WCPO Cincinnati

Irish A-to-Z: Elijah Taylor

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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
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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

Notre Dame and Showtime team up for season-long TV series

Showtime Series
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Notre Dame football already has its own television network, with NBC the broadcast partner of the Fighting Irish since 1991. Now Notre Dame is taking its game to premium cable, joining with Showtime for a season-long television series.

News is just breaking, but it appears that Showtime will televise “A Season with Notre Dame Football,” chronicling a full season of the Irish through a documentary series. In the tradition of the popular Hard Knocks series on HBO, we’ll likely get a behind-the-scenes look at Brian Kelly’s 2015 team, as they hope to achieve greatness.

In discussions today at the annual Television Critics Association meetings, Showtime president David Nevins talked about the unprecedented access Showtime cameras will have. It likely comes after a successful partnership with Notre Dame’s basketball team on the project HoopsU, where Showtime cameras were embedded with Mike Brey’s team as they followed the Irish and Maryland’s basketball team both on and off the court during the final month of conference play.

“We’re honored and thrilled to be granted access to profile a college football program with a legacy as storied and as fascinating as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Showtime Sports. “The passion of the players and head coach Brian Kelly will make for a compelling television series that will appeal beyond hardcore college football fans to all viewers who appreciate great storytelling.”

Production has already begun on the show, with cameras at Culver and on campus. According to a press release, the show will have access to the locker room, class rooms, dorms, houses and apartments of coaches and players as the series watches the balancing act of athletics and classwork.

The series begins on Tuesday, September 8th.

 

This story was updated to include details from a press release. 

Tweetcap: More from training camp at Culver

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The Notre Dame football team is in their final day of workouts at the Culver Academies, spending the morning in full pads before making their way back to campus. Tomorrow marks the beginning of two-a-day sessions, one of three planned this training camp.

While we won’t hear from Brian Kelly until Thursday, there’s been plenty of good stuff hitting the web. So here’s another edition of the Tweetcap, where  a little curation gives you the greatest hits of the first five days of workouts, courtesy of WatchND, @NDFootball and Fighting Irish Media.

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ESPN is at practice today, with the GameDay crew getting their first look at the Irish. Want proof? They posted a Vine of Malik Zaire warming up.

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Expect a sit down with linebackers Joe Schmidt and Jaylon Smith to be hitting the web and television later today. (Unless Rece just really wanted to find a nice place to chat—can you blame him? What a solid view…)

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Also, a year after we saw Brian Kelly do his best General Custer, ESPN’s Rece Davis gives it a try.

(Let’s just say he looks more natural than Danny Kanell.)

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Back to the football… The social media team behind @NDFootball did a nice job of posting some photos the past few days. Check them out below:

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As for some video highlights, WatchND and Fighting Irish Media had a nice one-on-one with associate head coach Mike Denbrock. Perhaps the “glue” of the offensive coaching staff, Denbrock gave up the title of offensive coordinator, but certainly hasn’t lost his role in the leadership.

While we haven’t seen how the new structure will work once the snaps go live, it was interesting to hear how Denbrock talked about the three-headed monster atop the offense, with Brian Kelly and Mike Sanford each having a say.

“I think it starts with the three individuals that you’re talking about who don’t really care about who gets the credit for what our offense looks like, they just want our football team to be successful,” Denbrock said.

“Myself, Coach Kelly and Mike Sanford sit down, and it’s a strong collaboration of ideas and ways to do thing. It’s best idea wins and we come out with a clear message to the football team about how we want to do things. It’s been an incredible positive thing. I know people could kind of read into it saying this might be an issue or that might be an issue, but there is no issue, except getting our football team ready to win.”

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You’ve got to expect the annual “Day at the beach” video coming, where we see the guys on the football team kick back and try their hand at tubing, wake boarding or catching a sunfish. Here’s proof that a little R&R took place, with Jerry Tillery proving speed boats can handle people that are six-foot-six and 300-plus pounds.

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Lastly, Notre Dame had a special visitor at practice yesterday when retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell paid a visit to training camp. The inspiration for the film “Lone Survivor,” Luttrell spent some time talking to the team, likely about his harrowing experience and also about the commitment and teamwork it takes to be a member of the SEALS.

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For more videos, including some top plays from practice, check out the full camp coverage at WatchND.