Archive for the ‘News and Notes’ Category

Milton Knox …

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

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

ND NSD Liveblog

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

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!

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

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

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.

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.

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.

Haywood staying at ND … for now.

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Per ESPN, Notre Dame offensive coordinator and running backs coach Mike Haywood will NOT be the next head coach at the University of Houston:

Houston has hired Oklahoma Sooners co-offensive coordinator Kevin Sumlin as its head coach, a person told of the decision said Thursday morning.

Sumlin would replace Art Briles, who resigned Nov. 28 to take the top job at Baylor.

Sumlin has been Oklahoma’s co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach for the past two seasons, after three seasons as specials teams and tight ends coach.

Sumlin was assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for two years at Texas A&M; he also has coached at Purdue, Minnesota, Wyoming and Washington State.

Sumlin will be the eighth minority college football coach in the former Division I-A. Sumlin, 43, was a linebacker at Purdue from 1983 to 1986.

Other candidates considered by Houston included Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Haywood and former Houston coach Jack Pardee.

Condolences to Haywood, who grew up in Houston, for missing out on a job he was apparently very high on - I’m sure his time will come. For now, this is definitely good news for Irish fans, as Haywood is generally regarded as an excellent recruiter and has apparently been spoken of very highly by WR recruit Gerrell Robinson.

[UPDATE: The head coaching vacancy at Northern Illinois, where Haywood was also spoken of as a possible candidate, has apparently been filled as well, by Grand Valley State's Chuck Martin. The article notes, though, that Haywood "was contacted by NIU but took himself out of consideration" - so this isn't a case of his having been passed over.]

[ANOTHER UPDATE: Scratch that. SIU's Jerry Kill will be the new head man at Northern Illinois. Still not Haywood, though.]

Eff the AP

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

The 2007 Associated Press football All-America teams were announced on Tuesday, and guess what? Notre Dame’s Trevor Laws, who led the nation in tackles from the defensive line positions (and was the only defensive lineman ranked in the top 100, let alone the top 50), isn’t on the first team. No surprise there, though: that sort of honor doesn’t go to a relatively unknown player from a 3-9 football team, even if that team does happen to be Notre Dame. But most of us figured that his spectacular numbers and consistently solid performance on an undertalented defense would land him SOME sort of All-America status: and so what’s genuinely shocking is that Trevor is NOWHERE to be found on ANY of the three All-America teams.

[UPDATE: He's also not a first- or second-teamer, nor is he even one of the NINE defensive linemen who receives an honorable mention, on the Sports Illustrated AA list. So eff them, too.]

To give you a sense of the craziness of this, here’s a comparison of Laws’s 2007 statistics with the players who made the AP’s AA squads over him - I’ve included both defensive ends and defensive tackles (first-teamers in yellow, seconds in green, thirds in blue), since Laws played a sort of “tweener” role in the 3-4:

So there you have it folks. If the fiasco of last year’s Heisman “race” wasn’t enough for you, here’s some hard evidence that postseason awards are MEANINGLESS indicators of the quality of one’s on-the-field play.

Lest I be accused of being just another whiny homer making a case for his own guy, let me be clear that I felt very much the same way - and seem to recall saying as much - when Tom Zbikowski was named a second-team All-American after the 2006 season. That was all about hype and name recognition, and had basically nothing to do with what Zibby had and (mostly) hadn’t done on the football field that year. Is the snubbing of Laws a matter of just desserts for the overexposure of Notre Dame football in years past? Maybe. But it’s really a shame to see a season like the one that Trevor had this year go so wholly unnoticed on the national scene, ESPECIALLY given the less-than-ideal circumstances (you know, 3-9 record, historically awful offensive ineptitude, and so on) that surrounded it.

Congratulations to all the guys who made the AA teams. Obviously they had really good seasons, and deserved some serious recognition. It’s just a shame that Laws wasn’t able to get his due.

Great Dayne

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Sorry for the cheesy title. Just thought I’d pass along the news that Irish commit Dayne Crist has been named one of five finalists for the 2008 U.S. Army Player of the Year award:

The U.S. Army Player of the Year award is given to the nation’s most outstanding senior in high school football.

The U.S. Army Player of the Year will be crowned during the U.S. Army Awards Dinner on Friday, January 4, 2008, in San Antonio. The winner will be presented with the Ken Hall Trophy, modeled after Ken Hall, high school football’s all-time leading rusher.

Crist was 134 of 232 passing for 2,178 yards, 16 touchdowns, and one interception in ten games this year before having to miss his team’s last game of the season with a concussion.

A good head on his shoulders

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

From a Chicago Sun-Times article on 2008 DL commit and Illinois Mr. Football Sean Cwynar, who will be enrolling early at Notre Dame this coming January:

[Cwynar] carries a 4.2 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale and ranks No. 25 in his class.

Sheesh. Most of football players I knew in high school would have been lucky to pull in a 2.4. Where does ND find these kids?

The article also mentions that linebacker commits Darius Fleming and Steve Filer were named with Cwynar to the Illinois All-State team. Congratulations to all three of them!