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Early Enrollees: Micah Dew-Treadway

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MICAH DEW-TREADWAY
Bollingbrook, IL

Measurables: 6-5, 275

Accolades: Semper Fidelis All-American, First-team All-State per Champaign News-Gazette, Honorable mention Class 8A All-State per Chicago Tribune, consensus 3-star recruit

Impressive Offers: Mississippi State, Wisconsin, Virginia, Maryland, UConn

Projected Position: Defensive line

 

Quick Take: The prototype developmental defensive lineman. Dew-Treadway was an early target for Notre Dame and an early commitment to the Irish. You can’t teach 6-5, 275, nor the nimble feet Dew-Treadway possesses.

There is room for improvement in the weight room, a nice bonus for an early enrollee. There was also a learning curve that was noticeable at the Semper Fidelis workouts, an a much-needed commitment to technique — and a lot of work with defensive line coach Mike Elston — certainly seems assured.

But if you’re looking for a body type you want to build around, this is it. A typical “power” recruit from the original Kelly recruiting mold.

 

What he means for the Irish: More bulk. We saw things get mighty thin on the interior of the defensive line last year after both Sheldon Day and Jarron Jones went down and Dew-Treadway is a necessary piece to the depth chart.

At this point, it’s tough to get a grasp on how quickly Dew-Treadway, or any defensive line prospect in this class, can get on the field. (Nobody would’ve thought that Daniel Cage, not even on the radar until last January, would’ve been one of the first freshmen to play.) So the additional semester will be a huge advantage for one of the early pieces to the 2015 puzzle.

 

Obligatory YouTube Highlight: Here are some highlights from Dew-Treadway’s senior film.

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Early Enrollees: Tevon Coney

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TEVON CONEY
Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Measurables: 6-1, 222

Accolades: Under Armour All-American, consensus 4-star recruit, first-team All-Area by Palm Beach Post, second-team 8A Florida All-State team.

Impressive Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Miami, Ohio State

Projected Position: Middle Linebacker

 

Quick Take: If there’s a recruiting battle that usually ends in heartache, Coney’s was the one. Yet Notre Dame won the this one down the stretch against in-state powers Florida and Miami, helped along the way by the firing of Will Muschamp and some great recruiting by the Irish staff.

Coney’s “commitment” to Notre Dame didn’t stop his recruitment and he remained a priority all the way until he landed on campus. Now he’s in a dorm beginning life as a freshman, with a late January snowstorm welcoming him to South Bend.

Slightly undersized, Coney certainly doesn’t play that way — a tackling machine during his junior and senior seasons. He showed the same type of tenacity when he participated in the Under Armour game.

 

What he means to the Irish: Coney is a key piece of the puzzle as the Irish prepare for life after Joe Schmidt. With Nyles Morgan coming off a freshman All-American season, the future looks bright with the Chicago product. But getting Coney in for spring practice and getting him into the system now will allow the young linebacker to accelerate his Football IQ, something that proved difficult for even Morgan.

With the jury still out on Michael Deeb’s ability to contribute and Jarrett Grace’s overall health, Coney isn’t that far from the field. And with speed and sideline to sideline ability, Coney could be a candidate for the Will linebacker job as well.

 

Obligatory YouTube clip: Here’s a short highlight reel from Coney’s senior season:

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Reports: Kerry Cooks heading to Oklahoma

Kerry Cooks
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It appears that Brian Kelly will be filling a hole on his coaching staff after Signing Day. Multiple reports, from both Norman and South Bend, have Irish secondary coach Kerry Cooks leaving Notre Dame to join Bob Stoops’ staff at Oklahoma.

Reports point to Cooks making a parallel move, with Stoops looking to fill a hole at secondary coach. We have yet to hear if Cooks will get an added title bump, like co-defensive coordinator or assistant head coach. Cooks held a co-defensive coordinator title in South Bend for one season, before Brian VanGorder replaced Bob Diaco and took over the defense, relegating Cooks back to secondary coach. Some believe this move has been inevitable since Cooks was passed up for the coordinator job.

The move to Oklahoma makes sense for Cooks. A Texas native, he’ll be able to recruit the state incredibly well, with in-roads he’s made in Louisiana and across the Southeast also likely paying dividends for the Sooners. He’ll also be tasked with fixing a secondary that’s woefully underperformed, an achilles heel for an Oklahoma team that had lofty aspirations heading into 2014, but finished an astoundingly horrible 120th against the pass.

While the move isn’t likely to be finalized until after Signing Day, multiple reports had the Irish reaching out to recruits, with Kelly personally discussing the move with them. It appears the change won’t flip any recruits.

There is no timeline for finding Cooks replacement, though spring practice begins on March 2nd.

 

 

Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown elected into Pro Football Hall of Fame

Tim Brown of the University of Notre Dame
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Former Notre Dame football standouts Jerome Bettis and Tim Brown were both elected in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night. Bettis played for the Irish from 1990-92 while Brown played in South Bend from 1984-87, winning the Heisman Trophy after his senior season.

The two were part of an eight-man group to be elected, joining former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau, Kansas City Chiefs guard Will Shields, and defensive end Charles Haley among the modern-era inductees.

Former Minnesota Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff was selected by the seniors committee and former NFL executives Bill Polian and Ron Wolf will be enshrined as well.

Both Bettis and Brown’s star turns began at the collegiate level. Before becoming some of the best players on Sundays, they did (most of ) their damage for head coach Lou Holtz.

Bettis was one of the best fullbacks in Notre Dame history. He scored 27 touchdowns during his three seasons in South Bend before becoming the 10th overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft.

Brown is Notre Dame’s last Heisman Trophy winner, and his career in South Bend ended with Brown holding 19 different school records. He was a two-time All-American who had 1,937 all-purpose yards in 1986 before ranking sixth in the country during his Heisman-winning season with 167.9 yards per game.

Bettis was in his fifth year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame. Brown was in his sixth.

All quiet on the recruiting front (for now)

ESB
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Notre Dame welcomes safety prospect Arrington Farrar to campus this weekend. The Irish coaching staff finishes up a chaotic cross-country week visiting prospects both committed and interested (and some somewhere in between).

Thousands of hours of work — scouting, letter-writing, texting, Tweeting, Facebooking, calling, hosting and now visiting — come down to next Wednesday. And the wins or losses will be determined by how many times the fax machine rings in the Gug, an annual ritual that has become the highlight of the offseason and the lifeblood of a football program (not to mention a multimillion dollar industry).

For now, things seem quiet and in order in the final days leading up to Signing Day. Credit a program-steadying victory over LSU in the Music City Bowl. But also a coaching staff that’s done a very good job staying on recruits that have long been committed, while also quickly pivoting to other prospects when options B, C and D need to arrive.

A class that many assumed would stay in the teens could swell to 25. And a group that will have a hard time finding the field in 2015 could be the backbone of another great run in the years to follow.

Next week will be completely committed to Notre Dame’s 2015 recruiting class. We’ll spend Monday and Tuesday getting to know the Irish’s four early-enrollees: Tevon Coney, Micah Dew-Treadway, Tristen Hoge and Jerry Tillery.

Wednesday morning will be fast and furious. As faxes roll in, posts will go up, officially introducing you to the Irish recruiting class. (Expect the coffee to be flowing throughout the dark morning hours at the Inside the Irish HQ.)

I’ll be joining the official Signing Day show over at UND.com to talk some shop. We’ll also be hosting a special Signing Day mailbag, so look for that to open up over the weekend.

With Notre Dame feeling very good about their positions with wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown and running back Dexter Williams, the Irish signing class looks to be at least 24 next Wednesday. It could swell to 25 if they’re able to reel in one more safety as well.

Get ready for a busy week ahead.