Irish 247

Irish A-to-Z: John Shannon

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Notre Dame’s newest specialist is long snapper John Shannon. Brought in to replace Scott Daly after his eligibility is complete, Shannon is another recruited specialist at a job that often times is filled by walk-ons.

That hasn’t been Brian Kelly’s way of managing the roster, though. Joining a young unit led by Justin Yoon and Tyler Newsome, Shannon will spend the season added some bulk to his frame as he gets ready to replace one of the more overlooked players on the team.

 

JOHN SHANNON
6’1.5″, 220 lbs.
Freshman, No. 54, LS

 

RECRUITING PROFILE

Shannon was ranked as 247’s number-one long snapper in the country. He was an Army All-American and had scholarship offers from West Virginia and Army before picking Notre Dame. Shannon is an Irish legacy, his grandfather Dan was a four-year starter in the 1950s.

 

FUTURE POTENTIAL

We’ve learned that Brian Kelly doesn’t mind using scholarships on special teams players, or snappers. We’ve also learned that when he takes aim and offers that specialist a scholarship, it’s usually well spent.

That’ll likely be the case for Shannon, who gets a season under his belt before sliding into the lineup. Notre Dame identified him as a recruit two years before Signing Day, getting a look at him on campus in a camp environment before offering him.

 

CRYSTAL BALL

Unless Scott Daly’s injured, Shannon is redshirting. Saving that year of eligibility sets the Irish up perfectly for four seasons of Shannon after Daly came through the program perfectly as well, replacing scholarship snapper Jordan Cowart. It also allows Shannon more time to recover from a torn labrum, an injury he had repaired in January after playing in the Army Bowl.

With all the pedigree you want at the position, Shannon will be at his best when he’s not heard from. That’s easier said than done for long snappers.

 

2016’s Irish A-to-Z
Josh Adams
Josh Barajas
Alex Bars
Asmar Bilal
Hunter Bivin
Grant Blankenship
Jonathan Bonner
Ian Book
Parker Boudreaux
Miles Boykin
Justin Brent
Devin Butler
Jimmy Byrne
Daniel Cage
Chase Claypool
Nick Coleman
Te’von Coney
Shaun Crawford
Scott Daly
Micah Dew-Treadway
Liam Eichenberg
Jalen Elliott
Nicco Feritta
Tarean Folston
Mark Harrell
Daelin Hayes
Jay Hayes
Tristen Hoge
Corey Holmes
Torii Hunter Jr.
Alizé Jones
Jamir Jones
Jarron Jones
Jonathan Jones
Tony Jones Jr.
Khalid Kareem
DeShone Kizer
Julian Love
Tyler Luatua
Cole Luke
Greer Martini
Jacob Matuska
Mike McGlinchey
Colin McGovern
Deon McIntosh
Javon McKinley
Pete Mokwuqh
John Montelus
D.J. Morgan
Nyles Morgan
Sam Mustipher
Quenton Nelson
Tyler Newsome
Adetokunbo Ogundeji
Julian Okwara
James Onwualu
Spencer Perry
Troy Pride Jr.
Max Redfield
Isaac Rochell
Trevor Ruhland
CJ Sanders
Avery Sebastian

 

Redfield earns the praise of his head coach

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The arrow is pointing up for Max Redfield. Notre Dame’s senior safety, a mercurial performer if there ever was one, has impressed his head coach this camp.

“I’ve been very pleased with Max Redfield. He has elevated to that level of consistent performer,” Brian Kelly said Thursday. “I hate to throw  kind of cliches around, but he’s been that guy that everybody was hoping for out of high school.”

Redfield, for those that have been under a rock the last four years, was a five-star recruit, pulled away from USC after playing in the Under Armour All-American game. With physical gifts that made him a prototype free safety from the moment he stepped onto campus, getting the physical and mental demands of the game to match his talent has been an ongoing challenge.

After bottoming out and being sent home from the Fiesta Bowl, then struggling to separate himself from true freshman Devin Studstill in spring drills, Redfield has taken the challenge given to him by Kelly and the defensive staff and run with it. And while Kelly wasn’t willing to comment on Redfield’s improved attitude and effort after day one of camp, he went to great lengths to talk about the consistency and effort that’s now coming through.

“He’s playing at that level. He’s at an elite level, the way he’s practicing, the way his volume has increased where he can go all day and play at a high level,” Kelly said.

Elite production from a safety would be a huge step for this defense. Not since Harrison Smith roamed centerfield in Kelly’s first two seasons in South Bend have the Irish had that type of weapon.

Redfield doesn’t need to be Smith for the Irish to be a good defense. But he does need to be a reliable player at a position where a mistake often turns into six points. In his final season at the college level, the light appears to have come on at the right time.

“He just matured,” Kelly explained, when asked about the change in attitude. “He went through a couple of rough spots and decided that being a leader, being in this last year, I’ve seen it over 26 years sometimes, it’s just, time. He’s been impressive.”

Dew-Treadway, Watkins to miss extended time

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Notre Dame’s defensive depth took a hit this week as Micah Dew-Treadway and Nick Watkins both underwent surgical procedures. Dew-Treadway fractured his foot and is expected to miss eight weeks while Watkins had another surgery to help speed up his recovery from a broken arm.

Head coach Brian Kelly gave the injury updates after Thursday’s practice, Notre Dame’s first day back in South Bend after opening in Culver, Indiana.

Dew-Treadway wasn’t projected as part of the two-deep as he begins his second season in the program. But the additional surgery for Watkins is a setback for a player who was expected to compete for a starting job across from Cole Luke.

“Nick Watkins had a procedure to stimulate bone growth,” Kelly explained. “We’re hopeful that this procedure, which is you know a bit of an aggressive procedure, does the trick. We’re very hopeful that it will.”

With a timetable of four weeks, the Dallas native doesn’t appear to be on schedule to face off against Texas. But this staff clearly believes he’ll be a contributor on this defense, capable of winning the starting job when he’s back healthy.

Until then, young players will step into the role. Shaun Crawford and Nick Coleman appear to be the first candidates, with Crawford sliding inside to nickel. Ashton White also is having a strong camp after redshirting last season. True freshman Donte Vaughn will also likely be activated, a 6-foot-2 cover cornerback with a skill-set that’s unique on the roster.

“We feel we’re in pretty good shape,” Kelly said. “We feel like the depth that we’ve got there, it just means some freshmen will be elevated into a more prominent role.”

Video: BK talks training camp

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Jack Nolan catches up with Brian Kelly as the Irish wrap up their time at Culver Academy.

 

Irish A-to-Z: Avery Sebastian

Irish 247
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For Irish safety Avery Sebastian, a sixth season is a rare opportunity to make an impact after a star-crossed career. Sebastian, who came to Notre Dame as a graduate transfer and lasted less than a game before suffering a season-ending foot injury in 2015, now needs to find a way to get through a full season healthy and find a niche as a physical, downhill safety.

That could be in sub-packages. That could be as a building block on special teams.

After spending four years at Cal and another season at Notre Dame, we’re still not quite sure what the Irish have. But as a veteran in a young secondary, Sebastian is an intriguing piece if he’s able to stay on the field.

 

AVERY SEBASTIAN
5’10”, 200 lbs.
Grad Student, No. 8, S

 

RECRUITING PROFILE

A four-star recruit, Sebastian was ranked as high as the No. 6 safety in the country by ESPN. An All-State player in the state of Georgia, he was listed at No. 8 on the Rivals national list of “top 10 headhunters,” before picking Cal.

He was a US Army All-American Bowl participant and played for the USA U-19 National team.

 

PLAYING CAREER

Freshman Season (2011): Played in 12 games off the bench for Cal, a key special teams cog. Made nine total tackles, with a season-high four against Arizona State.

Sophomore Season (2012): Played in 11 games, making four starts at safety. Honorable Mention All-Pac 12 for his special teams work. Made 56 tackles, fifth on the team, adding 1.5 TFLs.

Junior Season (2013): Started the season opener at safety, making 10 tackles and an interception before a season-ending injury.

Senior Season (2014): Played in seven games with a start. Made 21 tackles on the season, including seven against Stanford.

Fifth Year (2015): Appeared against Texas in the season opener before an injury ended his season. Qualified for a sixth season with a medical redshirt.

 

WHAT WE SAID LAST YEAR

What happens when the insurance policy gets injured?

Consider Sebastian an insurance policy, and I’m guessing he’ll be a fixture on every run team on special teams. Don’t be surprised if he also finds a role in some third down packages, or perhaps as a in-the-box safety against run-heavy opponents.

Sebastian feels like the logical backup to Elijah Shumate, though Tranquill will certainly have something to say about that. But with a gap between the young freshmen who just hit campus and veterans like Shumate and Max Redfield, Sebastian is a perfect plug-in, earning his way to Notre Dame after handling his business at Cal.

Regardless of what happens at the next level, a degree from Berkeley and a masters from Notre Dame? Sebastian will be just fine in the future.

 

FUTURE POTENTIAL

Sebastian isn’t a starter unless something goes wrong with Drue Tranquill. But he also wouldn’t be in South Bend if he didn’t have a specific value, and Brian Kelly and Brian VanGorder keeping him around certainly means he’ll be able to contribute in this system.

Undersized and not a natural in coverage, Sebastian’s game might be a little one-dimensional. But that’s not the worst thing in the world if it’s something that can help fill a deficiency, something this defense currently has.

 

CRYSTAL BALL

Predicting a healthy season from Sebastian is difficult at this point. But I liked the idea of adding Sebastian before last season and I still like it now. It’s tough to find snaps for Sebastian right now, though those snaps are currently being allocated to a player with two major knee injuries in his last half-dozen football games.

So he’s a Next Man In candidate who’ll likely be a key contributor on special teams. That’s a very good way to utilize a scholarship, especially from a veteran who is key depth at a position of need.

 

2016’s Irish A-to-Z
Josh Adams
Josh Barajas
Alex Bars
Asmar Bilal
Hunter Bivin
Grant Blankenship
Jonathan Bonner
Ian Book
Parker Boudreaux
Miles Boykin
Justin Brent
Devin Butler
Jimmy Byrne
Daniel Cage
Chase Claypool
Nick Coleman
Te’von Coney
Shaun Crawford
Scott Daly
Micah Dew-Treadway
Liam Eichenberg
Jalen Elliott
Nicco Feritta
Tarean Folston
Mark Harrell
Daelin Hayes
Jay Hayes
Tristen Hoge
Corey Holmes
Torii Hunter Jr.
Alizé Jones
Jamir Jones
Jarron Jones
Jonathan Jones
Tony Jones Jr.
Khalid Kareem
DeShone Kizer
Julian Love
Tyler Luatua
Cole Luke
Greer Martini
Jacob Matuska
Mike McGlinchey
Colin McGovern
Deon McIntosh
Javon McKinley
Pete Mokwuqh
John Montelus
D.J. Morgan
Nyles Morgan
Sam Mustipher
Quenton Nelson
Tyler Newsome
Adetokunbo Ogundeji
Julian Okwara
James Onwualu
Spencer Perry
Troy Pride Jr.
Max Redfield
Isaac Rochell
Trevor Ruhland
CJ Sanders