Tim Brown of the University of Notre Dame

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


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)


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.

ACC scheduling puts Irish in the crosshairs


The ACC announced their 2015 conference football schedule. And the six dates with Notre Dame seem to take center stage.

Three of the six opponents that face Notre Dame will be coming into their game with the Irish after an off week. That includes a November matchup against Boston College in Fenway Park and the Irish’s visit to Clemson, who will have nine days between their visit from Notre Dame and their Thursday night trip to Louisville. Wake Forest also gets an extra week to prepare for their visit to South Bend.

Only Virginia plays the Irish back-to-back with a Power Five opponent, opening the season at UCLA before welcoming Notre Dame to Charlottesville. Orange Bowl champion Georgia Tech hosts Tulane before coming to South Bend. And new head coach Pat Narduzzi hosts North Carolina on a Thursday night before taking his first shot at the Irish as the man in charge of the Pitt program.

Notre Dame’s scheduling alliance with the ACC began in 2014, with the Irish playing five games against the conference each season as part of the schools membership in the conference in all sports except football. The Irish will face six teams in 2015 after playing just four last year, as part of the first Notre Dame schedule not to feature a Big Ten opponent since 1917.

“This year’s ACC Football schedule once again showcases that collectively our league is arguably playing the toughest nonconference schedule in the country,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “In addition to the nonconference games, we have a tremendously competitive league schedule which provides our teams and fans with great games each week of the season.”


Moore says Notre Dame treated Frozen Five fairly

Notre Dame v Stanford

Kendall Moore‘s football career did not end as planned. The fifth-year senior never saw the playing field after being pulled from the team in August as part of an academic dishonesty probe that kept DaVaris Daniels, KeiVarae Russell and Ishaq Williams out for the 2014 season — and school year — as well. (Eilar Hardy returned to the team in late October.)

But Moore hopes that his football career isn’t over. And he spoke about the turbulence of the last six months with the South Bend Tribune’s Eric Hansen.

Moore will take part in this weekend’s College Gridiron Showcase, hoping that some team is willing to take a chance on the seldom-used linebacker who was stuck behind Manti Te’o, Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese for most of his career.

“There was a while when I was thinking I’m never going to get another opportunity to strap up and do it,” Moore told Hansen. “To have this chance, however it turns out, just makes me feel super blessed and very humbled.”

Perhaps more interesting that any update on Moore’s football career is his take on the case of the Frozen Five.

Held in purgatory as the academic wheels of justice slowly churned at the university level, Moore was candid with Hansen about how he’ll discuss the probe that ultimately cost Moore his final season of eligibility and has kept Daniels, Russell and Williams off campus with a reported two-semester suspension.

“I’ll just explain to them that with the whole investigation … that what it all came down to was just a violation of school policy,” Moore said. “It wasn’t a cheating scandal. We violated a school policy as far as the honor code goes and as far as peer editing goes.

“It ended up being a situation where Notre Dame holds their academics to a high standard, and nobody’s getting mad about that. We knew the whole situation, what we were getting into as far as the whole high academic prowess and stuff.

“We all understood what was going on. We all said there were mistakes made on everybody’s part, and we’re just looking to move past it and get on to the next chapter of our lives.”

Moore also talked about the support he received from teammates and head coach Brian Kelly. While Kelly served as the university’s spokesman during the frustrating period where information and details of the Honor Code process were so hard to come by, he also supported Moore and will continue to do so.

“We had a chance to talk after their season ended,” Moore told Hansen. “Coach Kelly told me they’d welcome me back with open arms, and that I’m still a Notre Dame guy, a Notre Dame grad.”

The whole column is worth a read, shedding light on a difficult situation while also reminding fans that Moore is a terrific representative of the university.


Irish land late official visit from safety Arrington Farrar

Arrington Farrar

Brian Kelly took a trip to Atlanta and made his in-home visit to see safety Arrington Farrar. Things went so well that Farrar decided to take his final official visit before Signing Day to South Bend.

If that feels a little backwards, that’s just the way Farrar’s recruitment has been. After pledging to Stanford during his sophomore year, Farrar — who the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports has a rock-solid 3.5 GPA  at Woodward Academy and scored a 26 on the ACT — apparently didn’t pass admissions in Palo Alto.

That turned the past month into a whirlwind for Farrar, with official visits to North Carolina, Wisconsin and now Notre Dame, thanks to Kelly’s in-home recruitment. It was between a trip to South Bend or a visit to James Franklin and Penn State for Farrar’s final weekend.

With the Irish still chasing a final prospect at safety, Farrar’s visit comes on the heels of official visits from Justin Reid and Nathan Meadors the past few weekends. But with the Irish looking to make up ground to Stanford (for Reid) and UCLA (for Meadors), some believe that Farrar is the best bet for pledging to the Irish and closing the book on the recruiting class.

In addition to Kelly visiting, Farrar was joined by area recruiter Scott Booker and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.

On paper, Farrar seems like a perfect fit at Notre Dame. A 4-star recruit and All-State player in Georgia, Farrar is also a 2015 Watkins Award finalist, awarded to the top African American high school scholar athlete by the National Alliance of African American Athletes

With Farrar choosing not to speak with the media about his recruitment, there’s little else to report. But Notre Dame getting Farrar on campus  for a final look before making a college decision on Signing Day is a big deal.