Hegarty named Sports Illustrated Player of the Week

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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.
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Eifert named Mackey tight end of the week

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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.

Michael Floyd isn’t one of the 10 best receivers in college football


(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.

Te’o named Bednarik semifinalist

Already named a semifinalist for the 2010 Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker, sophomore Manti Te’o just found himself among 16 semifinalists for the Bednarik Award, given to the top defensive player in the country. Te’o is one of only two sophomores on the list.

This from UND.com’s official release:

Notre Dame sophomore linebacker Manti Te’o was named one of the 16 semifinalists for the 2010 Bednarik Award on Monday which is presented to the nation’s top defensive player. Te’o has already been named a semifinalist for the 2010 Butkus Award, which is given to the nation’s outstanding collegiate linebacker.

Te’o (Laie, Hawai’i) leads the Irish in total tackles (100), tackles on running plays (71), tackles on passing plays (27), solo tackles (51) and assisted tackles (49). He also is tied for the team-lead in tackles for loss (7.0). Te’o ranks seventh in the FBS in tackles per game (11.1), 11th in total tackles (100), tied for 19th in assisted tackles (49) and tied for 20th in solo stops (51).

Te’o has registered 10 or more tackles in six of Notre Dame’s last eight games. He only has failed to reach double digits in tackles in three games this season (vs. Purdue in the season opener, Pittsburgh and Tulsa). Te’o finished with nine tackles against the Boilermakers and eight more against the Golden Hurricane.

Te’o established a career-high in tackles with 21 against Stanford on Sept. 25. He was the first player in the FBS this season to eclipse the 20-tackle barrier. In fact, no player in the FBS has had more tackles in one game against a BCS conference foe since Durell Mapp of North Carolina had 23 stops against North Carolina State on Nov. 10, 2007. In fact, it is the most tackles by a sophomore against a BCS opponent since Austin Thomas of Indiana had 22 against Michigan State on Oct. 13, 2007. It was the most tackles by a Notre Dame player since Chinedum Ndukwe had 22 in a victory over Air Force on Nov. 11, 2006. The 21-tackle effort against Stanford not only ranks as the sixth-most in single-game school history, but also ranks as the second-most ever by an Irish sophomore. Bob Crable was a sophomore when he tied the school record with 26 stops against Clemson on Nov. 17, 1979.

With three games remaining in the 2010 regular season, Te’o is headed towards one of the best tackle seasons in Irish history. He is on pace for 133 total tackles, which would rank just outside the top 10 all-time and most since Tony Furjanic had 147 in 1985. The total would also rank as the third-most ever by a Notre Dame sophomore. Crable’s school record total of 187 in 1979 and Furjanic’s total of 142 in 1983 came during each’s second year in an Irish uniform.

The winner of the 16th Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 9. Three finalists will be announced on Nov. 22 and a second round of voting will take place at that time. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club’s Awards Dinner on Friday, Mar. 4, 2011 at the Harrah’s Entertainment Complex in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Voting will begin on Tuesday, Nov. 9th and close on Sunday Nov. 21st. Eligible voters include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA Head Football Coaches, Sports Information Directors and selected national media.

Other semifinalists for the award are Sam Acho of Texas, Prince Amukamara of Nebraska, Da’Quan Bowers of Clemson, Chimdi Chekwa of Ohio State, Adrian Clayborn of Iowa, Nick Fairley of Auburn, Justin Houston of Georgia, Brandon Jenkins of Florida State, Greg Jones of Michigan State, Ryan Kerrigan of Purdue, Luke Kuechly of Boston College, Drake Nevis of LSU, Stephen Paea of Oregon State, Patrick Peterson of LSU and J.J. Watt of Wisconsin.