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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Thoros of Beer, Feb 3, 2016.
that is a surprising time
Good times for most although it might take away the last chance hainsey had at playing tackle.in the nfl, think he is a guard anyways in the pros but still
He shouldn’t have said it but he’s right.
Is there a video or are the media actually there? Nevermind saw the video.
I asked some sources about early contributors this year from the freshmen class at Notre Dame and two names were unanimous:
Blake Fisher and Lorenzo Styles Jr.
Asked for a sleeper, someone who could earn more playing time than most would expect or someone that is more ready today than others in the class, and Philip Riley was the name I was told to watch.
Just wanted to pass that along.
There’s like 13 of 27 on campus and the ones to watch are the 3 highest rated of the 13
it's absolutely mind boggling to me but there are some people who are actually complaining/worried that Blake is getting first team reps because he's a true Frosh early enrollee...i mean seriously, no matter what the coaches do, someone has to complain about it
5* frosh can't get playing time so the coaches are idiots because they aren't trying to utilize the best talent and only care about experience
5* frosh gets early reps, our depth sux so we have to put in a frosh
the idiocy of fans is mind numbing
Robert Hainsey started as a true freshman at RT right?
he did and he played quite well as Frosh. Him and Kraemer rotated at RT
Ideally, the line to me should be L to R
Patterson or Baker/ Blake rotating with Kristofic/ Correl / Lugg / Patterson or Baker
I think Quinn Carroll could rotate also at either G spot and Kristofic is also the backup center to Correl
Especially when this kid is a mammoth who moves well.
watching the highlights from these practices, I think the thing that sticks out to me the most is that Coan looks so calm in the pocket when he throws the football. He doesn't look "scared" like Book did and it's refreshing to see. Outside of the Clemson/BC/UNC stretch, Book was looking to escape at every opportunity.
Its probably older fans that don't realize these kids come in at a better college ready shape than 20 years ago. Add to it the fact that many of these kids had 8 months to train and get in shape, and here we are. I would love it if Spindler saw some reps too, and the young WRs goes without mentioning.
I’m reading an article on Tremble and I’m going to miss that guy. Having someone that dedicated to blocking was a treat to watch.
QB coaching. In case a pillow is ever thrown at you.
I'm glad their throwing him in. Throw them all in. It's spring ball. Let's see what we have
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Ah, the smell of spring practice. Or is that the distinct scent of NFL Draft overanalysis? Regardless, it’s good to have actual (kind of) football to discuss in the Notre Dame mailbag again, with the Irish a week into spring ball and pro day now in the rearview mirror, even if the actual draft remains a month away.
Based on the questions this week, you’re up for a change of topic as Notre Dame gets into what’s next, both in terms of this season and how last year’s team projects to the next level. Of course, you also wanted to know which adult beverage personified each Notre Dame coach after tagging Brian Kelly with an Old Fashioned. You also wanted to know who’d win a scrimmage between Tommy Rees and Marcus Freeman if Rees built an offense of strictly defensive players and Freeman built a defense of offensive players.
Spoiler alert: Kyle Hamilton would be unguardable at receiver, even for cornerbacks Kyren Williams and Chris Tyree.
But enough hypothetical football. Let’s get to the real stuff.
Can you give us some analysis on how Jack Coan, Drew Pyne and Tyler Buchner looked at practice? What stood out to me in the few videos I saw was that Buchner looked more physically developed than I thought he’d be at this point.
Oh, quarterback competitions. I’ve missed them so much. Endless content.
It’s been a while since Notre Dame has had a multi-level quarterback battle, where the races for both the starting job and the backup spot held this much interest. The gold standard for spring quarterback circuses remains the four-way drama among Jimmy Clausen, Zach Frazer, Demetrius Jones and Even Sharpley to replace Brady Quinn in the spring of 2007. It did not end well for Notre Dame. One transfer, one player quitting the team after a single start and a true freshman eventually winning the job during the worst season in modern Notre Dame football history. If you thought Brian Kelly’s 4-8 season was bad, it had nothing on Year Three under Charlie Weis.
It will be better this time.
Keep in mind we’ve seen about nine minutes of practice footage to date, tight shots picked out by Notre Dame. You would be foolish to read too much into three spring practices, which are the first practices at Notre Dame for Jack Coan and the first college practices of any kind for Tyler Buchner. It’s a good thing to have a little perspective about all this before jumping into any kind of take, hot or otherwise.
All three quarterbacks have shown something in highlights from the opening three practices. Each has shown some ability to get the ball deep, with Coan’s deep shot to Braden Lenzy for a 40-yard touchdown an encouraging sign on a couple of levels: Coan’s touch and Lenzy’s ability to make a play on the ball. Yes, it’s just a one-on-one period for receivers and defensive backs. There’s no pass rush. There’s nothing to read for Coan. But it’s a nice throw, a good spiral, an indefensible pass once Lenzy gets behind Lewis. Notre Dame didn’t have a lot of deep shots completed in stride last year. Overall, Coan’s game feels as advertised. He’s got enough arm strength to get the ball vertical and enough natural accuracy to hit the short stuff regularly. Among the three quarterbacks, Coan appears the throw the best ball.
No, this isn’t the second coming of Trevor Lawrence (the second coming of Trevor Lawrence would have turned pro instead of doing a graduate transfer). But Coan looks like a plus quarterback who can help Notre Dame get more out of its receiving options, assuming he’s got more to work with than Ian Book did.
But if Coan is what we expected, perhaps Pyne is more than we expected. Watching practice clips, the first observation is that Pyne works with the first-team offense in spots. Does that mean a ton? No. But Notre Dame has historically not given No. 1 reps to backup quarterbacks who aren’t in legitimate competitions for a job. To hear Brian Kelly tell it, Notre Dame expects Pyne to push Coan, at a minimum. This rollout by Pyne isn’t not a paragon of athleticism, but it’s a solid throw to Avery Davis that keeps the chains moving.
To me, the best scenario for Notre Dame is Coan winning the job and Pyne making such a jump this spring that he gets to a place similar to where Ian Book was going into his sophomore year. Book went 17 of 22 for 277 yards and one touchdown in that spring scrimmage after taking a redshirt his freshman season. It was enough to make you think there was something to Book, that he could eventually be part of the solution for Notre Dame. A similar performance from Pyne would be massive for the quarterback and the program considering Coan plans to be one-and-done at Notre Dame, meaning another quarterback competition may be coming next spring.
As for Buchner, he looks like a quarterback who should be in high school and hasn’t played in a competitive football game in more than a year. And that’s OK. Getting up to speed with Notre Dame’s offense will be a process for Buchner and an expected one, which is part of the reason why the staff brought in Coan in the first place. I’m interested to see how Buchner plays in the Blue-Gold Game on May 1 after a full spring practice, but a good freshman season for the four-star prospect is more about getting a few snaps and staying with the varsity this season rather than winning a job.
Which of Notre Dame’s draft prospects do you believe will surprise people and have a great NFL career?
Not sure Tommy Tremble qualifies as a surprise, but this is my mailbag and he remains my pick for the Notre Dame player whose NFL career turns out to be better than his college one. His testing numbers at pro day would have ranked him just behind Cole Kmet in the overall tight end rankings from last year’s NFL Combine. Compared to last year’s tight ends at the combine, Tremble would have finished second in the 40-yard dash (4.59), second in the vertical jump (36.5 inches), third in the broad jump (10 feet, 2 inches) and sixth in the bench press (20 reps).
When I wrote about Tremble’s path to pro day earlier this week, I included a reference to George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers. During NBC’s broadcast of Notre Dame’s pro day, Chris Simms of NBC made a similar comparison. That might sound heady considering Kittle is a two-time Pro Bowler, but it’s worth remembering that he was a fifth-round pick before becoming one of the game’s best at his position. Could Tremble do something similar? That’s a heck of an ask, but the former three-star prospect has a chance to be that kind of surprise.
Bo Bauer and Paul Moala both mentioned playing freer this spring. Was Clark Lea’s defense just that complicated or is it Marcus Freeman’s philosophy on how he maximizes the talent around him? Also is it possible the offense can adopt a similar approach?
You’ve got a lot there, Nathan.
Those comments from Bauer and Moala were not a surprise after talking to people around the Gug about the transition from Lea to Freeman, even before the comments were made. Lea put a lot on the linebackers to read before the snap and after it because he believed the position could handle it. And if you watched Notre Dame’s defense the past three years, Lea was obviously correct. Would a simpler defense have made it easier for younger players like Marist Liufau, Jack Kiser and Shayne Simon to do more earlier in their careers? Maybe, but Notre Dame’s defense was so good and so adjustable during games that any criticism of Lea’s schemes misses the mark. A fast and free defense might be more fun to play in than Lea’s read-and-react scheme. Also fun: Making the College Football Playoff.
As for Freeman, his approach isn’t simple as much as it’s digestible for the players playing it. If you listened to his full podcast appearance on Make Defense Great Again (yes, that’s the real name of a podcast, and somehow it booked Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator), how Freeman schemes defense is not simple at all. There is a lot there, it’s just taught incredibly well based on his results at Cincinnati. And as a Group of 5 assistant coach pointed out to me last weekend on this subject, if your scheme feels complicated on Day 1 of spring practice, you’re probably already lost. Comparing the complexity of a scheme taught over 38 games to a scheme yet to see its first live action at Notre Dame probably doesn’t make a lot of sense when you take a step back.
As for Notre Dame’s offense taking a page from Freeman’s approach, that doesn’t add up. Where Brian Kelly and Tommy Rees can take the offense next is not a place where Notre Dame runs simple schemes with simple playbooks from simple personnel sets. Last weekend Kelly talked about getting the Irish to a place where they can run four-wide personnel sets as effectively as three-tight-end sets. That’s not simple. That’s complicated. And for opposing defensive coordinators, whether that’s Lea or Freeman, that complexity represents a major pain.
The Athletic ranked Brian Kelly as a Top 3 coach in college football, but would you rank the Notre Dame head coaching position as a Top 3 job? After taking everything into account (salary, national exposure, recruiting operation, facilities, access to university resources, etc.), it seems more Top 10, maybe Top 5. But I don’t know if I could put the Notre Dame job in the Top 3.
Interesting way to look at what Notre Dame is under Brian Kelly. I basically agree with you.
For those that missed it, Stew Mandel and Bruce Feldman ranked Kelly as the No. 3 coach in college football behind Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney, in that order. Feldman followed Kelly with Lincoln Riley, James Franklin, Jimbo Fisher, Ed Orgeron, Ryan Day, Matt Campbell and Kirby Smart to make up his top 10. Mandel filled out his top 10 with Riley, Day, Smart, Fisher, Orgeron, Dan Mullen and Campbell.
Really, you’re asking for an objective answer to a subjective question because what’s a top-five job? What’s a top-10 job? If the most important factor to a job being good is the support of the university combined with some level of tradition at your back, Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia would make up the top four. They have it all, plus recruiting bases with established borders in place. After that group, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, LSU, Texas and USC jump out in some order, but it’s hard to rank them. What tradition do you want? What university support do you need? What kind of challenge do you want to take on? It’s not hard to argue for Notre Dame in the No. 5 spot above Texas, USC, LSU and Oklahoma. But I could understand the counterargument for those other four, as well. Considering the barriers to winning at those other four programs, it’s quite easy to knock Notre Dame down the list.
Here’s what’s not subjective. Notre Dame is one of five programs to make the College Football Playoff twice, joining Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma. Is Notre Dame the perfect job? No. But it’s not hard to rank it fifth nationally, which is really a compliment to Brian Kelly for overachieving here considering the success of the past four years. And for every spot Notre Dame drops on the “best jobs” list, that compliment of Kelly only increases.
Whenever a new coach comes in there’s the question of whether the coach forces the existing players to play his system or if he adapts his system to the skill set of the existing players. How does this work with Marcus Freeman? I’m nervous about Notre Dame’s secondary playing a lot of man against USC and North Carolina.
Probably a better question for September, but one that’s interesting right now.
There’s no question Freeman’s ideal scheme from Cincinnati would put Notre Dame’s defensive backs in a lot of man coverages. But that assumes the Irish have the secondary to actually play that scheme. I’m not so sure about that, considering Notre Dame is currently working a converted receiver as the replacement for Nick McCloud in the starting lineup. The defensive backfield was not well-recruited in the senior, junior and sophomore classes overall. Kyle Hamilton and Clarence Lewis are exceptions for different reasons, but it’s hard to point to that group and pick out many other success stories. Getting two cornerbacks total in the senior and junior classes is poor roster construction for a developmental program. Safety may run into a similar problem next year with a roster clear-out.
As for how Freeman assesses the situation, he’s not going to play exclusively man coverage if the Irish defensive backs can’t handle it against higher-end competition. Getting where Notre Dame wants to go under Freeman will require at least a couple of surprises in the secondary this season, whether that’s finding another Lewis in the freshman class or taking another graduate transfer. Spring practice probably won’t tell us how Notre Dame feels about its secondary. But training camp might.
What is your early spring ceiling/floor for this team? And what would those best/worst case scenarios entail?
The best-case scenario is the same as last season, right? A charmed run through the regular season that puts the Irish back into the College Football Playoff. What would it take to get there? This feels like a heavy lift considering what’s coming back. Notre Dame would need the offensive line to be a significant surprise, Kevin Austin to stay healthy, Jordan Johnson to contribute, the secondary to hold up and a pass rush to come from Isaiah Foskey and/or Jordan Botelho. That’s all on top of the roster staying healthy in a way the Irish managed last season.
To me, the floor for this team should be a 9-3 regular season. There’s not a game like Georgia, Clemson or Ohio State on the schedule where Notre Dame will be at a clear talent disadvantage. But there’s enough tricky spots where the Irish could slip on the road (Florida State, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Wisconsin) or get pushed at home (North Carolina, Cincinnati, USC). Yes, Notre Dame will probably be favored in every game it plays. But at some point the Irish will get upset by an unranked team (against whom they have 32 consecutive wins) or fall at home (where they have 24 consecutive wins). Could both happen this year? Doubt it.
My wife and I cannot thank you enough for putting us on the Ted Lasso train. Season 2 cannot come soon enough. What are your new binge-worthy series and why? P.S. I’d take a “Pint with Pete” over “Biscuits with the Boss” anyway of the week.
I just started Schitt’s Creek and will be wrapping up the first season next week. Definitely not the universal appeal of Ted Lasso, but some pretty hilarious side characters. I’ve heard good things about Your Honor on Showtime from Shamrock co-host Matt Fortuna. And somehow, I’ve yet to watch Succession on HBO.
Funny you should mention Ted Lasso here, because he’s been on my mind a lot lately. Next month I start coaching my first-grade son’s flag football team. (Go Seahawks!) I have no experience whatsoever, other than knowing I want to run a multiple tight end offense. There will be a lot of talk about being a goldfish. We’ll be running Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Midnight Poutine and The Sandman. I realize none of these first-graders know who Ted Lasso is, but Coach Sampson will be passing along his knowledge to the next generation.
apparently Devon Jackson (lb recruit) ran a 10.58 100m and 6.98 60m this year already on the track...crazy impressive numbers for a LB
There's no spot for him though right?
Shit with that size and speed make him a SS
Gobaira went nuts last night in his game with multiple sacks and TFL
His full season status for 6 games according to Sinclair (I'm guessing TFL did not include sacks):
Just heard back from Aiden Gobaira’s defensive line coach.
Gobaira’s stats through his shortened season:
63 total tackles
11.5 tackles for loss
lol those are video game numbers
Averaging 10 tackles per game as an end is insane. Even for high school. Offenses have the option of completely going the other direction and he's getting 10 tackles per game. That's MLB numbers.
Adding on, that's almost four havoc plays per game, as well. Against any level of competition that's nuts.
What? No chance to get one pick six or scoop and score per game? Slacker. No wonder he's a three star.
what's funny is that if I saw those numbers at the beginning of a highlight tape I would have totally thought they were made up except we got to see highlights every week from his season and those numbers add up to what we saw...he was absolutely ridiculous this year
KAR is transferring, which is a good sign for those in the class below him.
Probably would’ve seen him transfer earlier if we had full spring ball last year, honestly.
KAR? Sorry. I'm braindead this week and don't know who this is.
Leaving as a sophomore is stupid, make it two more semesters get the degree then leave
Decent article, glad to see he is going to change up the staff, his former player yes men didn't work at all.
Brey said all the right things
Loy and Singer both tossed in a crystal ball for Darren Agu. Loy said it’s basically a race now between him and Wesolak, whoever commits first. Loy is confident ND leads for Agu
Freeman is an animal
I mean does ND need this kid?
Loy said he is going to be re-ranked as a DE and will be a 4 star for sure. He has an offer from just about everyone
He was the best player at a camp recently with very good prospects and got offers from everyone, I'd take him in a sec
EDIT: apparently there were not many good prospects at the camp but he is still blowing up with major programs
Wiltfong with the crystal ball as well. He must be a silent already
The Agu kid is from the UK right?
damn really like Wesolak should I be happy it’s him over DJ?
At this point I trust Elston and Loy did not shut the door on getting both of them but I doubt that is feasible.
The upside on the kid is off the charts. All for it.
This offensive line looks like doo doo
Anthony Lucas update
Here’s the latest on a top Notre Dame target.
There may not be a more coveted prospect on the Fighting Irish recruiting board than Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral four-star defensive tackle Anthony Lucas. Everyone that watches the 6-5, 279-pounder knows that he has potential to land himself in the first round of the NFL Draft in a few years. There is a reason he has every top offer across the country and why he’s No. 1 on just about everyone’s board at the defensive tackle position.
From what we’re told, Irish Illustrated strongly believes Lucas will take an official visit to Notre Dame in June. The expectation is that he’s on campus over the weekend of June 11-13. It would be a great opportunity for the Irish to make a big move and land 247Sports’ No. 26 overall talent in America and No. 3 player at his position. If Lucas and his family are able to make it to South Bend that weekend for an official visit, look for Notre Dame to lay out the red carpet, which will naturally be led by defensive line coach Mike Elston and defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman.
Notre Dame is definitely in play, but there is some uncertainly regarding where he’s leaning. No question the Irish will have a shot, but there is a lot of optimism from the likes of Alabama, Texas A&M and even a few others. It seems like there isn’t one true team to beat at this time and visits will play a big factor in seeing where he eventually lands. Right now, there aren’t any 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, so we’ll see how things play out in the coming months.
As a junior, Lucas racked up 46 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and 7 sacks. That came after he had 6 sacks as a sophomore. A big senior season is expected from the All-American defensive standout.
i love Wesolak but if he's not ready to go, i'd be more than happy with Agu. Agu has been playing football for 1 year (and that was during the Covid season where everything was a mess). His potential is through the roof but I do agree that his floor is lower as well. His film is pretty darn impressive for someone who's only played 1 year and yes, I believe he is a silent as well. He has a laser timed 4.7 at 6'6 230 lbs apparently.
Sinclair's article was pretty good for background info
For the vast majority of college prospects with 31 scholarship offers ranging from Alabama to Miami to Penn State, from a young age, they grew up watching their in-state college football team on Saturdays. And through high school, they watched those matchups after competing in their own football games the previous night.
They grew up in football-rich America around football-frenzied Americans.
That wasn’t the case for Darren Agu who was offered by the Fighting Irish late last week. Before enrolling in a private school in Georgia last year, his upbringing was far outside the norm for a Power Five prospect, according to Rabun Gap-Nacoochee head coach Joe Sturdivant.
“He was actually born in Ireland. So, for Notre Dame to be recruiting him, they’d be getting a native Irishman,” Sturdivant said. “That would be pretty awesome.
“He was born in Ireland and moved over to London as a child.”
The International Head Coach
Sturdivant has a compelling resume in the game. After starring at his father’s alma mater in SMU, he kicked off the football program at IMG Academy where he served as assistant head coach alongside former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke.
He also coached at Trinity Catholic in Ocala, Florida – the program that produced Notre Dame freshman offensive tackle Caleb Johnson. And before arriving at Rabun Gap-Nacoochie, he served as the head coach of the Saarland Hurricanes in the professional football league in Germany – the GFL.
This European experience eventually connected coach Sturdivant to Darren Agu.
“I had been coaching over there, and so, I got the job here at Rabun Gap (Nacoochee). We’re an international boarding school. So, we are a perfect destination for international students and student-athletes to study in the U.S.,” Sturdivant said. “I already knew, kind of, about (Agu) when I was in Europe.
“When I got the job here, I reached out to him and said, ‘I think you have Division I potential to be a great football player, but I need you to know you want to be a great high school football player. You can’t skip the steps. And if you really want to play college football, you really need to come and prove that you’re a great high school football player first.’
“He took that opportunity. He came to Rabun Gap which is in the state of Georgia which plays incredible football. But we also play in a private school league in North Carolina. So, we’re playing against some really good competition. And it’s just a great opportunity for him to come and get a great education and at the same time, learn about the U.S., and play some great football.”
Last season, Agu and the Eagles defeated Providence Day in the playoffs, the program that produced Notre Dame rising junior linebacker Osi Ekwonu, before ending the campaign with a narrow loss (27-21) to Charlotte Catholic – one of North Carolina’s top programs. (Good competition, indeed).
From 6-man to 11-man
Upon arrival, Sturdivant expected a steep learning curve for Agu who was champing at the bit to carve out a significant role straight out of the gate.
Sturdivant worked to tamp down those expectations. But he quickly learned that Agu was a quick study on both sides of the ball. And at 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, he certainly had the ability to handle the physicality in front of him.
“This was his first year playing 11-man football,” Sturdivant said. “He had been playing six-man football for about a year. And so, he comes over here to start playing 11-man football, and he’s a big ol’ kid who can move and can run.
“He said, ‘Coach, what do I got to do to earn a scholarship?’ I was like, ‘You need to show people you can block. That’s the first step.’ He’s like, ‘Well, I also want to play defensive end.’ I said, ‘Nope, the team needs you at tight end. Show us you can block and you’ll get your shot at defensive end.’ Of course, he did incredible at both of those and ended up being a heck of a player for us this year.
“With no shoes on, he’s 6-6. I think he doesn’t like telling people he’s that tall, but he’s a big ol’ tall dude. He’s all of 6-6. That’s official measurement, so he’s, like, 6-7 with cleats on.”
Agu picked up an early offer from Akron in late August of 2020. By early-November, just before the Eagles hit the playoffs, the budding defensive end recruit had added Coastal Carolina, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia to his list.
While it’s true that Agu’s game is unrefined as he continues to adapt to American football, his high-quality physical tools and rapid acclimation to the prep school game were enough pull in offers hand over fist before his first year of high school ball was complete.
“One, he’s an incredibly gifted young man. Very good athlete. Okay? He runs like a deer, he’s long. He’s a very good athlete,” Sturdivant said. “But the number-one thing about him is he’s so coachable. We’re very technically sound. We don’t let anything slip. We want to be technically sound football players. And he bought into that.
“He learned, fast-tracked his technique extremely fast. Probably the best part about him is, yes, he’s a very smart young man but he’s also very coachable on and off the field. Great student. He’s just a guy who really likes to learn and he really likes the game. So, it’s very easy to coach him up on both sides of the ball.”
What comes next?
While Agu is listed as a tight end with most recruiting services, and he’s being recruited as such by some programs, it’s the defensive side of the ball where Sturdivant has him pegged to shine at the next level.
“I think he’s going to be a college defensive end – outside linebacker-type kid,” Sturdivant said. “I think that’s where most teams are recruiting him as…Jordan Lewis has led the country (FCS) in sacks last year, and this year, I think he is again…He’s destroying it. He played for me also in the same role that Darren did.
“I see Darren doing the same thing at the BCS level. You’ve got sprinter speed off the edge, but also, he’s so twitchy and strong. He’s a really strong kid. Everyone showed up August 2 in the middle of Covid-19 happening, playing a football season, limited workouts. And so, what you saw was very limited in terms of what we could produce from him.
“Now, he’s had an entire year in the weight room. With the time to develop him, man, he’s going to be really good next year.”
By the end of last month, following the offers he added during his junior season, Agu had added Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Colorado, Duke, East Carolina, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Penn State, Rutgers, South Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Virginia to his list.
And despite playing just one season of high school football after arriving in America just last year, Agu picked up an offer from Alabama last Thursday and from Notre Dame on Friday.
“There’s always a big risk involved. I always tell my players, if coaches can’t put eyes on you, it’s really hard to invest a scholarship when they can’t watch you, watch you move. So, we went down to a camp.
“He’s gone against a bunch of other Division I kids, and especially at tight end, he put a bunch of kids on ice skates, (laughs), and drove them straight down the field on power. At defensive end, he can run by guys. I think he looks the part. At the last camp he went to, he won the Camp MVP. He’s just a natural competitor, always wants to work. So, I think he’s going to do extremely well when there’s other kids like him that he can bounce off of.
“I assumed at some point Notre Dame and Alabama would be coming to him. He just has that body type. Extremely gifted athlete, the length, everything that you’re looking for to play at that Power Five level. So, I assumed they were going to come…It’s very exciting.”
Given coach Sturdivant’s history in the game, he understands what Notre Dame offers, and the types of student-athletes who thrive in that environment. And he believes Agu fits that box.
“I think (Notre Dame offering Agu is) a really big deal. You get a Top 10 education. You get a Top 10 football program. What else can you ask for? It’s an incredible opportunity,” Sturdivant said. “Plus the history behind the program. Incredible coaching staff.
“My best friend and one of my former teammates playing in Europe played for coach (Brian) Kelly when he won three national championships at Grand Valley State. I already have a good understanding of what it’s like playing for him. I just think it’s a very big deal. Usually, when a school like Notre Dame calls, you just call them back and say, ‘Yes!’ (laughs).
“I just think it’s a great opportunity not for the next four to five years but, really, for the rest of his life. When someone gives you such a valuable opportunity, you should cherish that and be very thankful.”
Notre Dame currently has two commitments at the defensive end position. But given the recent additions at that position in recent classes, the number of edge rushers running out of eligibility, and the losses of Daelin Hayes and Ade Ogundeji to the NFL Draft following several losses last off-season, the Irish need more talent at defensive end in the 2022 class.
Clearly, Notre Dame thinks Agu could help shore up the position. And it sounds like Notre Dame is a very appealing option to the European import.
Greg Biggins (247 West Coast guy who really knows his stuff) called Jaden Mickey's game over the weekend. He is very high on Jaden and he's going to get a ratings bump. I wouldn't be surprised if he's now a top 150 guy or higher.
I had a chance to check out Corona (Calif.) Centennial defensive back Jaden Mickey over the weekend and he was very impressive.
Mickey is one of the top cover corners in the national 2022 class. He’s currently rated the No. 220 prospect nationally in the Top247 and committed to Notre Dame back in mid-March.
After seeing him up close over the weekend, he’s definitely a stock up guy and really flashed multiple times in the game. He had an interception on a deep ball on the Huskies first defensive play of the game and impressed throughout.
At nearly 6-0, 180 pounds, Mickey has grown over the last year and is starting to fill out more. He has improved his quickness and was explosive breaking on the football.
He had another near interception that would have been a pick-6 where he jumped a quick wide receiver screen but couldn’t haul it in. He was also physical in the run game as he always is and played with with his customary edge and toughness.
It’s rare to see a young corner who’s comfortable playing in press or man coverage, doesn’t need to grab or hold a lot, can be physical in the run game and shows the ball skills and ball awareness to make a play on the football. That’s where Mickey’s game is at right now and when you throw in his competitive nature and extremely high football IQ and it’s easy to see his game has made a nice jump over the last year.
Even more impressive, Mickey came in to the game a little banged up and didn’t return punts or kicks like he has done previously. He took a punt back for a touchdown two weeks ago and shows the skill set to be an impact receiver for Centennial over the next year.
As he continues to fill out, adds some good weight and also improves athletically, Mickey is a player we think has a chance to be an immediate impact player once he hits South Bend in a year.
Not great bob. But on any good team the o lags behind the d and then catches up later so we will se.
especially this year when we basically have a brand new oline right now playing in spring