Looking for an incoming recruit to get excited about? Try New Mexico’s Matt Hegarty, who Sports Illustrated recently named their High School Player of the Week.
Hailed as the nation’s top offensive lineman, the 6-5, 270-pound tackle has 27 offers spanning from Texas to Harvard, a testament to both his athleticism and intellect. He committed to the Irish back in April and has held strong throughout the season, understanding the process that comes with a coaching transition.
“If you look at a lot of great programs around the country, they didn’t have spectacular seasons with some of the first-year coaches,” Hegarty said back in early November, when the Irish were in the midst of a midseason swoon.
Here’s more from from SI.com’s write up:
His freakish athleticism allows him keep pace with most linebackers and defensive ends, and his textbook footwork has been crucial on passing downs. He didn’t surrender a sack his entire senior year, recording 81 pancakes. He’s widely regarded as one of the top offensive linemen in the nation.
Even with his success, the recruiting process started slowly. He was initially targeted by just New Mexico and Oregon, but drew more attention after a standout performance at the National Underclassmen Combine in Norman, Okla., where he earned offensive line MVP honors.
“It really started rolling after that,” he said.
Hegarty committed to Notre Dame last April, selecting the Irish for the combination of academics and tradition. His presence should immediately upgrade Brian Kelly’s porous line, as the Irish gave up 20 sacks this season. Despite the Irish’s recent struggles (they’ve gone just 23-26 since 2007), Hegarty remains optimistic.
“I think that there was a lot of progression that went on this year, a lot of development in the team,” he said. “I’m excited to see where that program will go.”
Here’s the video SI shot of Hegarty when they visited him in Aztec, New Mexico, which gives you a better idea of just how good of a kid Hegarty really is.
After his breakout game against Army, Tyler Eifert was named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week.
This from the official release:
Bethpage, N.Y. (November 24, 2010) – Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame was named John Mackey Tight End of the Week by the Nassau County Sports Commission. The sophomore recorded four receptions for a career high 78 yards and a touchdown. Replacing the great tight end Kyle Rudolph due to injury, Eifert’s touchdown catch put Notre Dame ahead 17-3 securing the 27-3 victory over Army and helping Notre Dame become Bowl eligible in what was he 50th all time match-up between these two legendary teams. Honorable mentions considered for this week’s Mackey Tight End of the Week include Ladarius Green of Louisiana and Rob Housler of Florida Atlantic.
The 2010 recipient of “The Mackey” will be presented live at the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Red Carpet Show December 9, 2010 on ESPNU. Please visit http://www.johnmackeyaward.org for all Mackey Award related information including the John Mackey Selection Committee, the selection process and award criteria, information on all past award recipients and a high resolution image of the award trophy available for download.
The John Mackey Tight End of the Week is an honor distinct and different from the annual John Mackey Award. This weekly honor was started in 2004 to draw attention to individual play by Tight Ends during the active season. The Tight End of the Week acknowledgment does not have a direct bearing on the final John Mackey Award selection process. The Nassau County Sports Commission, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization sponsored by Briarcliffe College, is responsible for the administration of the John Mackey Award and the John Mackey Award Selection Committee.
The John Mackey Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association’s official website, http://www.ncfaa.org.
Eifert joins Kyle Rudolph on the list, who was named Mackey tight end of the week after his performance against Michigan. The Irish are the only school to have two different tight ends named, a pretty amazing feat all things considered.
(Or at least the Tallahassee Quarterback Club doesn’t think so.)
A year after Golden Tate won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best wide receiver, Michael Floyd found himself on the outside looking in as the 10 semifinalists were announced today for the Biletnikoff Award by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club.
Here are the 2010 Biletnikoff Award Semifinalists:
Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
Randall Cobb, Kentucky
Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M
A.J. Green, Georgia
Alshon Jeffrey, South Carolina
Julia Jones, Alabama
Aldrick Robinson, SMU
Greg Salas, Hawaii
Jordan White, Western Michigan
Floyd has 59 catches for 767 yards and 9 touchdowns this season, matching his number from an injury shortened season last year, but seeing his yards per catch average drop from 18.1 to 13 yards, no doubt the effect of a new quarterback and offensive system.
Floyd’s numbers are comparable to those put up by Cobb, Green, Jones, and Robinson, although Green missed some time due to NCAA suspension for selling a game-worn jersey to someone the NCAA classifed as an agent. (For what its worth, Blackmon is a semi-finalist even after getting arrested for DUI in the middle of the season.) One interesting name of note was Western Michigan’s Jordan White, who went head-to-head with Floyd in South Bend, putting up five catches for 55 yards in a 44-20 loss to the Irish where Floyd made 9 catches for 157 yards and three touchdowns.
Awards like this are ultimately meaningless, but Irish fans should hope that a slight like this is the motivation Floyd needs to return for his senior season and make a run at the Biletnikoff.