Former Irish football players had their chance to audition for future employers today in South Bend at the Notre Dame Pro Day. It was a reunion of sorts as players from all over worked out inside the Gug under the watchful eyes of NFL scouts.
With Notre Dame only losing starters Ben Koyack, Cody Riggs and Kyle Brindza to the NFL, it’s not expected to be a big year for the Irish in the draft. But also returning to campus to audution were former captain Cam McDaniel, DaVaris Daniels, Jake Golic, Andrew Hendrix, Ethan Johnson, Kendall Moore, Justin Utupo and Alex Welch.
Daniels and Moore are back on campus even after last season’s suspension. They’re joined by Miami RedHawks Hendrix and Welch, who played out their eligibility under former offensive coordinator Chuck Martin.
Golic returned to campus after playing at Cincinnati. Johnson is looking to return to the NFL after being a part of the concussion class action lawsuit and a cup of coffee with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Let’s take to social media to get you some results:
Here’s an update on Cody Riggs, who was a surprise to be not among the invites to the combine in Indianapolis, but certainly helped his draft stock by running as fast as you’d have expected.
It appears that Riggs tweaked a hamstring later in the workout, but not before taking a slo-mo leap in the broad jump:
Ben Koyack, who was invited to Indianapolis, but didn’t run the 40-yard dash there, did so in South Bend. Per SID Michael Bertsch, Koyack ran right around a 4.7, with the fastest time listed at 4.68.
Koyack was at the Senior Bowl and Combine and is likely to be the first former Irish player off the draft board, though maybe not as early as previous Notre Dame tight ends.
Also back on campus is McDaniel, who is days away from becoming a father. A fringe candidate to make a roster, McDaniel showed some versatility—needed if he’s going to be a special teams performer on Sundays.
Kyle Brindza did a nice job updating us on his Pro Day. Here’s the former Irish kicker on his afternoon, where he showed off epic strongman skills in addition to a big leg on kickoffs.
Amazing Pro Day! 21 bench and 31 vert. Almost all KO out of back with handful 10+ yards out of the back. 10/12 on FG into the wind but mainly all right down pipe with good rotation. If your a doubter keep doubting BC I'll prove you wrong. If your a believer then let's take this journey together. #GodStrong
In a parallel universe, DaVaris Daniels was catching passes from Andrew Hendrix. The Elkhart Truth’s Rachel Terlep even has proof.
Daniels spoke with media at the event, doing his best to put his suspension and inability to return to South Bend into context.
“It’s a difficult situation,” Daniels acknowledged to The Observer‘s Mike Monaco. “I don’t hold any grudges. I just don’t really like thinking about the situation… it is what it is. At this point, I’m ready for the NFL. That’s my focus.”
Daniels estimates he’s got a little over two semesters left of work to complete before earning his Notre Dame degree. He said all the right things about moving forward and hopefully finishing up his course work, while also taking the high road about the frustrating time where all five suspended athletes waited to hear their fate.
Most importantly for Daniels, at least when it comes to his immediate employment future, is getting his speed and explosiveness back. Various reports had Daniels breaking into the 4.5-range on his 40, a critical threshold for him.
If you’re looking for good news out of South Bend, defensive end Ishaq Williams—currently in football and academic purgatory—was on hand watching the festivities. Williams didn’t speak to any media but sat with his teammates for the festivities, though what to make of that isn’t clear.
While scholarship numbers are tight, Williams could be a great addition to a defensive front that’s looking for more bulk, and it’d allow him to finish his Notre Dame degree after a two semester exile.