If you’re looking for the Notre Dame football coaches, look up. As the spring evaluation period kicks into gear, the Irish assistant coaches are taking to the sky as they blanket the country talking to a wide net of Irish prospects. If you’re looking for Irish recruiting news, you’ll probably do better here, here, here or here.
But for those curious as to what the actual NCAA Evaluation Period entails, let’s take a quick look at the actual guidelines as they’re laid out by our friends in Indianapolis:
(f) April 15 through May 31, 2011 — Evaluation Period
One hundred sixty-eight evaluation days (216 for U.S. service academies) (see Bylaw 13.02.6.2) (excluding Memorial Day and Sundays) selected at the discretion of the member institution and designated in writing in the office of the director of athletics [as provided in (1) below]:
(1) An authorized off-campus recruiter may use one evaluation to assess the prospective student-athlete’s ability and one evaluation to assess the prospective student-athlete’s academic qualifications during this evaluation period.) It an institution’s coaching staff member conducts both an athletics ad an academic evaluation of the prospective student-athlete on the same day during this evaluation period, the institution shall be charged with the use of an academics evaluation only and shall be permitted to conduct a second athletics evaluation of the prospective student-athlete on a separate day during this evaluation period.
The entire schedule is available for download here, but it’s a far more complex system than what we usually read — where one coach usually “bumps” into a recruit, exchanges pleasantries with said recruit, then goes on his way to a meeting where the coach and the high school coach discuss the player.
Staying on the recruiting topic, the net that the Irish coaching staff is casting is much wider than any net the previous coaching regimes at Notre Dame have cast. It’s as much a sign of the times as it is a clear difference in philosophy, with Brian Kelly and his coaching staff understanding you need to throw out a ton of bait to catch some fish.
If you’re looking for a clear-cut example, look no further than uber-blue-chipper Arik Armstead, the mammoth 6-foot-6, 275-pound defensive lineman that’s already committed to USC. Nevermind that Armstead’s brother still plays for the Trojans and that he’s been pledged to Southern Cal since June of last year, IrishSportsDaily.com’s Christian McCollum reports West Coast recruiter Mike Denbrock was at Pleasant Grove High School paying Armstead a call.
“I got a chance to put faces with people I’ve been talking to and I’m just taking in more information and trying to pick the five I’m going to take my visit to,” Armstead told ISD.
Armstead has hopes of playing basketball as well in college, and right now the Irish are in the mix for one of Armstead’s five visits.
The Irish have well over 100 “reported” offers, and even if that number isn’t anywhere close to accurate, it’s a lot more than any Charlie Weis recruiting cycle.
Congratulations to Kyle Rudolph for becoming the 43rd pick in the NFL Draft, going to the Minnesota Vikings in the 2nd round this afternoon. Rudolph was the first tight end taken and joins an offense filled with talented skill players but an unproven quarterback position. (The Vikings drafted FSU quarterback Christian Ponder in the first round.)
Rudolph is about seventh months removed from the hamstring surgery that cost him much of the 2010 season, but he’s expected to be back and healthy as he approaches his first season in professional football.
Rudolph’s production in the NFL, where he’ll be paired with Vikings standout tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, will depend on Rudy staying healthy and the Vikings solving their quarterback issues.
(As a Vikings fan, I’m hoping to see Kyle catch plenty of touchdowns.)
Irish fans looking for more of Brian Kelly? Turn on the NFL Network tomorrow as Kelly joins NBC Sports analyst and draft expert Mike Mayock on the broadcast. Alabama coach Nick Saban, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema, and North Carolina’s Butch Davis will also be on set.
Kelly should stay on the air for about two hours.