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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Thoros of Beer, Feb 3, 2016.
This is a bloodbath
Baylor is huge
Another slow start
pretty incredible. this was a 17 point game not *that* long ago
Rushed the inbound pass then free throw and they lose.
damn. what a terrible way to end that magical run
The sheer volume of unforced errors keeps the women’s game interesting I guess. But that’s a tough sport to watch.
I dunno, the fourth quarter was pretty damn entertaining and I find a lot of the shooters more skillful in these elite women's teams then a lot of men's teams.
Would have actually have had some sympathy for Baylor losing when they looked to be in cruise control until their All American (probably) tore her ACL. That said, with 3 missed FTs in the final 5 mins, we had the chances and blew them.
It’s a lot easier to shoot from distance with a women’s ball because of its size.
Wonder if he'll get that 4th star back??
My first thought
Was lol at 247 making him a 3 star
is cody simon (shayne Simon's brother) someone we're going after?
Yes, should get him too
Julian Fleming is a beast. Crazy he’s that highly rated and lives so close to me. That kind of talent is rare around here. If he doesn’t go to PSU there was some serious money thrown at him.
Yes but they may not even take a linebacker this year
Don't know if this was discussed here but supposedly we stopped pursuing him due to how the wr's have looked this spring
this makes me happy
That's some old money shit
I'm honestly surprised it's not an auction piece you know the gold seater's wives would drive the price through the roof. Wouldn't be shocked if our Chicago friends buy it, she loves bedazzled shit and decorating with ND shit at their SB house.
Thats one of the ugliest things ive ever seen
Need to let one player a game wear this?
Put it on a chain. Suck it all you other chain idiots.
just let the defender who forced a TO wear it, or the guy who last scored a TD. or jsut destroy it
This is so garish Druce would only wear it a few times.
Notre Dame just wrapped up another big visit weekend that focused heavily on plenty of top targets from the class of 2020. The Fighting Irish were able to secure a huge commitment during that time when St. Louis (Mo.) DeSmet four-star wide receiver Jordan Johnson pulled the trigger.
There is also plenty of other scoop coming out of the weekend. Is good news on the way? How will things shake out during the Spring Game weekend?
Irish Illustrated and 247Sports brings Notre Dame fans the latest.
As always, this information needs to stay on IrishIllustrated.com. Taking this VIP information to other sites will result in a ban.
SLIDE1 of 12
On four-star defensive end Braiden McGregor …
I’m going to make one thing clear to cut to the chase — My 247Sports Crystal Ball is on Notre Dame and I still like it as of today. I believe that if it was National Signing Day, he’d pull the trigger for the Fighting Irish. The staff did a great job of showing him exactly how he fits into the program and where he’d stack up on the depth chart upon arrival. He’s a tremendous fit in the locker room, on this team and at the university. I think this comes down to how badly he wants a degree from Notre Dame. It’s not as easy to take on the challenges of being a student-athlete at Notre Dame compared to other schools. Everyone on campus associated with the program makes that clear to all recruits that visit. They don't shy away from it. It's what makes Notre Dame unique. If he’s up for the challenge and believes it’s worth it, in my opinion, he’ll pick Notre Dame. No question Michigan, Alabama and a few others are very, very much in play. We’ll have to see how things shake out, but Notre Dame has done all it can to this point to show how different it is from other schools and McGregor has said it himself that he can see that coming out of this visit.
SLIDE2 of 12
On four-star offensive lineman Andrew Gentry …
Notre Dame likes the young man a great deal. He’s a great kid, very personable, friendly and comes across as a Notre Dame student-athlete. The staff has no concerns with him if he wants to take the two-year mission trip either. They will gladly sign him and then wait. BYU is still going to be tough to beat here, but Notre Dame would have no major concerns if he wants in and in all reality, they welcome the fact that he’d arrive two years later. They want to see an animal on the field, a road grader, a “dog” mentality, and that is likely something that Gentry could eventually develop in those two years.
SLIDE3 of 12
On four-star cornerback Jalen Kimber …
He made an outstanding impression on the Fighting Irish coaching staff this weekend. The staff loves this young man. Notre Dame believes its very much in play and potentially the leader coming out of the trip. An interesting note is the closeness to his grandfather here, who happens to live in Chicago. He would love to see his star grandson play in person quite often and that helps the Fighting Irish here a great deal, much more so than the likes of Alabama or the Texas schools. I’m told Director of Performance Matt Balis made an incredible impression on the whole family and his growth and potential could be something that tips things in favor of the Irish as well.
SLIDE4 of 12
On four-star defensive lineman Rylie Mills …
Notre Dame believes it has done all it can to show Mills how great of a player he can be with the Fighting Irish football program. Out of respect to Wisconsin and Ohio State staffs, he made it clear early that he wants to take both visits and give them a shot to land him. Notre Dame is fine with all of that. The Irish likely lead here, but there is a little concern that Wisconsin is a bigger player here than most realize. They have recruited Illinois really well and that’s a factor. In the end, the feeling is he ends up at Notre Dame.
SLIDE5 of 12
On four-star cornerback Ryan Watts …
The Texas native really, really impressed the Notre Dame staff this weekend. Physically, the staff was blown away. He’s legitimately just under 6-3 and rocked up. That’s exactly what potential day one picks are supposed to look like at corner. There is still plenty of work to do and ideally for the staff, he returns for another visit before making a decision. However, the staff feels they did enough to at least be firmly in the discussion when he makes his commitment. I’m told his mother loved every minute of the trip and was never afraid of making it well-known that this was her favorite trip There are some at Notre Dame that feel Watts’ mother wants her son at Notre Dame over the local schools.
SLIDE6 of 12
On four-star offensive tackle Jimmy Christ …
After this visit, if Notre Dame could land Christ and Tosh Baker as the offensive tackles this cycle, they would be absolutely thrilled. The staff really enjoyed getting to know Christ more this weekend and multiple sources believe Notre Dame leads as of today. One source added that his mother made it very clear that she wants her son at Notre Dame and nowhere else. He’ll visit a few other schools, but the Irish look be in great shape as of today.
SLIDE7 of 12
On three-star safety Mordecai McDaniel …
Notre Dame liked him. He’s a terrific player and the staff believes he can be a difference-maker. The parents loved the visit, but the issue is, some feel they may have liked the trip even more than the recruit did. Come decision day, it’s more likely than not that he ends up elsewhere. Nothing is set either way, but there just wasn’t great vibes that he wants to be at Notre Dame.
SLIDE8 of 12
On three-star cornerback Landen Bartleson …
Nothing new to really report. He returned to campus and had another great time. He was vocal about being completely on board with playing cornerback at the next level. He is expected to return for his official visit in June and at that point, the feeling inside the Gug is that he could pull the trigger if Notre Dame is ready to accept his commitment. The staff has guys like Clark Phillips III and Jalen Kimber at the top of the board. How many corners do they want? Ryan Watts would be a take after getting to know him. It’ll be interesting to see how the recruitment of this position shakes out.
SLIDE9 of 12
On four-star linebacker Jordan Botelho …
Notre Dame is absolutely fired up about his visit for the spring game this weekend. I’m told dialogue between Botelho and the Irish staff has been outstanding. Notre Dame truly believes it could shock a lot of people and land him. His mother loves special teams coordinator Brain Polian and after talking to multiple people, she trusts him a great deal. I’ve been told that she is already pushing for her son to end up with the Fighting Irish and they haven’t even stepped foot on campus yet. There are a lot of people around Botelho that want to see him end up in South Bend. If all goes well this weekend, look out.
SLIDE10 of 12
On four-star wide receiver Jalen McMillan …
Notre Dame is very, very excited about McMillan’s multi-day visit over spring game weekend. He’ll be in town for somewhere from three-to-five days. His coach will be with him, as he has a daughter that attends the school. He will receive the five-star treatment. He likely won’t be ready to make any type of decision until his set commitment date in December, but the Fighting Irish believe they can leave a great impression this weekend. Notre Dame believes he’s a day one pick down the road and will recruit him as such.
SLIDE11 of 12
On four-star offensive lineman Zak Zinter …
He’s expected back on campus this weekend for the spring game barring a last second change of plans. Notre Dame likes him and believes he can play multiple positions. However, the belief is that he’ll end up as an interior guy. Notre Dame will have some tough choices to make. Would they accept a commitment? Do they wait for four-star offensive guard Peter Skoronski? Things could get interesting if all goes well and Zinter wants to join the class this early.
SLIDE12 of 12
On three-star wide receiver Xavier Watts …
Notre Dame will get another crack at him this weekend and is ready to make an impression. The staff loves this young man and is already recruiting him like a top of the board target. Ignore the ranking here. The Irish see him as a Top100 prospect. He’s a definite take. Nebraska is a huge contender here, but don’t give up on the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame has done a great job so far and is major threat to land him.
coach D defensive practice report
Notre Dame Practice Report: April 9 - Defense
Bryan Driskell • BlueAndGold.com
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Photo by Angela Driskell
Notre Dame held its 13th and final open practice of the spring inside the Loftus Center this morning. It was the conclusion of what has been a productive spring for the Fighting Irish program.
We kick off the breakdown of today’s practice by looking at the defense.
* Sophomore nose tackle Ja’Mion Franklin and freshman Hunter Spears remained limited and spent much of the practice with the strength staff, which is what injured players do. Today, however, was the first time we saw Franklin and Spears going through individual drills, and both actually had some contact during the individual period, although not nearly at full speed. That is certainly a positive sign in regards to getting both healthy for the fall.
* Freshman rover Jack Kiser and junior linebacker Jack White both remain out.
* Fifth-year senior Shaun Crawford and senior cornerback Donte Vaughn remained out of contact and out of drills, but both were in pads and spent more time with the defense than they did the strength staff.
Today’s battle between the lines was essentially a draw. The offensive line did a good job in pass protection for most of the day, but the defense limited the effectiveness of the run game, especially the between-the-tackles run game.
Part of that success had to do with improved play from junior defensive tackle Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa. Silent for much of the spring, Tagovailoa-Amosa hasn’t exactly struggled in previous practices, he just hasn’t made many plays. This is his second quality practice out of the last three, and his aggressiveness and fight today played a key role in the lack of success for the run game by the offense.
Tagovailoa-Amosa did well in team and during the 3on3 periods, getting penetration up the field, using his hands to keep blockers off his body and he did a better job using his hands to get off blocks and to disrupt the offense.
Sophomore Jayson Ademilola and freshman Jacob Lacey also had solid days, continuing their strong finish to the spring. Lacey hit a brief wall late in the spring period but has bounced back with two quality practices. We saw again today that there is still room for work when it comes to his hand play, but we also saw his strength, leg drive and ability to get a push.
Senior end Ade Ogundeji had a quality day, getting a good push at times in the run game, but unlike past practices he had a harder time getting around the edge in the pass game due to the strong performance of the Irish offensive tackles.
Junior Kofi Wardlow flashed a few times today. I didn’t focus on him during the practice and spend much of the day watching the linebackers and secondary players, but Wardlow was around the ball a lot when working with the second defense.
Senior end Khalid Kareem didn’t go through any competitive periods and the snaps for classmate Julian Okwara were also limited.
Fifth-year senior Asmar Bilal and junior Jordan Genmark Heath got most of the first team action today during period and normal down situations. Sophomore Jack Lamb worked with the second group but got more time working with the first group during nickel and pass situations.
Mike linebacker Asmar Bilal had his most productive day of the spring, making a number of good reads and plays in the run game, and handling himself well in the pass game. Bilal was the most decisive I’ve seen him this spring. Two snaps were an example of this.
One on particular inside run, Bilal read his key and initially stepped to his right, but he read the run, slid over to his left and attacked the proper gap to blow up the play. On another snap he shuffled, immediately diagnosed the run and attacked downhill, meeting the ball carrier at the line of scrimmage. Bilal also showed improved angles when attacking the running back off tackle or on the perimeter.
Bilal got good depth in his pass drops and I didn’t notice him turning anyone loose or getting beat up the seam today, which is something that has plagued him in past practices. Certainly a good way for the veteran to end his spring.
I also didn’t see any noticeable big errors for Jordan Genmark Heath, who like Bilal was aggressive and attacking downhill against the run game. With the tackles eating up blocks the linebackers – Bilal and Genmark Heath – were able to attack downhill and be aggressive. Genmark Heath made quick reads and spent a lot of time around the ball near the line.
Genmark Heath got beat a couple of times to the perimeter in the pass game, but he was in good position to make tackles after the catch.
Sophomore Jack Lamb showed off speed and athleticism today, and he was impressive during 1on1s and 7on7 periods. Lamb got depth in his drops, he ran step for step with tight ends up the seam and flew to the perimeter against out-breaking routes.
Where Lamb struggled today was during team periods. He was fast to the perimeter but on multiple occasions he was incorrect picking up the back, and DC Clark Lea got on him about that with a bit more volume than we are used to seeing from the Irish coordinator. Lamb has shown off the athletic skills and the power all spring, but the last few practices have shown there are still things he must clean up from an assignment standpoint, which is always the last step for a young, talented player.
I thought sophomore Shayne Simon – who continued to line up at Mike linebacker – had another quality practice. Simon struggled for much of the spring, but the last 3-4 practices have been his best, and today was one of his most productive. He played with more confidence in his assignments, which allowed him to flow harder to the ball. Simon still made mistakes – as all the young linebackers are doing – but his aggressiveness was a welcome sign.
Simon had a tackles for loss on an early team run, flowing to the ball and then attacking his gap to get into the backfield. He was more decisive in coverage today as well.
Today was the first time I’ve seen sophomore Bo Bauer make plays. He had a couple of strong fills during team periods, but I didn’t see him much in the pass game.
At rover, junior Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah had two of the more impressive plays of the practice, and both showed off his outstanding athleticism. Owusu-Koramoah ran step for step with senior wideout Chris Finke on a corner route, forcing an incompletion. That is something the safeties haven’t been able to do all spring.
Later in practice he came off the edge on a blitz and quickly recognized that Ian Book was throwing a hot pass behind him, so Owusu-Koramoah quickly leaped off the ground and battled down the ball.
Sophomore rover Paul Moala has been up-and-down since moving to the position, and today was one of his up days. Moala was active getting to the perimeter in the pass game, was in good position to take away short throws and had a play where he could have crushed an Irish receiver on a crossing route if the wideout was wearing a different uniform.
Moala was good filling inside against the run game as well.
Today was the most action we’ve seen from senior Alohi Gilman, who got time during 1on1s and 7on7s today. Gilman looked quick, smooth and he made a number of plays on the ball. He jumped a deep throw and picked it off, and he had another breakup near the sideline. We didn’t see Gilman during team periods at all, but it was a positive to see him getting full-speed snaps during the pass periods, which is the part of his game that needs the most work.
Senior Jalen Elliott capped off what has been a strong spring with another good practice. He was good in coverage, took good angles against the run and is around the ball a lot.
Sophomore DJ Brown struggled in coverage today, but he finished practice off well coming down on quick throws and making plays near the line. But Brown struggled in coverage during 1on1s, 7on7s and team periods.
Brown doesn’t show good speed out of cuts and his footwork/technique still isn’t where it needs to be in regards to cleanly getting out of breaks. Brown also isn’t where he needs to be in regards to proper alignment and playing angles, but he is coming along.
Sophomore Derrik Allen is an interesting player to evaluate this spring. During drills you see the smooth athleticism that made me rank him so high. In every 7on7 or team period Allen is always near the ball and in position to make a lot of plays, but he’s just not finishing those plays off.
He reminds me a lot of Elliott from the 2017 season, when the Irish starter was constantly “almost” there but failed to make the plays. Eventually Elliott started making those plays, and that’s where Allen needs to take his game. He is clearly still thinking a lot, and it is creating hesitation, and when he hesitates he doesn’t make plays.
If he learns to just let loose and go play he’ll start making a lot more plays. He had chances to make 4-5 big plays on the ball today, but he would slow up right before he made a play, showing me that he wasn’t quite sure what to do. When he gets over that mental hump he’ll have to chance to be a legit playmaker in the pass game.
Senior cornerback Troy Pride Jr. won the battle against Chase Claypool today, which has been epic all spring. Pride played with some edge today, he was physical at the line and he closed off Claypool on a number of routes.
Sophomore TaRiq Bracy had a very good day in coverage. He broke up a post throw to Kevin Austin during 1on1s and was aggressive throughout the day. Bracy played with a lot of confidence in the pass game today, and the result was him being in good position to force incompletions or force the quarterback to look somewhere else.
Sophomore Houston Griffith had a bit of a bounce back day. Outside of getting pancaked by Chase Claypool in the run game, I thought he was active and productive. Griffith continued to shine on the perimeter in the run game, but he was better in the pass game. His footwork was crisp and he was patient at the line of scrimmage, which allowed him to make quick transitions when he opened up to run with receivers.
He forced an incompletion with good coverage on a post route against Michael Young, which was a positive sign.
Sophomore Noah Boykin was more comfortable and productive in coverage today and showed signs that he is getting closer to tapping into his potential. He was close in coverage, had a break up and his body language was much better than we’ve seen all spring.
When you read these practice reports everyone is always down on the sophomore skill guys on defense, I think people always forget how hard it is to play at an elite level right way in college. I'm really getting sick of listening to podcasts or reports bash kids like Boykin, Lamb, Griffith, Allen, Simon, Bracy, and Bauer because they haven't just automatically clicked and excelled. These kids were all red-shirted last year and received only practice team reps once the season started. Most are in their first fucking spring at ND as well. Its easy to forget they are 18 or 19 years old still and freshmen in college.
That's going to be a dynamic group, do not give up on them yet even if the Sampsons of the world do. Almost every good defensive skill player in modern ND history did not click until they were JR's or RS JRs. I think when we finish the 2020 season ND fans are going to love those kids, and then feel spoiled because most still have two years of eligibility remaining.
The Kev Russells and Jaylon Smiths are the exceptions not the rule for highly rated recruits
Notre Dame In The Mix For Top CB’s
VIP ByKEVIN SINCLAIR 52 minutes ago
(Photo: Matt Cashore, 247Sports)
It’ll be a challenge for Todd Lyght to close the deal with long-distance cornerbacks. But the top-of-the-board product is less of a question mark following recent visits.
When we’re talking top-tier corner talent, Clark Phillips III, Jalen Kimber, and Ryan Watts are the subjects. The pair out of Texas took their first Notre Dame visit on the weekend – an official visit for Watts, unofficial for Kimber – while Phillips III spent a few days in South Bend the week prior.
In that, questions and additional visits loom for this trio who hold 96 scholarship offers collectively. But with South Bend visits in the books, they’re no longer just exciting names on the board, but athletes we can plausibly gauge as potential Notre Dame student-athletes.
CLARK PHILLIPS III
After the potential five-star cornerback visited South Bend, several programs have increased the pace of their pursuit of Phillips III as concerns have grown around Notre Dame’s impactful unofficial visit recently, according to a source.
Even so, that same source stated that Notre Dame remains the school Phillips III is discussing most often while he nears 40 scholarship offers.
Notre Dame feels the Californian could have a Julian Love-like impact at the cornerback position, showing the same type of special instincts on the football field along with the athletic talent to make exciting things happen.
That’s why it was fitting that the Top 50-ranked recruit spent time with Love during his recent unofficial visit, watching a spring practice next to each other, comparing notes.
A return trip this summer for an official visit would be an ideal situation for Notre Dame. This is an athlete who could immediately battle for a starting job (especially in the nickel) with significant long-term potential on the perimeter.
For Phillips III’s post-visit interview with Tom Loy, click here.
A trip to Florida this weekend for the Gators’ spring game will conclude Jalen Kimber’s wealth of college campus visits – a list that includes recent trips to Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, and South Carolina.
It certainly makes sense that such an expansive list of programs would be pursuing Kimber considering his athletic value, officially recording a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, a 4.00 in the shuttle drill, and a 40.8-inch vertical at his local The Opening Regional.
Where does Notre Dame fit among his offers?
There are certain prospects who truly understand and appreciate the historical notes and the values held by Notre Dame student-athletes. Jalen Kimber fits in that category.
Without saying it out loud, it very much felt like Kimber tabbed his trip to South Bend as the most impressive of his upscale visit list. A key ingredient of that trip was his face-to-face meetings with the coaching staff.
After his weekend trip to Florida, Kimber will spend some time narrowing his list to a chosen few before coming to a decision this summer. It would be a surprise if Notre Dame were left out of his select group.
For Kimber’s post-visit interview per Steve Wiltfong, click here.
Of all the post-visit interviews held within Irish Illustrated following the weekend, it was probably Ryan Watts who gave the most glowing review.
Below are a few quotes from my conversation with Watts.
“It was great. Before, I had Texas A&M as my favorite visit but Notre Dame is by far my favorite visit. Especially with the environment and everything. Nana (Osafo-Mensah), I really owe a lot to Nana because he showed me a good time. I thought Notre Dame was going to be boring because I know Notre Dame is highly academic. But he showed me a great time and it was overall a great visit.”
On the coaching staff…
“Coach (Todd) Lyght, that’s my guy. I like him as a coach. He’s not too aggressive, not too laid back. It’s just right, he’s perfect. The message to me was that how I play my game is going to be a perfect fit for how Notre Dame wants their corners playing. They want to run a lot of press, get their hands on the receiver and disrupt the timing. Especially with my long body, my long arms, it would be a perfect fit and he could develop me into the next part of my game.”
On his parents…
“I went up there with my mom and my step dad. They enjoyed it, they enjoyed it a little too much. They had too much fun. If they were recruits, they probably would’ve committed. They loved it a lot.”
“They want me to visit Stanford too but honestly, I’d say that Notre Dame would be a better option for me.”
With his outstanding measurables at 6-foot-2 ½, 187-pounds while scoring a 116+ SPARQ score, including a 4.59 in the 40-yard dash, a 4.20 shuttle, and a 38-inch vertical.
He’ll visit Oklahoma this weekend, a threatening competitor for the Irish. But it feels like Todd Lyghthas an opportunity to pull off the win.
For Watts’ post-visit interview per Tom Loy, click here.
Next spring, Troy Pride – the only cornerback on the roster with real experience – will be out which means the three corners reviewed in this article would be afforded a legitimate opportunity to play straight out of the gate.
That type of early role opportunity matched with the early interest Phillips III, Kimber, and Watts have in the University could combine for a lasting sales pitch for the Irish.
We know that it’s too early to predict the outcome of these recruitments. But given the need for impact talent at cornerback, it’s promising that the Irish have made such strong impressions this spring.
some pretty interesting quotes in there from Ryan Watts
people seem really down on Shayne Simon right now, but once he learns the defense and stops thinking so much, he's going to be an absolute beast at Mike or Buck
On a beautiful but crisp Tuesday morning in South Bend, Notre Dame conducted the 13th practice of the spring inside Loftus Sports Center on Meyo Field.
Under normal circumstances, despite the early start time (7:45 a.m. ET), the Irish would have gone outside at the LaBar Practice Complex. But outside construction on the new practice facility adjacent to LaBar prompted the Irish to conduct the first of three practice sessions this week -- which culminate with Saturday’s annual Blue-Gold Game -- indoors.
Dressed in shoulder pads were four defenders who have not taken full contact this spring – cornerbacks Shaun Crawford and Donte Vaughn and defensive linemen Ja’Mion Franklin and Hunter Spears.
Safety Alohi Gilman also was not involved in full contact as he tries to make a completely healthy recovery from an abdominal injury. But like Saturday when he mixed it up in 11-on-11 and 7-on-7, Gilman effectively patrolled the secondary with fellow starter Jalen Elliott.
Sophomore TaRiq Bracy was back in action after being slowed by an ankle injury the past week or so. Bracy ran with the No. 2 unit at field cornerback behind Troy Pride Jr. Bracy made a couple of noteworthy plays. He ran stride-for-stride with Kevin Austin on a deep ball from Phil Jurkovec that fell incomplete. He defensed another pass to Austin that led to an incompletion. He made a beautiful pass breakup at the goal-line pylon on a ball thrown by Jurkovec to Javon McKinley.
It was interesting to observe safeties coach Terry Joseph assisting cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght in a drill in which the cornerbacks worked on press coverage and then defending the short pass in the flat off press.
Working at field cornerback during this drill were Pride, Bracy, walk-on Temitope Agoro and, surprisingly, Vaughn, who normally plays boundary corner. On the flip side at boundary corner were Houston Griffith, Avery Davis and Noah Boykin as usual, but also Crawford, who generally has played field corner when not at nickel.
Also overseeing the process was Irish head coach Brian Kelly, who was offering encouragement in an area where the cornerbacks struggled Saturday.
Starting strongside defensive end Khalid Kareem was in shoulder pads, but participated in a limited fashion after taking a blow to the head last week that prevented him from practicing this past weekend as well. Working in his place was starter-like strongside defensive end Ade Ogundeji, who was singled out by Kelly Saturday for his strong play in Kareem’s absence.
Garnering most of the reps at No. 1 Buck linebacker in Notre Dame’s base defense was junior Jordan Genmark Heath, who is embroiled in a battle for playing time with red-shirt freshman Jack Lamb as the successor to Drue Tranquill.
Irish Illustrated has said on a couple of occasions that it wouldn’t be a surprise if Lamb won the job in its entirety. We also must add that it wouldn’t be a surprise either if Lamb and Genmark Heath ultimately split the duties at Buck linebacker as defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Clark Leatries to get more personnel involved. Last season, Tranquill and Te’von Coney took virtually every snap at the inside linebacker positions.
When the Irish went to a 7-on-7 zone pass coverage drill late in Tuesday’s practice, the trio of linebackers included Lamb at Buck, Mike linebacker Asmar Bilal and Rover Paul Moala, the converted safety. Working with the No. 2 unit at linebacker during that 7-on-7 were Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah at Rover, Shayne Simon at Mike, and Genmark Heath at Buck. Owusu-Koramoah is the projected starter at Rover in base defense. Moala blanketed Michael Young on one play, forcing Book to throw the football away.
During 1-on-1 passing drills, the defense won more than its fair share in this practice session. Among the winners (excluding Bracy, see above) were: Pride against Chase Claypool on two occasions, which leveled the playing field a bit from Saturday…Gilman with a pass broken up on an Ian Book-to-Brock Wright attempt…Safety D.J. Brown in three instances: a Jurkovec-to-Austin attempt, a Book-to-Finke throw, and a Jurkovec-to-Arion Shinaver (walk-on) attempt…
Other plays made by Irish defensive backs included: cornerback Noah Boykin’s pass breakup on Jurkovec-to-Isaiah Robertson…Elliott’s pass breakup on Jurkovec-to-Micah Jones…A pass defensed by Avery Davis on a Book-to-Robertson throw…A pass defensed by Gilman on a Jurkovec-to-Shinaver attempt…Passes defensed by Griffith on a Book-to-Claypool throw and a Jurkovec-to-Joe Wilkins downfield toss.
About two-thirds of the way through the drill, the coaching staff aligned the receiver and the defensive back side-by-side facing downfield. When the football was snapped, both took off downfield for one-on-one battles with the ball in the air.
During 11-on-11, three defensive plays stood out – a pass broken up near the line of scrimmage by Owusu-Koramoah on a Book throw, the aforementioned Bracy pass defensed on a Jurkovec-to-Austin attempt, and sophomore defensive end Justin Ademilola tracking down running back Kyren Williams.
Plays that stood out in 7-on-7 – Lamb trailing a downfield pass from Book to Tommy Tremble, a pass defensed by Pride on a Jurkovec-to-Wilkins attempt, and passes defensed by Jonathan Jones (Jurkovec-to-Tremble) and D.J. Brown (Book-to-George Takacs).
Gilman made one of two interceptions on the day when he slid over to help Lamb, who ran downfield on a deep ball to Takacs. Griffith was the beneficiary of a badly-underthrown ball from Jurkovec-to-Austin.
One impressive bit of communication on the back end of the defense took place between Pride and Elliott. Pre-snap, they communicated the exchange should receivers Claypool and Finke cross routes. They did cross, the defensive backs switched, and Book had no choice but to overthrow an incompletion.
Some kicking was intermingled between some live offense vs. defense. Jonathan Doerer, with Jay Bramblett holding, drilled two extra point attempts, but then clanged one off the left upright.
Personnel on the field for No. 1 field goal included tight ends Cole Kmet, Wright and Takacs, snapper Michael Vinson (John Shannon’s backup), and offensive linemen Josh Lugg, Tommy Kraemer, Dillan Gibbons, Aaron Banks and Liam Eichenberg.
Five players returned punts from the Jugs machine: Chris Finke, Michael Young, Lawrence Keys III, Joe Wilkins and Alohi Gilman. During one segment, receivers coach Del Alexander – overseeing the operation – had the players positioned with their backs to the machine before turning around late to make the catch.
When one “punt” was uncatchable because the timing was off, Alexander made a break for the football and caught it in stride with his left hand/arm alone, prompting some excited positive feedback from the punt returners.
Notre Dame, Ind. — A Baker’s Dozen down; two to go.
That’s the state of Spring Practice 2019 which will resume Thursday and conclude with the annual Blue Gold Game Saturday afternoon inside Notre Dame Stadium.
Today’s takeaways include:
Chase Claypool gets his…again
Kevin Austin and Tommy Tremble flashed—the latter repeatedly
Tony Jones out, Cole Kmet limited…
The offensive line has a nice mix of six
OFFENSIVE LINE OBSERVATIONS
The opening tempo drill featured a different second unit than during team action, but the relevant takeaway is Andrew Kristofic working as the No. 2 left tackle. He had most often joined fellow early enrollee John Olmstead with the skeleton third unit.
1st (left to right): Liam Eichenberg, Aaron Banks, Jarrett Patterson, Tommy Kraemer, Robert Hainsey
2nd (left to right): Andrew Kristofic, Dillan Gibbons, Josh Lugg, John Dirksen, Quinn Carroll/Cole Mabry.
It was Mabry that began with the 2s in team (11-on-11); Carroll that repped more in drills.
Zeke Correll received 2nd Team center reps in drills while Lugg worked the pivot more often in 11-on-11.
A strong overall day for the offensive line again save for a failed blitz pickup to concede practice (the final goal line snap) in which Ian Book would’ve been lit up by Jack Lamb back side.
Robert Hainsey’s ability to move in the run game was on display when he sealed the edge in 11-on-11 for Jafar Armstrong to escape to the outside…The other edge, that is.
Really like the new-ish evaluation of Josh Lugg to emergency starting center this spring because Zeke Correll is a year away physically, 2018 handy man Trevor Ruhland’s status has to be in logical doubt after myriad injuries, and the former emergency (one-game) starter, walk-on Colin Grunhard, has missed the spring with a shoulder injury. He needed the weight training, I’d surmise…
Correll had a better practice today than I had seen in either of my last two offensive viewing. His inherent mean streak came out when pitted against Shayne Simon in a contact but no tackle 3-on-3 outside zone drill…
Speaking of the center, Jarrett Patterson brings a clear athleticism upgrade…
I thought Quinn Carroll had a top practice for backups on Saturday (and a good spring considering his age) but it was John Dirksen that flashed some power today among the backups.
Tommy Kraemer on the ground courtesy Jayson Ademilola…we’ve noted the former far less this spring than throughout 2018. Lets home it plays out that way in the fall.
With Jones out (undisclosed, in attendance, no pads but with the unit), C’Bo Flemister and Kyren Williams received more reps today than in any of our previous viewings.
— Flemister runs with low pads and can be hard to find behind Notre Dame’s massive offensive line. He shined today with a long run up the gut (would’ve been a 50-yard gain, Tariq Bracy caught him) and on a trick play throwback touchdown from Phil Jurkovec.
He has a good bounce and seems tough to tackle upon initial contact.
— Really nice jump-cut touchdown by Williams today on an 11-on-11 red zone snap. Good vision by the freshman to see the completely caved in left side.
— Jahmir Smith remains out with what is believed to be a minor hamstring injury. Flemister and Williams are more than capable in his stead.
— Jafar Armstrong put his pads into Tariq Bracy during the THUD portion of 11-on-11. Thud is different than tag-off, and I’m sure Bracy’s chest fully realizes the distinction…Armstrong continues to line up in the slot at times (today with either Flemister or Williams as the runner) and also motioned out of the backfield for a pretty backfield swing pass from Book in the red zone, much to the chagrin of Clark Lea who could be heard telling Jack Lamb that wasn’t the first time it happened at his expense…
WIDE RECEIVERS AND TIGHT ENDS
Braden Lenzy remained out of any competitive action (in pads) with what is believed to be a hamstring strain. His sterling start to spring has been truncated.
Chase Claypool is poised for an outstanding senior season. Today in 1-on-1 and 7-on-7 it was an array of sideline grabs (Houston Griffith, Troy Pride), and deep dig routes (Temitope Agoro), plus back-shoulder catches (Avery Davis), and go route of 45+ yards (Griffith) in 11-on-11 action (more on that below).
Almost forgot: a leaping fade route touchdown vs. Griffith on the penultimate snap of practice.
Kevin Austin with the catch of the day, drawing a loud “There It Is” from his receiver teammates. Austin won on a leaping seam route touchdown from Jurkovec in which the receiver exploded airborne and snagged the throw before crashing into the end zone.
Love how Joe Wilkins sets up his routes, today it was on a deep in-cut: exaggerated shoulder fake out/deep then hard line parallel to scrimmage and Book delivered, per usual.
Finke isn’t covered often. Nothing else to report on that front. Might be time to give him more matchups with Pride for a better look.
Speaking of tough covers: Lawrence Keys can flat out play. He’ll catch two handfuls of passes this year and turn that total into 50 in 2020. He beat Alohi Gilman on a deep cross to the corner. By “beat” I mean “somehow made the catch” because Gilman wore Keys like a cheap suit for 40 yards across the field before blowing the PD at the end to which an exasperated Brian Kellyoffered “You play it perfectly and with savvy the whole route, then get stupid at the end?”
Productive day for Tommy Tremble with Cole Kmet out of team action. Tremble basically took Kmet’s reps other than a few 1-on-1s (Kmet looked fine running down the seam) and made them most of the opportunity, catching myriad short throws plus a pretty deep post from Jurkovec. He also reeled in a bomb from Book.
Brock Wright remains Kmet’s 1B, consistently winning underneath routes this spring though he’s getting a heavy dose of backup safeties…
Former safety turned linebacker turned scout team receiver Isaiah Robertson makes a nice catch almost every practice. I’d like to see him stick it out and play some special teams in 2019, though I suppose he could be a viable redshirt candidate if the staff sees something in him as a wideout.
— The best way to illustrate Michael Young’s outstanding spring is to point out his dropped (easy) catch today. Young, who made multiple difficult snags showing great body control, dropped a crossing route in 1-on-1 and audibly barked out his order for a “Triple Fudge Sundae” thereafter.
No one reacts like that if he’s troubled by drops. Rather, he was disgusted by the occurrence.
Because they often switch reps, these totals could be transposed by one pass attempt/completion, but in 7-on-7 I had Ian Book 9-11 and Phil Jurkovec 3-6 with an interception.
In the next segment, it was Book 8-11 with Jurkovec 5-8 including a drop (though it was behind Keys). Jurkovec hit on two deep balls among those five completions.
— In 1-on-1s, I had Book 15-for-18 with a drop (Young’s aforementioned reaction). In the same 1-on-1s I had Jurkovec 1-for-8 with three passes defended, a ball way late (deep) and a ball way behind…
— How to best describe the ball on Jurkovec’s shorter routes? It’s not that they wobble in the generic fashion, but rather, if you’ve ever released a water toy into the lake, and watched it squirm through the water, that’s it.
— How to best describe the ball on Jurkovec’s deep posts? pretty damn sweet. He drops those teardrops into a bucket, especially when paired with Kevin Austin, I’ve noticed.
But Jurkovec’s deep ball arc and accuracy belies his passing acumen on nearly every other route we witness…I have no idea if its a grip issue, the tweak of his 2018 mechanics in what used to be a more 3/4 release point, or the yips. But the end result is not often accurate. It’s short. It tails, it flutters, it dies.
Jurkovec was intercepted in 11-on-11 red zone on a badly under-thrown fluttering fade route to Austin (Griffith with a nice, leaping pick) but also delivered a throwback touchdown to C’Bo Flemister after rolling, and more important, a beautiful back-shoulder fade to Claypool down the left side to the 1-yard line (setting up Kyren Williams jump-stop touchdown).
— Conversely, Book zips the ball left and right, short and medium, with uncanny, consistent precision. It’s in his hands, spun to the laces, it’s out, it’s spiraling toward the exact six-inch intended span of its target, in stride and in an easily catchable manner.
When a Notre Dame player runs a cross, or drag, or even dig route in 2019, he’ll catch it at full steam, rarely having to break stride…
— Book’s been far better on the deep ball this spring than he was last fall, but that’s to be expected. It’s easier here, right? Let’s hold off with that assessment through September.
— Uneventful day for K Jonathan Doerer other than doinking a PAT off the left post and back through the uprights.
These kids were athletic freaks in high school, who could just react and make plays. It's not like that in college, its not natural to play as fast as they are required. It takes time for that comfort level to arise, it doesn't happen in ONE DAMN spring for everyone at age 18. I just fucking cringe when I start hearing these guys write off players already
Hell they all wrote off Jalen Elliott, who would've thought a player could improve from Freshman year to Senior year......
Yea Jalen Elliott is a really good example...kid didn't even play safety in HS, he was a QB so he had to learn everything from scratch. Problem for him was that he HAD to play and had to learn the hard way
The way Prister talks about Derrik Allen makes me cringe sometimes
Rover, can you post some of the ISD Intel?
Mike Frank posted this on the weekend visitors
Did some digging around. Here is the latest.
Heard the entire weekend went extremely well. ND put themselves in a great position with all the kids.
With Christ, I think ND believes they're at least in the top 2 at this point. I think the family and he really enjoyed their visit to ND. He will likely take a few more visits, but ND is very much in the race here.
With Brendan McGregor, I've heard that went very well as well. He's been really high on ND for awhile, but I think ND really impressed both he and his family. ND should be in real good shape right now for him. Hopefully they can hold on through the rest of his visits.
On Mills, again, I've heard that visit went very well. I think ND is going to be tough to beat for him as well. I think he was most interested in learning about the academic load and being around the players. He loved the ND players, and I don't think he has any concerns right now. ND should be in great shape with him.
With Andrew Gentry, again, because of the mission, it's like recruiting a kid for 2022, but the whole family really enjoyed the trip, as did he. ND is still very interested in him and will continue to recruit him heavily.
On Jalen Kimber, ND jumped right into the race here. Heard he's a real fine kid. Loved the players and the whole ND experience. However, this one will likely take some time. I'm told the Dad enjoys the process a lot, he is a good guy, but I doubt any decision happens real soon. ND will battle the big boys for him, but I think he felt most comfortable at ND out of all his visits.
On Ryan Watts, again, a great kid. Really impressed ND's staff. ND definitely climbed right into this race. Oklahoma will be tough as they always recruit well, and of course, the Texas schools will be in it, but I think ND definitely jumped right into the thick of this one. I think both he and Kimber were the two most who were blown away by as it they've never been.
On Mordecai McDaniel, he said all the right things. Is ND where he's going to be the most comfortable? He plans to take a lot of visits, so this one will probably go awhile as well. ND put their best foot forward on this. We will see if ND remains in the race for him.
I asked what the situation was with AJ Henning, and I was told he keeps in great contact with ND, but hasn't scheduled a trip back as of yet. But, he's always talking with ND and keeping in contact.
I'm told Zak Zinter will be back at ND for the spring game this weekend. He's a guy who could be on commit watch. He likes ND quite a bit.
I asked about OL Reece Atteberry and I was told ND is probably slightly behind OSU right now, but nobody is certain what he's thinking.
As we mentioned, I do think ND is the team to beat for Tosh Baker and Michael Redding. I think ND could be in the race for Ben Yurosek, but he might not decide by the time ND fills up. He plans to take visits next fall, and if ND were lucky enough to land Mills and McGregor over the summer, that would likely take him out.
As I mentioned, ND is also very much in the race for Jordan Bortelho, who visits this weekend, and is a drop end candidate. Heard he and his family are very interested in ND. His commitment would be huge!
Xavier Watts visits this week. ND is very interested in him as a player. He could play on either side, and they think he's a fantastic athlete and prospect. He's high on their board, so this visit will be important.
I asked what the plan was for linebacker, and I think ND would take one if the right person came along, but not sure they feel they need a linebacker in this class. I think it has to be someone they really like.
This weekend's visit list will be very small. Less than 10 for sure, and maybe less than 5. The weather isn't supposed to be great, and I think ND likes to spend as much time with them on these visits as they can, so they didn't want to bring a lot of people in who would take away from the few they really want to focus on.
Thanks Rover, MF is a pessimist so for him to say ND leads for a kid means quite a bit
His AJ Henning comment combined with Coach D basically hearing the same things about high levels of communication directly contradicted what was said by 247 so i thought that was interesting
small recruiting updates
A few quick nuggets ....
On WR Jalen McMillan, who visits Notre Dame this weekend. Talked to a very trusted source today who is tied in with the recruitment for the Fresno (Calif.) San Joaquin Memorial star. McMillan - the No. 73 player in the nation - is high on Notre Dame but according to my source, right now Washington is his clear leader.
In fact, I was told that "If Notre Dame doesn't hit a grand slam home run that he's going to pick Washington."
Spoke with a source on the Irish side of things and that info confirmed their read on the situation. That means the staff is prepared to roll out the proverbial red carpet and are preparing to do just that.
Also talked with someone tied into the recruitment of Little Elm (Texas) HS three-star cornerback Ryan Watts. It won't come as a surprise that Notre Dame moved into the lead for his recruitment after he had a strong visit to South Bend this past weekend.
There is a chance that lead is short lived. Watts, who is all but down to the Irish, Oklahoma and Texas, travels to Norman this weekend to visit to the Sooners. According to my source, there is a feeling that Oklahoma could quickly surpass the Irish if they make a push this weekend.
It is not a given, but there is a feeling it could happen if the visit to Oklahoma goes as well as the one to Notre Dame.
* Speaking of cornerback, talked to a source that said right now La Habra (Calif) HS star Clark Phillips - the No. 54 player in the country according to Rivals - and Mansfield (Texas) Timberview cornerback Jalen Kimber are the top two corners on the board for Notre Dame at this point. The staff also likes Watts, Raytown (Mo.) HS corner Dontae Manning and Danville (Ky.) Boyle County athlete Landen Bartleson very much, but Phillips and Kimber are at the very top.
* Was also told the staff views Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic four-star Jordan Morant - who is currently listed as a safety - as a player that could thrive at either cornerback and safety at the next level and are recruiting him as that kind of versatile player.
is a charity worth getting behind if someone fancies some karma
The loaded visitor weekends are winding down. But in a sense, Notre Dame recruiting is ramping up.
Over the last two weeks, the wide variety of national visitors has resulted in two commitments and a rise in expectations related to important prospects.
With momentum rolling forward, let’s look at this weekend’s visitors, top-of-the-board talent, and what it all means for the 2020 class.
Potential five-star talent South Bend bound
I typically arrange my periodic ‘Top 10 Notre Dame Prospects’ reviews by order of a combination of (1) positional need, and (2) talent.
If I were to make a list based purely on talent, Jordan Botelho and Jalen McMillan would probably be in my top three choices. This weekend, both will be in South Bend for the Blue-Gold Game.
Starting with Botelho, adding a ferocious young edge rusher like the Hawaiian standout would alleviate the blow that will be the loss of the 2016 class D-ends.
From a pass rush standpoint, few in the 2020 class have the potential he shows on film. Not only does Botelho show a mature level of physicality off the edge he also proves to have outstanding lateral quickness and the type of mean streak that you love to see if you’re a college coach.
McMillan is simply outstanding in the way he runs routes, tracks and elevates for the football, and competes for contested passes. He’s a special athlete who could very well end up in the five-star range.
Notre Dame added its guy in Jordan Johnson. Next up, the Irish look to pair the St. Louis speedster with another threatening pair of hands.
Make no mistake, McMillan is the top target to pair with Johnson.
Essentially, both Botelho and McMillan have a true interest in Notre Dame with people around them supporting the Irish within their recruitments – McMillan’s head coach sent his daughter to Notre Dame and plenty of folks around Botelho in Hawaii respect Notre Dame and its history with athletes from their back yard.
Without question, the coaching staff will do everything it can to lure this pair back to South Bend. It’s these types of players that would allow Notre Dame to compete for a victory in a future college football playoff matchup.
Top 100 talent
It’s Top 100 talent that can make the difference between a perceived ‘good’ and ‘great’ class, according to many.
Notre Dame loaded up on nine four-star linemen, a quartet of four-star defensive backs, and 11 total four-stars on the defensive side of the ball in its 2019 class.
But what some pointed out, the Irish signed just two consensus Top 100 talents (Kyle Hamilton, Zeke Correll) as compared to five in that elite group in the 2018 class (Houston Griffith, Kevin Austin, Phil Jurkovec, Shayne Simon, Jack Lamb).
How will Notre Dame fare in this regard in the 2020 class?
For starters, it’s my opinion that Jordan Johnson could be joined by other current Irish commits in the Top 100 by way of ranking raises. I watched several Covington Catholic matchups last fall and would not be surprised if Michael Mayer finds the Top 100.
Drew Pyne will get a prime opportunity to show his body of work at Elite 11, prove that his three-star billing is inaccurate. But who are the current Top 100 prospects with interest in Notre Dame?
At the offensive skills positions, Notre Dame’s dream-haul of Chris Tyree, Jalen McMillan, and A.J. Henning all rank within the Top 100 while two offensive linemen who visited Notre Dame recently also list in that group – Tosh Baker and Andrew Gentry.
Defensive backs Clark Phillips III and Lathan Ransom both rate within the Top 75 and have the Irish under strong consideration. And outside of the consensus column, Braiden McGregor, Jordan Botelho, and Dontae Manning all rank in the 247Sports Top 100.
In terms of the collective Top 100 talent, Notre Dame appears to be within striking distance of more athletes from this category than we saw in the 2019 class.
Could Notre Dame meet or exceed the 2018 class total of five Top 100 prospects? It certainly feels possible.
Notre Dame is on a roll
While countless questions surround current Notre Dame recruiting, let’s discuss something we know to be certain.
Generally speaking, Notre Dame is on a roll. Although we haven’t seen quite seen the rapid influx of commitments of last spring, if you look at Notre Dame’s last four commitments over the last two months, it speaks volumes to Notre Dame’s reach.
On Saturday, Notre Dame landed a pledge from a Top 40 wide receiver. Ten days prior, a Top247 offensive lineman out of IMG Academy committed in Greg Crippen.
Three weeks before Crippen jumped aboard, arguably the top quarterback in California’s 2021 class gave Notre Dame the nod which came three weeks after Mike Elston closed the deal with his top nose tackle recruit in Denver-area junior Aidan Keanaaina.
With all of the Top 100 talent we discussed showing interest in Notre Dame, glowing impressions made on athletes like Ryan Watts, Jimmy Christ, Clark Phillips III, and both Botelho and McMillan hitting South Bend this weekend, it’s fair to be impressed with the Notre Dame recruiting department’s recent work.
Side note: Last night, four-star interior offensive line prospect Zak Zinter informed me that he’ll be returning to South Bend this weekend.
This will be his second unofficial visit to Notre Dame since his two-day stop on March 22-23 while his official visit is set for June 21-23.
This can all be true but doesn't change the fact that it looks like they are in rough shape at linebacker in 2019. Blame doesn't lie with them, that goes to the lack of options in the junior and senior classes. Perhaps there is a way to relay this to the listeners without dumping on the sophomores.
What bothers me is that they entered spring telling us they were going to tinker a lot at linebacker in the spring and now the act like it's a failure that guys keep moving position.
So blue gold, Tim McGraw at the JACC, a lacrosse tournament, and now as the local news is reporting up to 10k people for the Pete announcement? This weekend is going to be a mess.