Keith Arnold

Brian Kelly

Done in South Bend? Greg Bryant reportedly lands at Florida Juco

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Notre Dame’s ineligible running back Greg Bryant looks to still be playing football this fall. And that could mean the end of his time in South Bend.

A tweet from an assistant coach at ASA College in Miami got the internet humming as it appears that Bryant will spend the fall semester in his home state, taking classes at a local college while also playing for the only junior college program in Florida.

Here’s the tweet that set-off a crazy few minutes:

Blue & Gold’s Andrew Ivins was the first to follow that up, reporting that Bryant has enrolled in classes, and also joined team meetings. Yet what that means for his future in South Bend remains to be seen.

Irish Illustrated’s Pete Sampson has been all over the Bryant story, communicating with the running back’s father, who stated very clearly that he wants his son to return to South Bend and finish what he started. Brian Kelly said he was open to that scenario last week, especially if Bryant was willing to buy in as both a student and football player.

The situation isn’t unprecedented. Quarterback Nate Montana left Notre Dame voluntarily, seeking out playing time at Pasadena City College after being buried on the Irish depth chart. He returned in time for spring practice, and played sparingly in Kelly’s first season, serving as a backup to Dayne Crist before Tommy Rees ascended to the starting job after Crist’s season-ending knee injury.

The connectivity between the ASA program and Notre Dame? Sampson points out their head coach is Ernest Jones, a long-time Brian Kelly assistant who spent time at Notre Dame in an off-field role. Jones was briefly on Bob Diaco’s staff before he resigned from position after he created a firestorm with comments about religion being center stage in the Huskies program.

Up for debate is the timing of Bryant’s return—or whether it’s possible. Ivins mentioned that Bryant was hoping to earn an associate’s degree. Another source mentioned that Bryant would need to spend an entire year at the college, meaning no return for spring semester and practice.

Whatever the case, you couldn’t ask for a better on-field situation for Bryant. Enrolling at ASA allows him to play football, especially for a head coach who’ll likely be running an offensive system similar to the one the Irish utilized. But whether that means he—or Kelly—have closed the door on a potential return to Notre Dame is up for debate. Talking to various people around the program, it feels like a 50-50 proposition.

 

Brian Kelly will likely comment on this when he’s made available to the media tomorrow, continuing to make a major media story out of Notre Dame’s third-string running back.

Stay tuned.

Irish A-to-Z: Brandon Tiassum

247sports.com
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Notre Dame went back into Indianapolis and pulled out another defensive lineman in Brandon Tiassum. Big, long and athletic, Tiassum profiles similarly to classmate Elijah Taylor, showing the type of versatility to play at either defensive tackle spot with hopes that they’ll get some pass rush from him as well.

Not a national target, Tiassum was an early offer and a summer commitment, and a building block in the 2015 recruiting class. With the star rankings erased from the board, Tiassum now begins a career in South Bend that’ll depend on the Irish coaching staff evaluating their defensive line recruits properly.

 

BRANDON TIASSUM
6’3.5″, 302 lbs.
Freshman, No. 77, DL

 

RECRUITING PROFILE

Tiassum was a three-star prospect and had middle-of-the-road offers when he committed to the Irish. He drew interest from some mid-major programs before getting offers from Boston College, Louisville, Indiana and Miami.

He participated in the Semper Fidelis All-American game and was a 2A All-State player in Indiana.

 

FUTURE POTENTIAL

At this point, Tiassum feels like a wild card. He played in a small-school conference, on a team with 30-plus players on its entire roster. That allowed Tiassum to do everything, playing both ways and showcasing an athleticism that helped him start on the high school basketball team as well.

You can’t teach Tiassum’s size, and he’s got the length and athletic ability to do some damage. But it’s a big jump from 2A football in Indiana to Notre Dame, and you’ve gotta think that after a reacclimatization process, we’ll see what kind of football player comes out the other side. The Semper Fi game was an eye-opening change. The college game will be another one.

 

CRYSTAL BALL

Another redshirt candidate. Tiassum will get what he puts into this season. If that’s a year of working hard on the scout team, battling against one of the finest offensive lines in the country, that can only help him. But if it’s sleep walking through the season, then he’ll be in the same place next spring.

It’s hard not to see a kid with a good head on his shoulders when you see his recruiting video. And while he’s probably one of the more raw prospects in the class, he’s got great upside. So Tiassum fits into the RKG category. And that’s far from a bad thing.

 

THE 2015 IRISH A-to-Z
Josh Adams, RB
Josh Barajas, OLB
Nicky Baratti, S
Alex Bars, OL
Asmar Bilal, OLB
Hunter Bivin, OL
Grant Blankenship, DE
Jonathan Bonner, DE
Miles Boykin, WR
Justin Brent, WR
Greg Bryant, RB
Devin Butler, CB
Jimmy Byrne, OL
Daniel Cage, DL
Amir Carlisle, RB
Nick Coleman, DB
Te’von Coney, LB
Shaun Crawford, DB
Scott Daly, LS
Sheldon Day, DL
Michael Deeb, LB
Micah Dew-Treadway, DL
Steve Elmer, RG
Matthias Farley, DB
Nicco Fertitta, DB
Tarean Folston, RB
Will Fuller, WR
Jarrett Grace, LB
Jalen Guyton, WR
Mark Harrell, OL
Jay Hayes, DL
Mike Heuerman, TE
Kolin Hill, DE
Tristen Hoge, C
Corey Holmes, WR
Chase Hounshell, TE
Torii Hunter, Jr. WR
Alizé Jones, TE
Jarron Jones, DL
DeShone Kizer, QB
Tyler Luatua, TE
Cole Luke, CB
Nick Martin, C
Greer Martini, LB
Jacob Matuska, DL
Mike McGlinchey, OT
Colin McGovern, OL
Peter Mokwuah, DL
John Montelus, OL
Nyles Morgan, LB
Sam Mustipher, OL
Quenton Nelson, OL
Tyler Newsome, P
Romeo Okwara, DE
James Onwualu, LB
C.J. Prosise, WR/RB
Doug Randolph, LB/DE
Max Redfield, S
Corey Robinson, WR
Trevor Ruhland, OL
CJ Sanders, WR
Joe Schmidt, LB
Avery Sebastian, S
Elijah Shumate, S
Jaylon Smith, LB
Durham Smythe, TE
Equanimeous St. Brown, WR
Ronnie Stanley, LT
Elijah Taylor, DL

Irish A-to-Z: Elijah Taylor

WCPO Cincinnati
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Brought in as an interior defensive lineman, Cincinnati’s Elijah Taylor looks like the type of stout run-stopper that Bob Diaco would’ve coveted as a nose guard. But in Brian VanGorder’s system, Taylor will have the opportunity to do more than two-gap at the point of attack.

Another recruiting victory out over Ohio State, Taylor enters a depth chart that doesn’t need him to be ready as a freshman, but will count on him down the line. After adding big bodies like Daniel Cage and Pete Mokwuah last cycle, Taylor also adds some explosiveness that has some believing he can add a spark to the pass rush as well.

Let’s take a look at Notre Dame’s latest from Archbishop Moeller.

 

ELIJAH TAYLOR
6’3″, 285 lbs.

 

RECRUITING PROFILE

Taylor only garnered a three-star ranking from Rivals, but his offer list seemed pretty elite. Notre Dame won Taylor’s signature over Ohio State and also Florida State, Miami, Michigan State and a handful of other programs.

He was a first-team All-State defender and also a member of the Cincinnati Enquirer’s All-Star team.

 

FUTURE POTENTIAL

At this point, put Taylor in the category of Jay Hayes or Daniel Cage coming out of high school. Neither blew the doors off of any recruiting service, but they did manage to have some impressive offers and made some great strides in their first season.

Of course, Hayes and Cage are different players. Hayes profiles as a three-technique (the position Sheldon Day plays) while Cage is behind Jarron Jones. It’ll be interesting to see what type of player Taylor becomes, because some recruiting analysts believed he had pass rush ability that could allow him to slide outside, putting a potential comp like Isaac Rochell in the realm of possibility.

None of this is knowable until we actually get a look at Taylor. But working with first-year defensive line coach Keith Gilmore and a depth chart that allows for some developmental time, Taylor is a nice piece of talent to add to the pool.

 

CRYSTAL BALL

Unless a rash of injuries hit, Taylor will have the opportunity to learn at his own pace and save a year of eligibility this season. With Jarron Jones healthy and Sheldon Day looking like a lock to stay on the field, finding a way into the three-deep would be an accomplishment, and there’s no reason to take snaps if Taylor isn’t going to see significant time.

The best view of his development will likely come in the spring, as the Irish begin life without Day (and possibly Jones). If Taylor is as strong and athletic as some reports point out, he’ll have a chance to work his way into the mix in 2016.

 

THE 2015 IRISH A-to-Z
Josh Adams, RB
Josh Barajas, OLB
Nicky Baratti, S
Alex Bars, OL
Asmar Bilal, OLB
Hunter Bivin, OL
Grant Blankenship, DE
Jonathan Bonner, DE
Miles Boykin, WR
Justin Brent, WR
Greg Bryant, RB
Devin Butler, CB
Jimmy Byrne, OL
Daniel Cage, DL
Amir Carlisle, RB
Nick Coleman, DB
Te’von Coney, LB
Shaun Crawford, DB
Scott Daly, LS
Sheldon Day, DL
Michael Deeb, LB
Micah Dew-Treadway, DL
Steve Elmer, RG
Matthias Farley, DB
Nicco Fertitta, DB
Tarean Folston, RB
Will Fuller, WR
Jarrett Grace, LB
Jalen Guyton, WR
Mark Harrell, OL
Jay Hayes, DL
Mike Heuerman, TE
Kolin Hill, DE
Tristen Hoge, C
Corey Holmes, WR
Chase Hounshell, TE
Torii Hunter, Jr. WR
Alizé Jones, TE
Jarron Jones, DL
DeShone Kizer, QB
Tyler Luatua, TE
Cole Luke, CB
Nick Martin, C
Greer Martini, LB
Jacob Matuska, DL
Mike McGlinchey, OT
Colin McGovern, OL
Peter Mokwuah, DL
John Montelus, OL
Nyles Morgan, LB
Sam Mustipher, OL
Quenton Nelson, OL
Tyler Newsome, P
Romeo Okwara, DE
James Onwualu, LB
C.J. Prosise, WR/RB
Doug Randolph, LB/DE
Max Redfield, S
Corey Robinson, WR
Trevor Ruhland, OL
CJ Sanders, WR
Joe Schmidt, LB
Avery Sebastian, S
Elijah Shumate, S
Jaylon Smith, LB
Durham Smythe, TE
Equanimeous St. Brown, WR
Ronnie Stanley, LT

 

Fall Camp Mailbag: Now Open

New Mailbox
57 Comments

It’s mailbag time. And we’ve got FOOTBALL to talk about!

After our most recent mailbag resulted* in Notre Dame deciding to do a Hard Knocks style documentary series with Showtime (we assume the check is in the mail, and I’ll disperse it accordingly…), it appears we need to up the stakes of our Q&As.

So think very carefully about your question before submitting them (either below or on Twitter @KeithArnold), they could result in multi-million dollar TV shows being made!

I look forward to seeing what you guys come up with.

 

*I don’t really believe this. 

Irish A-to-Z: Ronnie Stanley

Notre Dame v Syracuse
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Notre Dame landed their most important recruit last winter when Ronnie Stanley decided to stay in school. A fast-rising tackle prospect who some believed could’ve been the first offensive lineman off the board in the NFL Draft, Stanley decided to return to South Bend, to anchor the Irish offensive line and to build himself into an elite prospect.

Following in the footsteps of Zack Martin, Notre Dame’s left tackle is another elite talent, though his game is more about upside than Martin’s work as a steely technician. Given the chance to spend an offseason fully healthy, Stanley enters 2015 as one of the premier players in college football.

Let’s take a look at the Las Vegas native.

 

RONNIE STANLEY
6’5.5″, 315 lbs.
Senior, No. 78, LT

 

RECRUITING PROFILE

One of the top recruits on the West Coast, Stanley picked Notre Dame over offers from USC, UCLA, Oklahoma and a ton of other programs.

A four-star, Top 100 recruit according to Scout, Top 250 according to Rivals. Played in Semper Fidelis All-American game. Most importantly, he opened the pipeline to Bishop Gorman high school, where Alizé Jones and Nicco Fertitta came from as well.

 

PLAYING CAREER

Freshman Season (2012): Played against Navy and Michigan in a reserve role. Elbow injury ended his season and preserved his eligibility with a medical redshirt.

Sophomore Season (2013): Made 13 starts at right tackle, a key part of an offensive line that only had Zack Martin and Stanley start every game. The team allowed just eight sacks on the season, second best in the FBS.

Junior Season (2014): Started all 13 games at left tackle, making 26 straight starts for Stanley. Switched sides of the offensive line previous spring, sliding into Zack Martin’s spot. Recorded 16 pancake blocks and allowed only one sack.

 

WHAT WE SAID LAST YEAR

I didn’t think Stanley would make the leap that he did, at least not that quickly. It’s funny to think about the debate we had during the offseason as we wondered who’d slide into Martin’s spot. Funny, because the staff knew it would be Stanley from the get-go, a nice reminder that those guys tend to know what they’re doing.

It’s hard to discount all the good things Kelly and Hiestand continue to say about Stanley. And while he’s still young — he’s got three seasons of eligibility left after playing only briefly in 2012 — you’ve got to think the left tackle position is going to take a step backwards this season, with Martin being among the elite players in college football.

That said, Stanley gives the Irish something Martin couldn’t athletically. And while he’s not being asked to lead the unit the way Zack did, he’s got to turn 2014 into a season where he establishes himself as not just a leader, but a frontline player.

The Irish staff believe he’s already that. A solid season against some difficult matchups in 2013 was a great start. But Stanley has the opportunity to be great. He needs to take the biggest step there this season.

 

FUTURE POTENTIAL

When your name is being mentioned as a potential No. 1 overall pick, I’d say the future looks pretty bright. I’ll leave the total evaluation to the pros, but right now, the goal for Stanley in 2015 is to match his dominance to his athleticism.

If Stanley is able to do that, he’ll be Notre Dame’s first Top 10 pick since Bryant Young went No. 7 in 1994… if Jaylon Smith doesn’t beat him off the board.

 

CRYSTAL BALL

It’s counterintuitive, but Notre Dame’s pass protection took a large step backwards when Everett Golson took over for Tommy Rees. While the latter couldn’t evade the rush with a five-step head start, Golson’s ability to read protections and defenses wasn’t up to Rees’ speed, and Everett couldn’t run his way out of trouble every time, either.

Malik Zaire is a different quarterback than Golson, but there’ll be similar growing pains, especially as he sees things for the first time. But in many ways, Zaire is the perfect quarterback for this offensive line, allowing them to play a mauling style of football with their blocking schemes, allowing the run to set up the pass.

With Zaire a lefty, Stanley will not be protecting his blind side like he was Golson. But Notre Dame’s offense will move its quarterback, so Stanley will get all the opportunities needed to show his ability to play there at the next level. More importantly, a healthy dose of run blocking with let Stanley show that he’s capable of physically moving opponents, not just of being an athletic blocker on edge rushers.

A redshirt season as a freshman means Stanley technically has two years of eligibility remaining. But expect this season to be the last for Stanley in South Bend, a year where he’ll rack up the accolades on the awards circuit before being a high first round pick.

 

THE 2015 IRISH A-to-Z
Josh Adams, RB
Josh Barajas, OLB
Nicky Baratti, S
Alex Bars, OL
Asmar Bilal, OLB
Hunter Bivin, OL
Grant Blankenship, DE
Jonathan Bonner, DE
Miles Boykin, WR
Justin Brent, WR
Greg Bryant, RB
Devin Butler, CB
Jimmy Byrne, OL
Daniel Cage, DL
Amir Carlisle, RB
Nick Coleman, DB
Te’von Coney, LB
Shaun Crawford, DB
Scott Daly, LS
Sheldon Day, DL
Michael Deeb, LB
Micah Dew-Treadway, DL
Steve Elmer, RG
Matthias Farley, DB
Nicco Fertitta, DB
Tarean Folston, RB
Will Fuller, WR
Jarrett Grace, LB
Jalen Guyton, WR
Mark Harrell, OL
Jay Hayes, DL
Mike Heuerman, TE
Kolin Hill, DE
Tristen Hoge, C
Corey Holmes, WR
Chase Hounshell, TE
Torii Hunter, Jr. WR
Alizé Jones, TE
Jarron Jones, DL
DeShone Kizer, QB
Tyler Luatua, TE
Cole Luke, CB
Nick Martin, C
Greer Martini, LB
Jacob Matuska, DL
Mike McGlinchey, OT
Colin McGovern, OL
Peter Mokwuah, DL
John Montelus, OL
Nyles Morgan, LB
Sam Mustipher, OL
Quenton Nelson, OL
Tyler Newsome, P
Romeo Okwara, DE
James Onwualu, LB
C.J. Prosise, WR/RB
Doug Randolph, LB/DE
Max Redfield, S
Corey Robinson, WR
Trevor Ruhland, OL
CJ Sanders, WR
Joe Schmidt, LB
Avery Sebastian, S
Elijah Shumate, S
Jaylon Smith, LB
Durham Smythe, TE
Equanimeous St. Brown, WR