinley and Chase Claypool.

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.