*Notre Dame* - Home of the #1 overall recruit in a country

Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Thoros of Beer, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. a1ND

    a1ND Bold & Spicy
    Donor

    Gold Standard

    Navigating The DB Board
    *** When it comes to defensive back recruiting, plenty of question marks remain. Let’s go ahead and start with numbers. The Irish currently have zero commits and would like to take around four at the position. Notre Dame wants a pair of corners, one true safety and another player that can play several roles on the back end. The number could go up to five depending on how things shake out.

    *** Let’s start off with the safeties. Lathan Ransom remains one of the big priorities overall this cycle. The four-star prospect out of Salpointe (Ariz.) will make his official visit to Notre Dame this weekend. So where exactly do the Irish stand? Right now, I would say Notre Dame is on the outside looking in. I would still give LSU the overall advantage at this time. He loved his visit there, and there is a certain appeal about playing in the SEC for Ransom. Texas is also surging here. The Longhorns hosted him for an unofficial visit over the weekend and will get him back for an official visit on June 14. Ohio State will host him the weekend after. Needless to say, Notre Dame hits a home run.

    *** All has been quiet with four-star Bergen Catholic (N.J.) safety Jordan Morant, but he remains a priority as well. Remember, Morant is scheduled to see perceived leader Michigan on June 21, so that visit will be telling for the rest of his recruitment. As of right now, Morant is still slated to make his commitment on Jan. 4, so the longer this goes, the better for Notre Dame. Still, Ohio State and Penn State remain major threats as well. While Morant is listed as a safety, he could fill that multi-purpose role that Notre Dame is looking for.



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    NATIONAL
    9
    STATE
    17
    POSITION
    JORDAN
    MORANT
    RANK
    5.8
    6'0" | 190 LBS | S
    BERGEN CATHOLIC
    ORADELL, NJ
    CLASS OF 2020
    UNDECIDED
    *** Notre Dame is continuing to work hard on four-star Calvary Baptist (La.) safety Eric Reed, who also fits the multi-purpose bill as he has plenty of experience playing corner. Reed has been pegged as an LSU lean, but we are continuing to hear that the Tigers haven’t made him a top priority, which means the door is wide open here. Reed has yet to set up an official visit to Notre Dame, but he fully intends on getting to campus soon. Right now, Virginia may be making the biggest push. The Cavs are set to host him for an OV on June 21. Highland Spring (Va.) safety Malcolm Greene is basically in the same boat. The Irish are working on him, but has not set a visit.

    *** Notre Dame recently put an offer on the table for Delran (N.J.) safety RJ Moten. Michigan has long been considered the favorite here, so the Irish will have to fight hard to make headway. He has talked about making his way to South Bend for OV, so we’ll have to wait and see if that happens. The same could be said about Episcopal (Va.) product Elijah Gaines. He is a prospect the staff likes, but we’ll have to wait and see if he does in fact visit Notre Dame and if the Irish push.



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    NATIONAL
    14
    STATE
    50
    POSITION
    ELIJAH
    GAINES
    RANK
    5.6
    6'2" | 190 LBS | CB
    EPISCOPAL
    ALEXANDRIA, VA
    CLASS OF 2020
    UNDECIDED
    *** Meanwhile, West Bloomfield (Mich.) Makari Paige remains on the board. He is set to release his top schools today, and Notre Dame should be in there as he has talked about making an official visit this summer. Paige’s recruiting process has slowed down overall, so it’s hard to get a true read on his situation.

    *** Duncanville’s (Texas) Chris Thompson, Lanett’s (Ala.) Kristian Story and Lufkin’s (Texas) Jerrin Thompson were all scratched off the June 21 official visitor list last week. Don’t expect much movement with Chris Thompson and Story moving forward. Jerrin Thompson remains an option, but the Irish are still exploring all of their options at the safety position.

    *** On the cornerback board, La Habra (Calif.) product Clark Phillips is the big fish in the ocean. But the odds of him ending up at Notre Dame seem to be on a downward trend. Phillips made his first OV to Cal this weekend and will be at Ohio State on June 21. The Buckeyes are in a prime position to land him, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them do so following his trip to Columbus. Notre Dame needs to lock him in for an official visit to have a shot.



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    NATIONAL
    8
    STATE
    4
    POSITION
    CLARK
    PHILLIPS
    RANK
    5.9
    5'10" | 178 LBS | CB
    LA HABRA
    LA HABRA, CA
    CLASS OF 2020
    UNDECIDED
    *** Notre Dame is still working hard on The Colony (Texas) cornerback Christian Gonzalez as the Irish saw him on multiple occasions during the spring evaluation period. But there just isn’t much new to report here. Gonzalez will make his first OV to Colorado this weekend and will then map out the rest of his trips. Gonzalez would like to make a decision this summer but may ultimately push things back in the fall.

    *** Notre Dame is in a very strong position to land both Boyle County’s (Ky.) Landon Bartleson and Ocoee’s (Fla.) Lovie Jenkins. Bartleson is coming in for an official visit on June 21 and could shut things down. Jenkins is also coming in that weekend, and there are strong indications that Notre Dame is close to landing him. However, Jenkins recently notched an offer from Miami, which could change some things. Jenkins is slated to announce his decision on Aug. 12.

    *** Notre Dame is in the market for long, rangy corners with upside, and Clarence Lewis fits the bill. As we reported, he will be making an official visit to South Bend this weekend. Lewis is a new name, so we are still gathering more on him, but there is great deal of interest between both parties. Recent offers Caleb Offord from Southaven (Miss.) and Ramon Henderson from Liberty (Calif.) are in the same mold. While they have not set official visits, Notre Dame is very intrigued by their skillsets.



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    NATIONAL
    20
    STATE

    -

    POSITION
    CLARENCE
    LEWIS
    RANK
    5.6
    6'0" | 180 LBS | CB
    MATER DEI
    NEW MONMOUTH, NJ
    CLASS OF 2020
    UNDECIDED
    *** The Michigan duo of Cameron Martinez (Muskegon) and Enzo Jennings (Oak Park) are both realistic options. Martinez is very high on a handful of Big 10 schools, but he wants to make an official visit to Notre Dame and likes what the Irish have to offer. Jennings has Notre Dame among his top schools and is also looking to set an official visit.

    *** Notre Dame locked in an official visit with Waco Midway (Texas) corner Will Nixon. While he prefers to play wide receiver, Nixon is somewhat open to the idea of moving to the defensive side of the ball. The fact that he moved his Penn State, where his father played, official visit to the fall speaks volumes. Nixon loves Notre Dame overall, but the Irish have to get over the hump that is selling him on a position switch.

    *** Notre Dame has offers out to Arlington’s (Texas) Jahari Rogers, Winter Park’s (Fla.) Ethan Pouncey and Madison Prep’s (La.) Major Burns. All have expressed interest in Notre Dame but are more long shots. Right now, LSU and Texas seem to be the leaders for Rogers and Burns, respectively. The buzz is Pouncey will likely stay in the Southeast.



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    NATIONAL
    16
    STATE
    34
    POSITION
    MAJOR
    BURNS
    RANK
    5.7
    6'3" | 174 LBS | CB
    MADISON PREP ACADEMY
    BATON ROUGE, LA
    CLASS OF 2020
    UNDECIDED
    *** Tuscarora (Md.) athlete Jordan Addison is a versatile athlete that could play multiple positions. He remains on the board, but there hasn’t been much movement as of late. Arizona State commit T Lee has visited Notre Dame in the past. The Buford (Ga.) product recently reengaged with Notre Dame and said he may visit in the summer.

    *** Don’t forget about Argyle Liberty Christian (Texas) cornerback Collin Gamble. I’m told the staff is still very high on him. He could potentially be next in line for an offer, but there are some questions about his speed. If Notre Dame does offer, it would instantaneously become a favorite in his recruitment. (Holland)

    Notes From The DMV, Southeast
    *** Notre Dame continues to keep Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal cornerback Elijah Gaines warm. The Irish offered him a scholarship earlier this year but, to our knowledge, he hasn't been a take for Notre Dame for the past month or two. Cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght is keeping in contact with Gaines though, and if Gaines sets up an official visit to see Notre Dame, which he is working on doing, then it would appear he's moved up the ever-so-interesting defensive back board for the Irish.



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    NATIONAL
    14
    STATE
    50
    POSITION
    ELIJAH
    GAINES
    RANK
    5.6
    6'2" | 190 LBS | CB
    EPISCOPAL
    ALEXANDRIA, VA
    CLASS OF 2020
    UNDECIDED
    .*** With Braiden McGregor off the board, Notre Dame and defensive line coach Mike Elston have zeroed in on Olney (Md.) Good Counsel drop end target Mitchell Melton. I've reported that Melton visits Notre Dame this weekend, Ohio State the following weekend, and Michigan on June 21. He hopes to make a decision on July 3. A source close to the situation told me that Notre Dame wanted to be the first school Melton officially visited to really set the tone in his recruitment and separate itself from Michigan and OSU. Landing Melton will be a battle for the Irish.

    *** Lanett (Ala.) safety Kristian Story came off the board for Notre Dame last week. The four-star prospect was set to officially visit Notre Dame on June 21, but I'm told there was a mutual split to cancel the visit. A source informed me a month ago that Notre Dame liked Story but viewed him as a guy who could end up as an outside linebacker. That's not the kind of safety prospect Notre Dame wanted in this class -- couple that with the fact that Story didn't think Notre Dame was the best fit for him, and it made sense for both parties to cancel the trip. Even though Story visited Notre Dame earlier this year, it was always going to be a very tough get for the Irish getting him out of the South.

    *** Ocoee (Fla.) defensive back Lovie Jenkins is well over 40 scholarships, but this is mainly a four team race between Louisville, Pittsburgh, Miami, and Notre Dame. Jenkins officially visited Louisville in May and visits Pittsburgh next weekend, but those two schools aren't big threats here. It's pretty much a Miami-Notre Dame battle, and one that is pretty close right now.



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    NATIONAL

    -

    STATE

    -

    POSITION
    LOVIE
    JENKINS
    RANK
    5.6
    6'1" | 180 LBS | ATH
    OCOEE
    OCOEE, FL
    CLASS OF 2020
    UNDECIDED
    *** Jenkins will officially visit Notre Dame on June 21 and has moved his commitment date from August 2 to August 12, so he could announce his decision in front of his school peers. With a Pittsburgh visit on June 14, when will he be able to visit Miami? June 24-July 24 is a dead period, and the only time he can officially visit Miami (before his commitment date) would be this weekend or a midweek visit in June. Jenkins is high on Miami, but Notre Dame is still the leader here, and I'm not changing my FutureCast pick of Jenkins to Notre Dame. If Jenkins does visit Miami, then we're looking at a real battle.

    *** The recruitment of IMG Academy (Fla.) wide receiver Michael Redding was already unclear, and now it's even more so. Florida State, Notre Dame, and Purdue were the favorites, but now Miami and Florida have surged into the picture. He's visiting Miami on June 8 and Florida on June 9. I expect Redding to end up staying in-state. Redding is a nice player but the Irish haven't been pushing for him much in the past few weeks.



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    NATIONAL
    5
    STATE
    7
    POSITION
    MICHAEL
    REDDING
    RANK
    6.0
    6'2" | 190 LBS | WR
    IMG ACADEMY
    BRADENTON, FL
    CLASS OF 2020
    UNDECIDED
    *** Winter Park (Fla.) cornerback Ethan Pouncey is the last name in the Sunshine State to know in the 2020 cycle. Right now, the vibe is that Auburn is the leader in his recruitment, and Notre Dame is in the second tier of schools he's considering. Pouncey doesn't give out much information on his recruitment, even to those close to him, but the feeling is that the Tigers are the favorites here. (Singer)
     
  2. IanC

    IanC I'm sorry, the card says Moops
    Donor TMB OG
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishMilwaukee Brewers altMilwaukee BucksGreen Bay PackersTiger Woods

  3. Rise

    Rise Well-Known Member

    Looks like Ruhland May be going on medical
     
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  4. a1ND

    a1ND Bold & Spicy
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    sounds like there is someone else potentially who will also go the medical route
     
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  5. a1ND

    a1ND Bold & Spicy
    Donor

    also sounds like ND is slowing down on Redding since they think they can land Watts which is the right move IMO

    Assuming they land Watts soon, I'd love any 2 out of Henning, McMillan, or Odunze (WR from NV)...4 may be pushing it but all of those guys are top end players
     
  6. laxjoe

    laxjoe Well-Known Member
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    Notre Dame Fighting IrishNational LeagueAvengersSan Diego Padres

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  7. SD_Irish

    SD_Irish Give a damn - evil can't stand
    Cincinnati BengalsUSA RugbyNotre Dame Fighting Irish

    Oh hell yes.
     
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  8. Ezier for me to show but man that stadium is a dumpster fire (might be biased cuz I showed 5 mins before the navy game and had to park next to a camp of cars about a mile from the stadium that looked like a mad max refugee)
     
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  9. SD_Irish

    SD_Irish Give a damn - evil can't stand
    Cincinnati BengalsUSA RugbyNotre Dame Fighting Irish

    SDCCU stadium is a dumpster fire. No argument here.
     
  10. Good Effort! Good Game!

    Good Effort! Good Game! Dallas Clark's biggest fan
    Donor

    Jordan Johnson bumped to 5* & #19 overall in new Rivals 100
     
  11. chase538

    chase538 Well-Known Member
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishBarcelonaAtlanta United

    Fuckkkk
     
  12. Rise

    Rise Well-Known Member

    Let’s hope he sticks - dude was straight dominant at camps
     
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  13. laxjoe

    laxjoe Well-Known Member
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    Notre Dame Fighting IrishNational LeagueAvengersSan Diego Padres

  14. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
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    Notre Dame Fighting IrishChicago CubsChicago BullsChicago BearsChicago BlackhawksDemocrat

    Cucked

     
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  15. laxjoe

    laxjoe Well-Known Member
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    Notre Dame Fighting IrishNational LeagueAvengersSan Diego Padres

  16. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
    Donor TMB OG
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishChicago CubsChicago BullsChicago BearsChicago BlackhawksDemocrat

    He can go work with the rookies until Swarbrick retires.
     
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  17. Juke Coolengody

    Juke Coolengody One name. Two men?
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishIndiana PacersIndianapolis Colts

  18. IanC

    IanC I'm sorry, the card says Moops
    Donor TMB OG
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishMilwaukee Brewers altMilwaukee BucksGreen Bay PackersTiger Woods

    It pushes him up to 5*on the 247 composite too
     
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  19. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
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    Notre Dame Fighting IrishChicago CubsChicago BullsChicago BearsChicago BlackhawksDemocrat

    Bama is gonna come hard.
     
  20. IanC

    IanC I'm sorry, the card says Moops
    Donor TMB OG
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishMilwaukee Brewers altMilwaukee BucksGreen Bay PackersTiger Woods

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. Killy Me Please

    Killy Me Please I lift things up and put people down.
    Donor

    One Foot Down articles are so lame
     
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  22. IanC

    IanC I'm sorry, the card says Moops
    Donor TMB OG
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishMilwaukee Brewers altMilwaukee BucksGreen Bay PackersTiger Woods

    It's just like the most super serious message board all star fans got a job blogging
     
  23. IanC

    IanC I'm sorry, the card says Moops
    Donor TMB OG
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishMilwaukee Brewers altMilwaukee BucksGreen Bay PackersTiger Woods

    SB Nation is mostly useless these days, as are the rest of the Vox brands I used to frequent (Curbed, Eater)
     
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  24. npndne

    npndne making spectacular fuckin' plays.
    Donor
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishDenver BroncosMinnesota VikingsColorado Avalance



    Really excited about this kid. Long athlete with a nose for the ball and a lot of frame to work with. With Balis and coaches who can finally develop think he will make an impact. Our borderline scholarship takes have gone a long way from Heggie to people like Marist and Bertrand.

    I'm all for as many Hawaiian/Poly athletes we can get on board. With folks like Toma and Utupo getting into coaching and Gilman's dad (has a side gig training and helping kids get recruited) have to think we'll be in the conversation with a lot more island talent. Polian isn't doing well out there alone.
     
  25. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
    Donor TMB OG
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishChicago CubsChicago BullsChicago BearsChicago BlackhawksDemocrat

    He has the asshole gene we are starting to see again. I love it.
     
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  26. IanC

    IanC I'm sorry, the card says Moops
    Donor TMB OG
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishMilwaukee Brewers altMilwaukee BucksGreen Bay PackersTiger Woods

    Every player from Hawaii we've taken in the last decade has outperformed expectations
     
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  27. npndne

    npndne making spectacular fuckin' plays.
    Donor
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishDenver BroncosMinnesota VikingsColorado Avalance

    Wish numbers weren't so tight so we could take a look at Gilman's brother and the WR from Bohtelo's school.
     
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  28. Robdog_5

    Robdog_5 Well-Known Member

    That's sweet on possible holiday bowl. Sdccu is old and a dump but I have a lot of good memories there
     
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  29. laxjoe

    laxjoe Well-Known Member
    Donor
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishNational LeagueAvengersSan Diego Padres

    Posting sight unseen but it mentions Kareem

    Edit: no ND anything, but still a good read if you have a few minutes.

    LAS VEGAS – This is what more than 625 career NFL sacks look like, as more than 30 NFL veterans file off a chartered bus and walk into an empty college practice field on a Saturday in early June.

    There’s Von Miller, the ringleader of this gaggle of pass rushers, with his 98 regular-season sacks, tied for second-most among active NFL players. There’s Aaron Donald, who’s got 59.5 sacks in just five seasons and owns back-to-back defensive player of the year awards. Here’s a pair of hulking power rushers in Calais Campbell, with 81.5, and Cam Jordan and his 71.5; and there’s Whitney Mercilus with his 42.5 sacks, a half-sack more than Melvin Ingram, who saunters off the bus into an 85-degree Las Vegas morning wearing a thick gray sweatshirt.

    They’ve arrived here on the campus of UNLV without entourages. No handlers, no publicists. There are no fans to greet them, and only a handful of cameras are here to record them. This is Miller’s third-annual pass rush summit, which has tripled in size since its inception in 2017 and become a must-visit destination for pass rushers.

    Over the course of the next six hours, they’ll talk about almost nothing but sacks. It won’t matter that some of them are division rivals, like Miller, the longtime Denver Bronco, and Frank Clark, who recently signed a $104 million contract with the Chiefs. Or that just five months ago two of their teams faced off in the NFC championship game, as Donald’s Rams and Jordan’s Saints did.

    “We’re all on the same team for this short period of time, so it’s just about sharing the knowledge. If anyone can pick up anything, that’s what I set out to do,” Miller said.

    [​IMG]
    Courtesy of Lindsay Jones
    As the two-hour on-field session begins, Miller wants to make two things clear. One: This is not a camp. He’s labeled it a summit for a reason; he wants all the participants — the 12-year NFL veterans, the guys coming off their rookie years, the college players, and the retired players brought here to coach — to share ideas. Two: His name might be on the summit and his logo on the back of the shirts, and he might be breaking down the huddle, but Miller is merely the facilitator. He’s hoping to leave Las Vegas having learned as much as he taught.

    “It’s not a teach clinic, where I can get out here and teach stuff. I’ll show you what makes me good and likewise. Show me what makes you great. What made DeMarcus (Ware) great. If we can apply that to our game, we do. If we can’t, we can’t. I’m positive that we got all these guys in one spot, we’ll be able to learn something from each other,” Miller says as the players gather around him. “Open dialogue with everybody. I want to know what you’re thinking. I’ll let y’all know what I’m thinking at all times. We’re here for the sacks. Sacks on three, sacks on three. One two three, SACKS!”

    Miller has built this to be a high-energy but low-speed event. Some of the players wear cleats for the on-field work, but this is specifically not a practice. No one can risk getting hurt here, so the focus is on the details of the pass rush – the hand placement and arm movement and hip angles and first steps off the line of scrimmage.

    The hot move most of the players want to learn here is the cross chop, a violent move in which a rusher uses his inside arm to swat away a lineman’s outer arm on his way to the quarterback. The move is Bruce Smith’s favorite to teach, and one that Yannick Ngakoue and Donald have both perfected. It can be used as a quick inside move, as Donald explains he takes just one step before he starts swats at a guard’s arms. On the outside, Ngakoue might take several strides toward a tackle, with his hips square, before his chopping with his inside arm.

    Miller is particularly interested in studying the cross chop here. If he can add one move to his arsenal this offseason, this is it.

    “It’s a deadly move, but you’ve got to practice it,” Smith said.

    That large group slowly disperses, and smaller groups form organically. A few five-technique defensive ends gather on one side of the field, talking about double teams and power rushes. Ware and Donald pair off to the other side of the field to work on hand combat. Miller and Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers discuss the differences between rushing from the edge, like Miller does, and inside, like Brockers.

    “Pass rushers are the best emulators. The better you can emulate someone else and what they do, the better you’ll become,” Ware said over lunch in the UNLV football complex. “Every year you’ve got to put something new in your toolbox. I tell those guys every year, it’s not about how great you are, everybody is athletic. It’s about, how can you mold yourself to what someone else does great?”

    [​IMG]
    Courtesy of Lindsay Jones
    Miller first envisioned a pass rush summit at least five years ago, before he was a Super Bowl MVP and before he held the title of the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player. He watched his former quarterback, Peyton Manning, host his receivers for a spring passing camp on campus at Duke University, and noted how high school and college quarterbacks attended passing camps (including the large one organized by the Manning family every summer in Louisiana). Miller was already friends with many of his pass rushing peers, so why, he wondered, weren’t they doing the same? He knew how much he was personally benefitting from practicing with Ware, who joined the Broncos in 2014, and asked Ware if he thought he would be able, and willing, to teach other players from around the league.

    Miller hosted his first pass rush summit in 2017 at Stanford with about a dozen NFL players. It was a more structured day than what Miller put together in Las Vegas, with Stanford’s defensive line coaches doing more formal instruction. Miller tried to dramatically expand the summit in year two, recruiting a pair of Hall of Famers in Bruce Smith and Warren Sapp to serve as coaches, securing a corporate sponsor in Bass Pro Shop and what he hoped would be a destination location at the Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Mo. The summit itself was larger and flashier than year one, but the timing in late June meant Miller missed out on a lot of the top talent.

    For year three, Miller streamlined the process. He picked a desirable location in Las Vegas and planned the camp before NFL minicamps in hopes of increasing participation. He figured players would be much more likely to spend June 1 working on football than July 1, when the league is shut down and players are resting and taking vacation before training camp.

    He personally reached out to his friends around the league to extend invitations and posted an open invitation to the summit on his Instagram. Any college players who responded on Instagram were directed to his personal assistant who was handling all the logistics, from reserving a block of rooms at The Palms (paid for by Miller), to securing the practice, locker room and classroom space at UNLV, to reserving a charter bus and catering lunch. At least four college players paid their way to Las Vegas.

    And then there’s Noah Espinoza, a 20-year-old Henderson, Nev. native who has long idolized Miller, and saw Miller’s Instagram post. Espinoza played linebacker at the University of Jamestown in 2017 before moving home and taking a job as a lifeguard at a Las Vegas hotel while he tries to find a new college team and restart his football career.

    He took the day off work and showed up to the UNLV practice field at 7:30 a.m., ready to shoot his shot with the NFL players. He waited for more than three hours, warmed up on the field as members of Miller’s team and the UNLV equipment staff set up tents, a training table and filled large tubs with ice, water and Gatorade. He introduced himself to Miller’s girlfriend, and she assured him that Miller would welcome him onto the field.

    Shortly after the veteran NFL players arrived just after 11 a.m., Espinoza approached Miller. He stretched out his hand, introduced himself and asked if he could participate.

    “He was like, ‘OK, let’s get to work,’” Espinoza said later.

    Two hours later, when the on-field work was done, the players and coaches gathered for a group picture. Espinoza is in the middle, arms crossed, standing behind Doug Flutie, two people down from Donald.

    “What I’m taking away is if you get to the quarterback, you will play, and you will get paid. Hearing that from the NFL guys, nothing can take that away from me,” Espinoza said.

    [​IMG]
    Courtesy of Lindsay Jones
    To Miller, the coup for 2019 was landing Donald, the reigning two-time NFL defensive player of the year who had 20.5 sacks last season, who brought with him most of the Rams’ defensive line, including Brockers and Dante Fowler. Other first-time participants included Campbell of the Jaguars, Jordan of the Saints and Frank Clark from the Chiefs.

    “In football, they always try to put one against two, this guy is the No. 3 player, or this guy is No. 6. It’s natural for you to feel like, I’m not No. 6, I’m closer to 1,” Miller told The Athletic during a break in the afternoon film session. “So, for everyone to really put that to the side and just focus on getting better, that’s cool. No matter how many years you’ve played in the league, you can always get better. I can learn something from the young guys, the young guys can learn something from me. There’s always something more than you can get. That’s what it’s about: Not being complacent in your game.”

    Later this summer, Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson will bring together a group of offensive linemen for a second annual summit, with a similar format to what Miller has created for pass rushers. But these events are still rare. While the Mannings may have planted the idea for Miller, the reality is that NFL quarterbacks aren’t getting together to share tips. Neither are wide receivers or running backs or defensive backs.

    Pass rushing uniquely lends itself to this format because so many of the tools of the trade are technical and independent of defensive scheme. The participants here feel like they can share their techniques without giving away team secrets.

    “Pass rush is the best part of the game,” said Campbell, the Jaguars defensive end with 81.5 career sacks. “When you can chase the quarterback down, it’s an art form. We’re a whole bunch of artists out here, with different paint brushes, different styles, talking through how we create our art. Great artists copy other artists; you learn from other artists. As you study the game, you find your own voice by using other people’s material. I use those guys’ moves. Some stuff I’m not going to like. But some stuff I’m going to be like, ‘man, I like that.’ I can put my own twist on it and make it mine. We’ll do what fits me more. There’s only so many moves you can do, but it’s the way you do it.”

    Among the additions Miller made for Year Three of the summit was the enemy: Quarterbacks, represented by former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie and quarterbacks coach George Whitfield. (Miller also invited Oakland Raiders right tackle Trent Brown, his longtime friend and on-field rival, to Las Vegas. Brown, who recently became the league’s highest-paid player at his position, attended Miller’s first summit in 2017.)

    Whitfield initially declined Miller’s invitation to the pass rush summit. It felt like he’d be betraying his guys to give away the sacred secrets of quarterbacking. “It would be like Batman working with the Joker,” Whitfield said.

    But the more Whitfield thought about it, he realized what could be gained a day with elite pass rushers. He’d be able to share tips, sure, that might make NFL life more difficult for his clients, but he’d also be able to return to his quarterback coaching business with new insights into what pass rushers are thinking, how they’re preparing and what they’re trying to do to make quarterbacks miserable.

    An hour into the on-field session, half a dozen players gather around Whitfield and Flutie. They simulate snaps and drop backs. Whitfield waves the ball in front of his face – a trick quarterbacks will sometimes use as a last-ditch distraction effort. “We’re trying to make this,” Whitfield says, flashing the ball, “more important than us.”

    He urges the pass rushers not to be fooled.

    “Run through the guy,” Whitfield said.

    Another tip from Whitfield? Too many quarterbacks struggle with ball control and are susceptible to being stripped of the football if a defensive player keeps swatting at the quarterback’s hands.

    “None of us train in combat,” Whitfield said. “If you have a guy wrapped, they’re not accustomed to the combat. Even if you get beat, don’t give up on it. They don’t want to be touched.”

    But much of the time the players spend with Whitfield and Flutie involves discussions about snap counts — from basics like common line checks (Omaha to snap on one, Topeka for a snap on two) and what silent cues defensive linemen can look for that might indicate the snap is coming. It might a subtle shift of a foot, darting eyes, or a frantic tap during a silent count.

    “When you want the ball, you’re doing something different,” Flutie said.

    Clark, the new Kansas City Chief, is especially interested in picking up tips on what a quarterback is thinking during a silent count, and how he can take advantage of offensive linemen who may be temporarily deafened by the Arrowhead Stadium crowd. Flutie hands him the ball, and Clark bends down, pretending to be the center. He looks down, holds his head steady, bobs his head once and simulates a snap. It’s something he’s seen on film, over and over, from opposing quarterbacks struggling to hear in Seattle, and what he expects to see again in Kansas City.

    “I feel like the biggest problem is guys thinking they’ve got the total package, feeling like they’re done with the learning and development part. Just being around all this veteran presence, as a young player myself, just coming into my prime, it’s just a gift,” Clark told The Athletic as he left the practice field. “I’m the young bull climbing the ladder now. Once you start climbing that ladder and start making the ascent to greatness level, I feel like that’s where we’re going. Just being around it, you feel it. There’s greatness in the air around here.”

    [​IMG]
    Courtesy of Lindsay Jones
    With clean clothes and bellies full of pasta and salad, the players filed into a classroom in the UNLV football complex. Miller had flown a member of the Broncos’ video staff to Las Vegas to run what was supposed to be a two-hour film session, with 20-play cut-ups from each of the veteran players from last season.

    The idea was to be able to see the moves they had practiced on the field in slow motion earlier in game action, how they worked against different offensive linemen and to hear directly from the players themselves how they turned rushes into sacks.

    While there is much more to pass rushing than just that final slam of a quarterback to the turf, here in Las Vegas sacks are the focus, because sacks are what get players paid. The difference between a five-sack season and double digits can be millions of dollars in the next contract.

    “This is where we get our money,” Miller said. “When the blood is in the water, when the game is on the line.”

    Chuck Smith, a retired NFL defensive end who had 58.5 career sacks before starting his coaching career, shook his head as he rattled off the list of players he had just worked with. “There’s probably a billion dollars out there,” he said.

    Not quite, but he’s not far off. The total active contracts signed by the 30-some NFL veterans are worth more than $750 million. Almost half of that comes from three players: Miller (six-year, $114 million deal in 2016), Donald (six years, $135 million signed last summer) and Clark (five-year, $104 million contract this spring). Jaguars defensive end Ngakoue, heading into the final year of his rookie deal with 29.5 career sacks in three seasons, is likely the next of the bunch to cash in.

    “We hope everyone comes away with, number one, someone they can relate to, and they learn something from someone else. We hope that ultimately to keep and link and grow the pass rush family we got going,” Smith said. “You want guys to come out here and ultimately, at the end of the day, learn a move that gets sacks, because at the end of the day, sacks get you stacks.”

    Miller cues up his highlight reel, starting with a Week 1 sack against Russell Wilson of the Seahawks. In the back of the room, Clark, the former Seahawk, groans. The film session would not be kind to several offensive tackles from around the league, Clark’s former Seattle teammates among them.

    “Not everyone can dip like that, Von!” —DeMarcus Ware

    Miller rewinds and pauses, showing how he and teammate Bradley Chubb correctly diagnosed a bootleg by Rams quarterback Jared Goff that led to a sack, and way he perfectly timed his jump to the snap count for a strip sack against Arizona. On another play against the Cardinals, the players gasp as Miller dips under and around the left tackle for his second sack in that game.

    “Not everyone can dip like that, Von!” shouts Ware.

    Donald’s cutup is next. Again, Clark shakes his head. “It’s going to be all Seahawks,” he says. (Donald had 3.5 sacks in two games against Seattle last year.) Indeed, one of the first plays shown was a rush against Seattle from Week 5. Donald pauses the film to show how he knew Seattle was going to pass (the left guard was in a two-point stance) and stands up and demonstrates how he beat guard J.R. Sweezy with a power pop move.

    “When I’m working the power pop, I work the long arm one way and pop the other way,” Donald said, stretching his right arm up and out, his palm flexed, before chopping with his left hand. “I hit him with the power so he can feel me, and then I pop off him real quick.”

    Around the room, other players nod and pull out their phones and record Donald’s highlights and explanations. While no one else in that room, or in the NFL for that matter, can do exactly what Donald does, they should be able to absorb Donald’s most important tip.

    “Never stop your feet, or you’re dead,” Donald said. “Find a way to keep moving, no matter what.”

    Next, players watch offensive tackle cut-ups from Brown (and much laughter and trash talk ensues after a play in which Brown shuts down Donald in the Super Bowl), and the pair of Jaguars, Campbell and Ngakoue, and Melvin Ingram of the Chargers, whose cut-ups draw the most audible cheers, none louder than when Ingram speeds through an inside spin move for a sack on Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson in the playoffs.

    Some of the most animated discussion comes during Flutie’s highlight reel, who talked the defensive players through his famous Hail Mary for Boston College to beat Miami, along with a handful of plays from his NFL career that spanned three decades. Flutie’s small stature and running style elicited a comparison from one participant to Kyler Murray, the No. 1 overall draft pick and new starting quarterback in Arizona.

    “This is what players want but what teams won’t do,” Ware tells The Athleticfrom his seat in the back of the room. “Bring back the old guys and let them talk. Guys want to hear this stuff.”

    It’s finally Clark’s turn, and it’s like he’s talking directly to the college players and the pass rushers who are still on their rookie deals. Clark parlayed his 13 sacks from last season with the Seahawks (and 32 sacks over the past three years) into a $104 million contract after a trade to the Chiefs. Clark is now the league’s second-highest-paid defensive end and will make $20.8 million in 2019.

    “You want to get paid, you’ve got to hustle. I’ve been hustling my whole life,” Clark said.

    His cut-up opens with one of the nastiest sacks of last season — a pure power rush to knock Raiders rookie left tackle Kolten Miller onto his back leaving a clear shot at quarterback Derek Carr. Few offensive tacklers are immune from Clark’s tongue. Andrew Whitworth, even Mitchell Schwartz, Clark’s new teammate in Kansas City, gets a slight jab.

    “All the shit I talk, I back it up. I know I’m one of the baddest motherfuckers out here.”

    As the film session passed the three-hour mark, Miller shuts it down. Add streamlining the clips to the things he wants to improve at his next summit in 2020. Miller returns to the front of the auditorium and reminds his peers that he’s an open book. He urges them to reach out if they’ve got a common opponent this season. Once game planning for the regular season starts in September, these players know they’ll inevitably see each other on film. They hope the tricks they learned on the field and in the classroom will carry over. They might not be teammates, but the fraternity of pass rushers remains.
     
    #38779 laxjoe, Jun 5, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
  30. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
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    Kareem is going to be a monster this year.
     
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  31. Juke Coolengody

    Juke Coolengody One name. Two men?
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishIndiana PacersIndianapolis Colts

    Heading to the St Joseph, MI area this weekend. Any dinner/breakfast suggestions?

    Will be hanging in that area Saturday evening and then going to Indiana Dunes on Sunday.
     
  32. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
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    What are you looking for? Lots of good stuff up that way.
     
  33. Juke Coolengody

    Juke Coolengody One name. Two men?
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishIndiana PacersIndianapolis Colts

    Something more laid back for dinner - good vibes and maybe close to the river/lake. Neither of us are picky eaters, so any time of cuisine works. Would probably want to walk around a little bit downtown, etc. before and after dinner.

    For breakfast, we're hitting the road decently early to get back over to Indiana Dunes and head back up to Chicago, so something quick would work well. Not sure if there are a few well-known breakfast spots around there. Cliffords Coffee Canal is what I was thinking at this point.
     
  34. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
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    For lake atmosphere Silver Beach pizza (not the best imo but it is good) is the go. right by the beach, Just down the hill from downtown, Several rooftop bars in the area. Breakfast I'm less clear on. Probably some diner in Benton Harbor that appears to be scary.
     
  35. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
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    Lark's BBQ is damn good. Think Frankies if you ever went there. Beyond that St. Joe has become kind of a Chicago haven so stuff has gotten fancy, I don't go there often because South Bend is closer. I'm sure there is stuff there that I don't even know exists.
     
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  36. Juke Coolengody

    Juke Coolengody One name. Two men?
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishIndiana PacersIndianapolis Colts

    Appreciate the suggestions. Lark's BBQ looks great, but not sure we'd want to do something that heavy. Any suggestions on specific rooftop bars?
     
  37. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
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    For people around me RyeBelles is popular, never been there though. Downtown is a postage stamp so wandering around and finding stuff is easy.

    BTW Fuck St. Joe! Niles for fucking ever.
     
  38. Juke Coolengody

    Juke Coolengody One name. Two men?
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishIndiana PacersIndianapolis Colts

    RyeBelles looks pretty cool - may try to hit that up.

    And I've got nothing against Niles. My only experiences there consisted of going to swanky dinner parties at ND professors' houses haha
     
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  39. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
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    I just wanted to get in a HS rivalry shot. Uppity assholes up there, Stevensville is worse.
     
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  40. laxjoe

    laxjoe Well-Known Member
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    Were you reading the South bend Tribune today or something:loldog:

    They did a little write-up on this place today apparently


    Heads up for Juke Coolengody
    I'd download the app and check in while you're walking around downtown
     
    #38790 laxjoe, Jun 6, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
  41. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
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    I was not, I just have my finger on the pulse. :justsayin:
     
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  42. Juke Coolengody

    Juke Coolengody One name. Two men?
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishIndiana PacersIndianapolis Colts

    Big ups - will definitely do this
     
  43. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
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    I'm fairly certain RyeBelles is the old St. Joe Elks building, you'll have street cred if you drop that.

    I'm kidding, no one cares.
     
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  44. IanC

    IanC I'm sorry, the card says Moops
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    No Wait system works well. A few restaurants in my old neighborhood use it. Better in some ways than Open Table shenanigans
     
  45. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
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    The best kind of dust.

     
    a1ND, repoocs, soulfly and 4 others like this.
  46. IHHH

    IHHH Well-Known Member
    Notre Dame Fighting IrishMontreal Canadiens

    I love this man
     
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  47. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
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    Jaylon, Dex, and, Terry Jillery graduating together makes me so oddly happy. 3 dudes I really like for different reasons.
     
    a1ND, repoocs, laxjoe and 6 others like this.
  48. theregionsitter

    theregionsitter Well-Known Member
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    Kyle Hamilton on the left

    :deerstandnotkneel:
     
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  49. 40wwttamgib

    40wwttamgib Fah Q


    [​IMG]
     
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  50. NilesIrish

    NilesIrish Not a master fisher but I know bait when I see it
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    He looks like Max Redfield.

    That scares me a bit.
     
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