Archive for January, 2008

Another one down

Monday, January 28th, 2008

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.

Friday, January 25th, 2008

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.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

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.

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

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

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

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

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

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

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

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.

Deion Walker is Irish!!

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

Wide receiver Deion Walker of Christchurch, Virginia announced his verbal commitment to Notre Dame during the Under Armour All-American Bowl this Saturday afternoon. Walker had long been rumored to be a silent verbal or at least a strong Irish lean, and this weekend’s announcement made it all public:

The value of Notre Dame’s academics is excellent, and I have developed a strong relationship with Charlie Weis. He is just a cool guy and really put in a lot of effort calling and recruiting me personally.

Walker is rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals, who rank him as the #5 wide receiver and #35 player overall. Scout.com gives him five stars, the #40 overall ranking, and the #7 ranking among wide receiver prospects, and ESPN lists him #34 overall and #8 among wide receivers. He is regarded as a dynamic athlete, but will need to work on adding some strength before he is ready to play at the college level. He joins Mike Floyd and John Goodman as the third wide receiver and 22nd player overall in Notre Dame’s top-ranked recruiting class.

Welcome to the Notre Dame family, Deion!