Milton Knox …

February 6th, 2008 by John

… is a Bruin, it seems. Blame his dad. Dangit.

ND NSD Liveblog

February 6th, 2008 by John

I can’t say I’ll be at my computer all day long (it is Ash Wednesday, after all), but at least through these early morning hours I’ll be posting NSD-related news as it breaks. Stay tuned …

10:20am PST: … and so the liveblog endeth. Congrats to Weis & Co. on an amazing class, and to all the recruits for signing up with an amazing program. Let’s get this train back on the rails!

Check back in this afternoon for Milton Knox’s decision - last I heard, he wants to go to ND but his dad won’t let him …

9:17am PST: In an interview on Rivals Radio this morning, Dayne Crist apparently said that he’s going to enroll at ND in mid-June. I guess that means he’ll be around for summer practice, which is GREAT … [EDIT: Err, not quite. See Grant's helpful comment.]

9:14am PST: Via GoshenGipper:

During his presser CW just mentioned that there are still a few guys out there that are uncommitted so there might be a few surprises, but that he wasn’t counting on it and he wanted to focus his presser on the 23 that have already signed.

Sheesh. A FEW?! Hold on to your hats, folks …

8:54am PST: Word is there is still some uncertainty about what the heck Omar Hunter is going to do with himself. I hope Urbie is having as miserable a time as we all were a month or so ago. Stay tuned …

8:39am PST: Via the Scout liveblog once again, this is the kind of thing that just has to make you smile:

11:28 am EST: Joe Adams just pulled a stunner, spurning USC, where he was a longtime commit, to sign with homestate Arkansas. — Brandon Huffman

There has been a simply unbelievable number of recruits today who’ve sent their LOIs to schools other than the ones they committed to. The fact that ND has managed to avoid this really speaks to the character of their recruits, and to the terrific job the coaches have done of making them feel a part of the team from Day One.

7:53am PST: Steve Filer is in as well. So that’s all for now in the LOI department, pending Milton Knox’s announcement this evening. My kid is up, though, so I’m off to make some breakfast. Get back to work, folks - I’ll be back soon.

7:52am PST: NDNation is reporting that Dayne Crist has faxed in his letter.

7:47am PST: This is worth passing along, for anyone who hasn’t seen it or didn’t notice this particular story. It’s Charlie Weis talking about what recruiting was like this year:

“The biggest highlight for me, personally, is the great player from a distant place that decided to go to another school. Obviously, I can’t say his name. As much as it hurt, I called him and wished him the very best. It turns out the Mom was in our corner, and the next night he called back and asked, ‘You still got that scholarship?’ When I said ‘Yes I do,’ he responded, ‘Well, I came to my senses. I am coming to Notre Dame.’ That was a great feeling that we had handled things the right way.”

It certainly seems like he’s referring to Kapron Lewis-Moore, though at the time he couldn’t mention him by name. Great story …

7:45am PST: Hello out there. Not yet eight in the morning, and already over 1,100 pageloads today. Sheesh.

7:39am PST: From Scout’s Bob Lichtenfels, commenting on the commitment of Kapron Lewis-Moore:

… the race for No. 1 in the Scout.com recruiting rankings narrows.

Ahh yes, the famed MRNC. Standings here and here, btw.

7:35am PST: Damn:

10:27 am EST: Apparently there was a lot of truth to DT Omar Hunter (Buford, Ga.) wavering on his Florida commitment. Hunter heard some rumors late yesterday that DL Coach Greg Mattison might be leaving for the Ravens and wavered. Whether Mattison leaves or not is not known at this time (or it could be a bad rumor that got to Hunter) but it did cause a moment of pause for Omar. Hunter just signed with the Gators. — Jamie Newberg

7:33am PST: LOIs are in from Anthony McDonald and Joseph Fauria. Crist and Filer are the only ones left, by my accounting.

7:17am PST: Hafis Williams and Ethan Johnson, done and done.

7:05am PST: Take this FWIW (from the Scout.com live blog):

9:53 am EST: I am hearing some rumblings that five-star D-tackle Omar Hunter (Buford, Ga.) may not sign with Florida. Could it be Georgia? Don’t know just yet and I’m trying to track this one down. This could be devastating to the Gators. — Jamie Newberg

One can only dream.

6:50am PST: Expect letters from Steve Filer and Hafis Williams in the next ten minutes or so … that will take care of the non-PSTers.

6:47am PST: In more karma-related news, Florida has lost yet another verbal commitment, as Ramon Buchanon has sent an LOI into Miami (where he had “committed” before he “committed” to Florida). Methinks this is what happens when you keep telling kids who are committed to other programs that verbal commitments aren’t binding … word gets around, you know?

6:38am PST: According to Scout, the idea of being Omar Hunter’s back-up plan was part of what turned Mike Martin off to ND. Never mind that Michigan recruited Hunter as well, of course, and may not have given Martin as much attention if Hunter had committed (or “committed”, as the case may be) to them. Goes to show you the consequences of insincere - or at least less-than-solid - verbal commitments, though … this wouldn’t have been a problem if Omar had just told ND he wasn’t sure in the first place.

6:33am PST: Lewis-Moore’s letter is in, per Rivals.

6:32am PST: In other news, Josh Jenkins snubbed Florida State and Ohio State to stay local and play for West Virginia, and Florida commit Ricky Barnum jumped ship to go play for Michigan. Poetic justice, much? Suck it, Urbie.

6:30am PST: Jonas Gray, check.

6:17am PST: Apparently bad weather in the Midwest might delay the Chicago- and Detroit-area guys …

6:14am PST: Fleming is in …

6:12am PST: We’re still waiting on: Hafis Williams, Jonas Gray, Ethan Johnson, Dayne Crist, Anthony McDonald, Darius Fleming, Steve Filer, and Joseph Fauria. With the exception of Williams, all those guys are in the Central or Pacific time zones, though …

6:09am PST: I’ll well aware that I’m one of those “dorks”, thank you very much.

6:06am PST: Per GoshenGipper, Kapron Lewis-Moore apparently kept himself entertained over the weekend by reading message boards and watching everyone try to figure out who the “secret commit” was. LOL … what a bunch of dorks.

6:01am PST: … and Braxston Cave makes fourteen.

5:57am PST: Lane Clelland, too …

5:55am PST: Kyle Rudolph, David Posluszny, and Dan McCarthy are safely in the fold now … that’s twelve so far, not counting Lewis-Moore.

5:51am PST: Michael Floyd’s letter is in …

5:41am PST: More here on the supposed “mystery” recruit, for all you insatiable rumor-sharks out there.

5:30am PST: Apparently BGI is reporting that Kapron Lewis-Moore will be sending his LOI in shortly. They’re also indicating that he’s the “mystery” recruit whom all the whispers had been about … we’ll see, I guess. If it is him, though, then thanks for ruining Christmas, Tom Lemming!

5:15am PST: Rivals is also reporting that Omar Hunter has faxed his LOI in to the world’s biggest douche Urban Meyer the world’s biggest douche.

5:14am PST: According to Rivals, the following LOIs have all been sent in:

  • Robert Blanton
  • Sean Cwynar
  • Mike Golic Jr.
  • Brandon Newman
  • Trevor Robinson
  • Jamoris Slaughter
  • Deion Walker

4:57am PST: Apparently it has been confirmed that Deion Walker will honor his verbal commitment and enroll at ND in 2008. Whew. He will be on Rivals Radio in about a half an hour.

4:54am PST: A quick update of the morning’s big stories:

  • Apparently Deion Walker is going to be on Rivals Radio in a few minutes “announcing” whether he’s decided to stay at ND or switch his verbal to ND or PSU. Ugh.
  • Mike Golic Jr. signed his LOI on the Mike and Mike Show about a half-hour ago.
  • Milton Knox will announce his decision at 7pm EST; I’m not sure when the official word will be in on Kapron Lewis-Moore.
  • No word yet on the mystery recruit who supposedly offered a super-secret commitment to ND in the last few days … stay tuned.

Kapron Lewis-Moore is Irish!

February 3rd, 2008 by John

According to a post on Tom Lemming’s blog at the Chicago Sun-Times, Texas LB/DE Kapron Lewis-Moore has decommitted once again from Texas A&M and given his verbal to Notre Dame. There’s no word on this yet from any other sources, but it squares well with much of what has been being rumored over the weekend.

Lewis-Moore is ranked as a three-star player and the #32 defensive end by Scout, and a four-star player and the #13 DE by Rivals. If Lemming is indeed correct, he will be the 23rd member of Notre Dame’s 2008 recruiting class, and the twelfth defensive player. The Roundup will have more details on this story as they become available …

But in the meantime, and however preemptively, welcome to the Notre Dame family, Kapron!

[UPDATE: Apparently it's been confirmed by Pete Sampson. Awesome!]

[ANOTHER UPDATE: The SBT's Bob Wieneke writes:

CSTV recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who also writes a column for the Tribune's Irish Sports Report, reported Sunday that Lewis-Moore has committed to Notre Dame after being committed to Texas A&M. But a family member said Sunday that if there is a change in schools, word of it will come from Lewis-Moore himself.

Huh. I still believe Lemming, though, especially given the apparent confirmation by Sampson.]

[ONE MORE UPDATE: Jeremy Crabtree of Rivals.com says that KLM "is expected to switch from A&M to Notre Dame, but he's not going on the record with his final pick until Wednesday."]

Another one down

January 28th, 2008 by John

Once again, we have a semi-official confirmation of something that’s been rumored on a number of ND sites for quite a while now: the playing career of sophomore offensive lineman Bartley Webb is apparently over, due to a shoulder injury. Here’s the report, from Kurt Voight of The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas:

Bartley Webb, the left tackle for Springdale High’s 2005 state championship team, recently “retired” from college football. Webb, who took part in the 2006 U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio and has been on scholarship at Notre Dame the past two seasons, underwent shoulder surgery after this past season.

The injury was severe enough for Webb’s career to come to an end, though he will continue on scholarship at Notre Dame and help as a coach.

This is really too bad (both for Webb and the team), though it’s great to see that he’ll be able to stay at the university and be involved with the football program. By all accounts he’s a fine young man, and he’ll do very well for himself wherever he ends up down the line. Best wishes, Bartley.

Whiffed.

January 25th, 2008 by John

Yikes. What a day. Within the last twenty-four hours, it seems that:

  1. A spot at Texas A&M opened back up for Kapron Lewis-Moore, who promptly recommitted to the Aggies;
  2.  Mike Martin canceled his visit to Notre Dame; and
  3. Kenneth Page gave a verbal commitment to Clemson.

And with those three strikes, it looks like the Irish are nearly out of non-longshot prospects for 2008. No word yet, though, on the academic situation of RB Milton Knox, who as I said on Tuesday may see an offer if his test scores are high enough, and has apparently shown some strong interest in ND. Georgia DE/OLB Keith Wells is scheduled to visit South Bend this weekend, apparently with his mother, so we’ll see how that turns out - but right now ND seems to be on the outside looking in on this one.

Don’t worry, though. I’m sure there’ll be plenty more drama before February 7th …

Hand, out.

January 23rd, 2008 by John

As if Omar Hunter’s defection and the loss of Pat Kuntz for the spring semester due to academic issues weren’t enough, BlueandGold.com is now reporting something that has been rumored for weeks, namely that defensive lineman Derrell Hand’s playing career is apparently over, due to a spinal cord disease:

Senior to be defensive lineman Derrell Hand’s football career is likely over because of a hereditary disease in his spinal cord, Hand’s former high school coach, Brian Fulk, explained to BlueandGold.com this afternoon.

Fulk said the pain in Hand’s lower back started to become a problem toward the end of last season, especially during periods of inactivity, and the diagnosis was more serious than anyone would have expected.

“He’s not the type of player to complain about injuries and he really never said that his back was hurting him, at least when he played for me,” said Fulk, who coached Hand at West Catholic High School in Philadelphia. “It kind of came out of nowhere for me.”

Hand is expected to get a second opinion but if the initial diagnosis is correct, Fulk said that playing football could severely aggravate the injury and potentially cause long-term problems.

“He’s going to get a second opinion about it,” Fulk said. “But at this point, it doesn’t look real good for him to play football ever again.”

Hand, you probably recall, was arrested for soliciting a prostitute before the 2007 season and was suspended for the first three games. He played sparingly thereafter, as he saw the field for a total of just over 27 minutes in a total of four games and recorded just three assisted tackles. His presence will be sorely missed along 2008’s very inexperienced defensive line, though - please keep his future in your prayers.

Holy. Freaking. Crap.

January 22nd, 2008 by John

Well, maybe it’s just because yesterday was a federal holiday and no one had anything better to than sit at their computers and rumor-monger, but there are TONS of recruiting whispers out there. I repeat: TONS. Including some rather unbelievable news on … well, you’ll just have to read to the bottom to find out. Remember, though, you’d already know all of this stuff and more if you’d been following what was being said on the IrishEnvy boards. But forthwith, a brief rundown of some of the highlights …

Off the Irish radar:

  • California RB/DB Thaddeus Brown, a high school teammate of commits Dayne Crist and Anthony McDonald, was briefly on ND’s radar as a potential recruit for the defensive secondary, but won’t be getting an offer because of academic issues.
  • California DE Datone Jones, currently a UCLA verbal, had a visit to ND scheduled for late January but has since canceled it, apparently because of academic issues once again.
  • No matter what they tell you, believe this: Texas RB Cyrus Gray is going to Texas A&M.
  • Kansas WR/QB Chris Harper has verballed to Oregon.
  • Missouri FB/ILB Will Compton was offered by the Irish, though as a fullback with a chance to play linebacker down the line. Apparently that’s not what he was looking for, and so his scheduled official visit to ND has been canceled. Last I heard he’s announcing today, between Nebraska, Missouri, and Illinois.

On the Irish radar:

Well, not quite “finally” …

  • There are … how shall I put it … lots of crazy [EDIT: and probably false. See the article linked here. And remember that I did call them "crazy" - don't hate on the messenger.] rumors flying around on the - yes, you are reading this correctly - Omar Hunter front, as ND’s courtship of him (and his of ND) may not be entirely a thing of the past. I can’t say more now, because much of this seems to be of the If I Told You I’d Have to Shoot You Fast Because My Source Would Be Coming to Shoot Me variety. Let’s just say you should keep your ear to the ground to see if these rumblings turn into a genuine earthquake … and remember, you heard it here first!

The Irish by the Numbers, Part I: 2007’s Offensive Breakdown

January 15th, 2008 by John

With the new year in full swing and school starting up again (welcome, Trevor and Sean!), it’s time to start looking back at 2007 and ahead to ‘08. Oh, that and wasting time thinking about ND football when we really should be writing our dissertations. So with that in mind, the Irish Roundup is proud to bring you “The Irish by the Numbers,” a multi-part series where we break down what happened last year and consider what’s to come.

First up, a great break-down that IE poster Jonathan (”Fishin’ Irish,” for the in-crowd) put together of the offensive numbers from the 2007 season. It was supposed to get up over break, but better late than never. I’ll be back later this week with a breakdown of some of 2007’s numbers on defense.

The Irish by the Numbers, Part I: 2007’s Offensive Breakdown

Here’s a breakdown of the team’s offensive stats by class from the 2007. By “seniors” I mean to include both fifth- and fourth-year guys, since none of 2007’s fourth-year seniors on offense will return for a fifth year anyhow.

Rushing*

Freshmen: 140 Carries, 646 Yards, 4.6 YPC, 6 TD’s**
Sophomores: 128 Carries, 469 Yards, 3.8 YPC, 0 TDS
Juniors: (i.e. Asaph Schwapp): 12 Carries, 14 Yards, 1.2 YPC
Seniors: 37 Carries, 93 Yards, 2.5 YPC, 5 TD’s

Passing***

Freshmen: 139 Completions, 246 Attempts, 6 INT’s, 56.5%, 1264 Yards, 7 TD’s, 103.85 QB rating****
Juniors: 77 Completions, 140 Attempts, 3 INT’s, 55.0%, 736 Yards, 5 TD’s, 106.66 QB rating

Receiving

Freshmen: 66 Receptions, 636 Yards, 9.6 YPR, 6 TD’s
Sophomores: 64 Receptions, 616 Yards, 9.6 YPR, 1 TD
Juniors: 32 Receptions, 258 Yards, 8.1 YPR, 2 TD’s
Seniors: 55 Receptions, 494 Yards, 8.9 YPR, 3 TD’s

Things seem to be looking up, huh? I’m sure I made a math error in there (I did a lot of it in my head), but you get the idea. Freshmen led EVERY SINGLE CATEGORY here in terms of production. That’s simply amazing. The more you look into this, the better this gets:

  • I’m willing to bet that all five of Travis Thomas’s touchdowns occurred when we were in the “goal line” formation. I feel pretty confident when I say that losing him here won’t hurt us, as either James Aldridge or Robert Hughes should be able to pick up improve upon where Thomas left off in that department.
  • The passing game should only improve next year now that Jimmy Clausen has had time to get his feet wet. A deeper, more talented, and more experienced offensive line should help, and the only starter graduating from the line is center John Sullivan. (However, some may see him leaving as a good thing …)
  • The only loss worthy of note in the receiving section is John Carlson. He’ll be tough to replace, but Will Yeatman, Mike Ragone, and incoming freshmen Kyle Rudolph and Joseph Fauria look to fill his place. Also, look for to-be-freshmen wideouts Mike Floyd and John Goodman to make an impact on next year’s depth chart, if not on the gridiron itself.

Obviously, there are lots of uncertainties that need to sort themselves out, and these young players have to become a lot more consistent if the Irish are going to return to ‘05-’06 form. But there’s reason for hope, anyway …

[NOTES:

* I'm factoring out sack yardage here, as well as leaving out Demetrius Jones's numbers, since he left the team mid-season.

** Here's where there's some wiggle room in the stats. JC's two rushing TD's are included here, but his attempts and yards were not. I didn't want to include sacks, as I thought it would detract from the main idea, and I wasn't about to dig through game play-by-plays to find his actual attempts/yardage sans the sacks.

*** Once again, Jones's numbers are factored out.

**** Clausen's Passer Rating. Armando Allen's passing stats were not included in the class QB rating.]

Michigan’s Sweetheart

January 9th, 2008 by John

No, I don’t mean Hillary Clinton, but Skunkbear head coach Dick Rodriguez:

Newly hired Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez confirmed Tuesday night that receivers Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington and quarterback Ryan Mallett are no longer with the team.

Rodriguez confirmed the news in an impromptu briefing with the media at halftime of the men’s basketball game against Indiana.

“Obviously, with Mario and Adrian, they made a decision they thought would help them professionally and decided to come out early,” Rodriguez said. “We wish them well and that’s all I have to say about that.”

As for Mallett, Rodriguez declined to give many details. But when pressed on the freshman’s status, he replied: “I don’t care. He’s not playing for Michigan. I’m concerned with who’s playing for Michigan.”

My, oh my. What a doll. A match made in Ann Arbor, indeed.

Munir Prince to Mizzou

January 8th, 2008 by John

It’s been rumored for weeks, and now it’s being reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, with confirmation from his former high school coach:

There will be three DeSmet Spartans heading west to play football at Missouri in the near future.

Wide receiver Wes Kemp verbally committed to Mizzou and defensive back Munir Prince will transfer there from Notre Dame, joining cornerback Robert Steeples, who verbally committed to the Tigers several months ago.

DeSmet coach Pat Mahoney confirmed that Prince is transferring to Missouri after two seasons at Notre Dame, where he played running back and then cornerback. Prince is expected to play defensive back for the Tigers and, after sitting out next year, will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Prince played in 10 games at Notre Dame this fall and registered three tackles and one pass break-up.

Prince, Kemp and Steeples were teammates on the Spartans’ Missouri Class 6 championship team in 2005.

Best of luck to Munir. Hopefully he gets a chance to see the field more than he did at ND.