Author: Keith Arnold

Todd Lyght

Reports: Todd Lyght to join Notre Dame coaching staff


As soon as word surfaced that Kerry Cooks was leaving Notre Dame for Oklahoma, people began pointing to former Irish All-American Todd Lyght as a possible replacement.  Cooks’ move was confirmed yesterday by SI. And it looks like Lyght’s homecoming is now in motion.

Multiple reports have Lyght leaving Vanderbilt to join Brian Kelly’s coaching staff. He only joined Derek Mason in Nashville last month, after working with Chip Kelly the past two seasons in Philadelphia.

The former Pro Bowler and Super Bowl winner was the No. 5 pick in the NFL draft after being named a two-time consensus All-American at Notre Dame. He’ll likely slide into Cooks spot coaching the secondary, though Kelly has often split up responsibilities, with both a safeties coach and a cornerback coach working with the different positions.

While the hire hasn’t been made official and is likely pending the university’s lengthy background process, Irish 247 reports it’s a “done deal,” and anecdotal evidence like this seems to prove that point.

Kelly was unwilling to talk about any coaching changes yesterday, though it appears the movement isn’t over. After a brief — and bizarre — report linking Brady Hoke to the Irish staff, Matt LaFleur’s name also became connected with a job on the Atlanta Falcons’ staff, where his brother was just hired as an offensive assistant and he’d be reunited with Kyle Shanahan.

Lyght is relatively new to coaching, working first at Bishop Gorman High School before connecting with Chip Kelly in the NFL. Known as a cerebral player, Lyght brings an excellent pedigree to the staff, and likely came with sterling references.

Before the hire, Brian Kelly likely leaned on Lyght’s former college coach, Lou Holtz. He also probably called his first employer, former Bishop Gorman and now UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez. He could’ve also checked in with Chip Kelly, a colleague who has visited South Bend for coaching camps and remains close with Kelly.

Digging into the archives, here’s a highlight reel of Lyght’s work back with the Irish, compiled a few years back by Blue & Gold Illustrated.




Faxes in: Equanimeous St. Brown

247 Sports

Anaheim, CA

Measurables: 6’5″, 205 lbs.

Accolades: Under Armour All-American, consensus 4-star recruit, No. 63 on ESPN Top 300, No. 160 on 247 Composite

Other Impressive Offers: USC, UCLA, Stanford, LSU, Utah

Projected Position: Wide Receiver


Quick Take: Notre Dame adds another wide receiver who was long at the top of their recruiting board, adding speed and length to a group that can always use more. One of the West Coast’s top prospects, St. Brown battled through an up-and-down, injury plagued season, but should immediately bring a unique skill set with him to South Bend.

Notre Dame felt confident enough in St. Brown’s commitment to delay a visit from Miami-bound Lawrence Cager, another elite receiving recruit. That confidence was rewarded by St. Brown’s decision — and could be compounded as the Irish offered younger brother Osiris, a talented 2017 recruit.


What he means to the Irish: Any chance to win a recruiting battle in Orange County, California is a good one. And pulling St. Brown out of Servite is a big win, especially considering his options of hometown favorites USC and UCLA.

St. Brown almost immediately becomes the most interesting man in the recruiting class. The son of body builders, St. Brown speaks German to his mother at home — her native tongue — and mixed in French to his commitment press conference. His siblings also are named after Greek gods.

He’s still a bit of a lanky football player, giving the Irish the option of patience as he develops. With a stacked depth chart in 2015, St. Brown’s brightest days might be a few years from now.


Obligatory YouTube clip: Here’s St. Brown’s official Signing Day video:


Mailbag: Signing Day edition

New Mailbox

Before we rip through 20+ posts in the next 24 hours, let’s open the mailbag for the special Signing Day edition.

Questions are welcome between now and Brian Kelly’s 3:15 p.m. press conference tomorrow. (If you’re asking me to guess on a 50-50 recruit, I’ll be 100 percent correct, as he’ll have already sent a fax somewhere by the time I answer these.)

Ask away both here or on Twitter @KeithArnold. Answers to come tomorrow afternoon… if I’m still alive.

Faxes in: Alizé Jones

Las Vegas, NV

Measurables: 6’5″, 220 lbs.

Accolades: U.S. Army All-American, first-team USA Today All-USA team, first-team MaxPreps All-American, No. 1 TE in country per ESPN and 247, No. 2 per Scout and Rivals. First-team All-State, State Champion.

Other Impressive Offers: USC, UCLA, Oregon, Georgia, Auburn, Baylor


Quick Take: A late-game recruiting coup took Jones from the UCLA recruiting class to Notre Dame. An elite athlete who looks the part of a game-changer at tight end. One of the guys you have get off the bus first, and an athlete that should find his way onto the field very quickly. He looks like an NFL tight end as a high schooler.

Great work recruiting Jones from start to finish, with a big victory for tight ends coach Scott Booker. Joins high school teammate Nicco Fertitta in the recruiting class, the third Bishop Gorman product on the roster, joined by Ronnie Stanley.


What he means for the Irish: The type of talent that can jump the line and move to the top of the tight end depth chart. Has the type of skills to immediately be a matchup problem as a detached receiver as he grows into a true tight end product.

It’s fair to say that Notre Dame doesn’t sign athletes like this all the time. But then again — not many schools do. With Durham Smythe and Tyler Luatua playing limited snaps in 2014, Jones will step onto campus this June and take dead aim at the depth chart.


Obligatory YouTube Highlight: Here’s the latest highlight reel from Jones’ impressive senior season at Bishop Gorman.


Signing Day victory: Dexter Williams’ fax is in

Orlando Sentinel

Touted running back Dexter Williams just chose Notre Dame in a Signing Day announcement. It’s a huge victory for the Irish coaching staff and particularly Tony Alford, who was long on Williams’ recruitment and out-battled Miami for his pledge.


Winter Garden, FL

Measurables: 6’0″, 200 lbs.

Accolades: 4-Star recruit, No. 8 player in Central Florida, 139th on PrepStar DreamTeam, No. 78 on ESPN’s Top 300.

Other Impressive Offers: Miami, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, USC

Projected Position: Running Back


Quick Take: In Notre Dame’s biggest Signing Day victory, the Irish reel in a prime time running back from Florida, beating Miami for one of their most important recruiting targets. The Irish coaching staff worked hard for Williams, with Tony Alford landing a key running back as the Irish sweated out a tough decision to leave home for the Floridian.

On the field, there is so much to like about Williams. He looks like he was born with a juke button and a built-in speed burst. He’s a natural seeing the hole and hitting it with speed. And he’ll immediately be inserted into a two-deep depth chart that will now have four very talented backs.


What he means to the Irish: A huge get at a big position of need. Williams is a toe-to-toe victory in the state of Florida against a Miami coaching staff that’s among the most “aggressive” recruiters in the country.

The Irish played the integrity game while the Hurricanes staff tweeted weather reports for snowy South Bend. In the end, the student-athlete made a choice based on the best fit for him, and Notre Dame flexed its muscles on the national scene, pulling a back out of Florida even when the Hurricanes had a need at the position as well.


Obligatory YouTube clip: Here’s the official signing video from