Reports: Irish adding Biagi and Bower as coaching analysts

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With a little over two weeks until spring practice, Notre Dame’s extended football staff is coming into focus. With zero turnover among the full-time assistant coaches, news is beginning to trickle in that Brian Kelly has added some additional staffers to the program.

FootballScoop.com reported that the Irish have added former Southern special teams coordinator Marty Biagi to the coaching staff. He’ll serve as a special teams analyst for the Irish after coordinating the special teams for Southern, where he was a finalist for the 2014 FootballScoop Special Teams Coordinator of the Year.

Biagi wasn’t even technically eligible for the award but was added to the nominees anyway with a ridiculous 2014 season, just part of a special teams juggernaut he’d had a hand in building at Southern:

Biagi is not eligible for the overall FootballScoop Special Teams Coordinator of the Year award as it is strictly an FBS award, but Biagi’s work with the Southern special teams was so impactful they deserved mention among the finalists. Southern notched an incredible eight special teams touchdowns this year, as three separate players returned kickoffs for a total of four touchdowns, returned three punts for touchdowns and blocked a punt for a score. The eight special teams scored are believed to be an FCS record. The Jaguars have notched a total of 14 special teams touchdowns in the past three seasons.

Notre Dame’s special teams took a huge step forward in 2015, impressive work considering the Irish were breaking in a first-year punter, kicker and return man. Biagi will certainly bring more fresh eyes to the conversation in the coaching room, assisting Scott Booker as the Irish hope to take another step forward.

In addition to Biagi, CoachingSearch.com reports that Central Arkansas linebackers coach Harland Bower is coming to South Bend to join the Irish staff on the defensive side of the ball. Bower has a connection to both Kelly and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, spending part of his collegiate career playing for both.

Bower could potentially fill the vacancy former Irish captain Maurice Crum left after he took a full-time position coaching in the secondary at Indiana State. Crum served as a Graduate Assistant last year for the Irish, working with Todd Lyght in the secondary. Bower has spent time at Rutgers and Troy on his way up the ladder.

Notre Dame hasn’t confirmed the hires, as the standard extended HR process continues. Expect that to change when Kelly addresses the media before the start of spring practice.

 

 

Fuller blazes with a 4.32 in the 40-yard dash

Fuller Combine
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Will Fuller hoped to run a 4.35. He bested that. Fuller was the fastest wide receiver on the field today, blazing his way to an official 4.32, just one-hundredth of a second off the best time in Indianapolis this year.

Here’s video of Fuller’s blazing run.

Fuller was also smooth catching the football in on-field drills on Saturday, adding to a very nice weekend for the former Irish star.

Prosise blazes with a 4.4 forty at the NFL Combine

Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise (20) runs past Georgia Tech defensive back Jamal Golden (4) for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Notre Dame defeated Georgia Tech 30-22. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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The NFL may have added a few hundredths of a second to C.J. Prosise‘s 40-yard dash. But even if the reports of a 4.40 turned into a 4.48, the former Notre Dame running back certainly opened some eyes with his speed in Indianapolis.

Those that have watched Prosise the past few years certainly saw this coming. Whether it was running away from LSU in the Music City Bowl or the handful of game-breaking touches he had in 2015, Prosise’s speed was always such an intriguing part of the 220-pounder’s game. Now stacked up against top backs like Derrick Henry and Ezekiel Elliott, Prosise more than held his own.

Prosise’s big day also included a 35.5-inch vertical leap and 121-inch broad jump, besting Elliott in both categories but finishing behind Henry. Prosise will wait to bench press until Notre Dame’s Pro Day, giving him more time to let a shoulder heal that’s still not 100-percent since injuring it against Pitt.

Fuller ready to run

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 14: Will Fuller #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish rushes against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium on November 14, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish won 28-7. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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Will Fuller‘s been center stage as the discussion focuses on who the fastest man is in Indianapolis. Now the former Notre Dame speedster is just ready to go out and run.

Talking during media availability at the NFL Scouting Combine, Fuller talked about his hopes for the 40-yard dash, and how fast he plans to go.

“4.35 would be real good for me,” Fuller told Irish247. “That’s what I’m shooting for.”

Fuller went through the cattle call on Thursday, coming in close to his specs at Notre Dame—6’0″ and 186 pounds. While his hands (8.25″) and arm length (30.75″) skew smaller than most, Fuller was what scouts thought he was, to borrow from former NFL coach Dennis Green.

After pledging his return to Notre Dame midseason, Fuller talked about the decision to head to the NFL after his junior year anyway, acknowledging that the slew of injuries that hit the team played a part in his thought process.

“Just looking at the year we had, a lot of injuries,” Fuller told Irish247. “I’ve had a healthy career, and I just want to get out of there while I was healthy. Still put up some good numbers this year, so I think I left at a good time; healthy and no injuries.”

 

Another potential position change factored into Prosise’s NFL decision

C.J. Prosise
AP
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C.J. Prosise‘s position switch to running back was a breakthrough in 2015. But uncertainty about whether he was going to stay there factored into his decision to head to the NFL.

With Notre Dame’s top three receivers graduating and Corey Robinson‘s status with the team also in doubt, Prosise decided that the timing was right to head to the NFL after a big 2015 season. In his media availability during Day One of the NFL Scouting Combine, Prosise discussed the thought process, first citing the fact he’s set to earn his degree this spring.

“I’m going to get my degree in May,” Prosise told a group of reporters. “That’s kind of the main thing, getting that out of the equation. For me, it’s kind of a decision I thought between me and my family I thought that was the best decision.”

But worries about the depth chart seemed to be a bit of a head scratcher. Prosise was one of college football’s most dynamic playmakers at running back the first half of the season, dominant until a string of injuries—concussion, shoulder separation and a high-ankle sprain—ruined his productivity. Yet the 220-pounder said his positional flexibility, surely an asset to the teams interested in drafting him, also factored into his decision to head to the NFL now.

“Getting moved around a lot from position to position, I never really knew where I was secure at. I felt like it was the best decision for me,” Prosise said.

Irish 247’s Nick Ironside’s string of Tweets better uncovers the thought process that Prosise described on Tuesday that he says weighed into his decision. It’s a surprising revelation, even considering Josh Adams’ record-setting freshman season and Tarean Folston‘s return from an ACL tear in the season opener.

Prosise plans to participate in the 40-yard dash, broad jump and vertical jump in Indianapolis before testing in more events at Notre Dame’s Pro Day. Prosise’s current draft stock has prognosticators believing he’s bunched among the second flight of backs behind Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott and Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry.