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Wednesday August 1 Coffee

  • McQuay Talks Top Three, ND

    Sometimes things just don’t work out and there are no hard feelings. That appears to be the case with Leon McQuay III and Michigan.

    The 2013 Tampa safety initially had Michigan in his top three, but that’s changed.

    “They were trying to get me to commit and I wasn’t ready to commit yet,” the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder said here at the Champion Gridiron Kings this weekend.

    “They said they weren’t sure they could hold a spot for me.”

    So now McQuay has a new top three.

    “USC, Vanderbilt and Florida State,” he said.

    Even with numbers apparently an issue at both Michigan and USC, those close to McQuay believe the Wolverines and the Trojans could find space for the talented safety were he to decide he wanted to attend.

    USC’s location stands out among other things to McQuay.

    “Great coaches, great tradition, everything,” he said. “It’s in California, who doesn’t like California?”

    He sees Vanderbilt as a program on the rise.

    “Great coaches, they’re up-and-coming in the SEC,” he said. “I feel like they’re going to be a good team.”

    He sees similar things in the Seminoles.

    “Great coaches, it’s a good program,” he said.

    But McQuay isn’t ready to eliminate other schools including Michigan, Oregon or Notre Dame.

    “It’s pretty much the same about every school,” he said when asked about the Irish. “Great coaches, academics.”

    McQuay had planned on making it to South Bend last fall and this summer, but couldn’t make either trip. Still, he gave Irish assistant Tony Alford his word that he would make a trip and he’s planning to make an official to South Bend sometime this fall.

    McQuay expects to make his decision in late-November and said it will come down to, “Just wherever I feel comfortable and what’s the best place for me.”

    McQuay enjoyed his time at Gridiron Kings, where he had four interceptions and helped the Southeast squad to the title.

    “It was a pretty cool event,” he said. “It turned out better than I thought it was going to be. I didn’t know what it was before, but it was good.”

  • Gridiron Kings Notebook

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - It may not matter now that Notre Dame has picked up a verbal commitment from 2013 Houston running back Jamel James, but as of this weekend, Altee Tenpenny was still planning an official visit to Notre Dame.

    “Nothing’s changed,” the 2013 Alabama running back commit from Arkansas said. “I’m still looking at the same schools and still solid to Alabama.

    “I’m looking at schools to take my officials. I’m looking at Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Georgia and Notre Dame or Tennessee.”

    Tenpenny didn’t talk to Notre Dame as much as he wanted in the days leading up to the Champion Gridiron Kings, but he plans on doing so soon.

    “I’ve been in touch with Coach Tony Alford, but I haven’t really been getting in touch with him like I wanted to be because we’ve been working out,” he said. “I have to go back to Arkansas and pick that up.”

    At least before James’ pledge, Alford had been working on getting Tenpenny on campus.

    “He’s just trying to get me to Notre Dame as quick as he can,” Tenpenny said of Alford. “He says the atmosphere is different.”

    Tenpenny has also heard from Notre Dame Nation via social media.

    “On Twitter, I’ve been receiving a lot of love from the Notre Dame fan base,” he said. “A couple commits down here have talked to me. It’s been great. They’ve been saying, ‘Just come down. Come visit.’ They’ve been asking me if I’m still looking at them.”

    Tenpenny has done research on the Irish, but in a more historical context to this point.

    But he still considers himself a solid Crimson Tide commit and remembers the day he made that pledge.

    “January 28th,” he said. “I went down there for Junior Day. Everything was right, the atmosphere was great. The coaches had been showing me a lot of love from the beginning of the process until I committed and still even now.”

    He just wants to take advantage of the opportunities the recruiting process offers.

    “After this year, there won’t be any more high school for me, there won’t be any more high school football,” he said. “There won’t be any more camps besides when I go to the NFL Combine, but other than that, why not enjoy it?”

    OTHER GK NOTES: We’ll have much more in the days to come, but wanted to get a few notes out there right away.

    First, Leon McQuay III confirmed his new top three as Vanderbilt, Florida State and USC. The Seminoles replaced Michigan as the Wolverines said they couldn’t promise to save him a spot beyond this weekend. It’s not clear how USC intends to handle recruiting the Class of 2013 moving forward, but those close to McQuay believe the Trojans and Wolverines would find room for him if he wanted to come. McQuay is also still looking at Notre Dame and Oregon. He made a promise to Alford that he would visit before deciding and plans on making good on his word.

    Illinois receiver LaQuon Treadwell also says he’s still considering the Irish. Treadwell has been a strong Michigan lean for some time now, but wants to see Brady Hoke’s pro-style offense this season before making a pledge. In the meantime, he’s looking at Notre Dame, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State among others. He said he’s looking at possibly returning to South Bend before the summer ends.

    California cornerback L.J. Moore remains set to visit Notre Dame for the Irish’s game against Michigan, but he’s also trying to work out an unofficial visit to South Bend in a couple of weeks. Moore also has an official visit set to Oklahoma for the Sooner’s game against the Irish.

    Texas linebacker Deon Hollins visited UCLA last week and his pledge to the Bruins grew stronger. Still, he’s planning to take an official visit to Notre Dame and possibly others. Boise State is still a school he mentions while Washington appears to be back on the board. The Huskies seemingly dropped after an unofficial earlier this month, but Hollins said he could take an official to Washington.

    Pennsylvania wide receiver Tyler Boyd expanded on his feelings following the sanctions levied against Penn State last week. Boyd hasn’t eliminated the Nittany Lions, but did say one of his dreams in college was to play in bowl games and obviously that wouldn’t be possible at Penn State until after the 2016 season.

    California cornerback Chris Hawkins is a solid USC commit, but he’s still looking to take official visits, although his list has changed a bit. Notre Dame has always been a school he planned to take an official to and he still does, but Washington is no longer on the board. His visit schedule now includes USC, Notre Dame, Oregon, Arizona State and Alabama.

    With his senior season set to start next week, Arizona defensive back Priest Willis says he’s done taking unofficial visits for the summer. He has official visits already set to Notre Dame, LSU and Nebraska.

  • Top 2014 Tight End Waiting For ND
    If you look at the number of offers he's already received, Jeb Blazevich could quite possibly be considered one of the best tight ends in the 2014 class. If you don't believe me ask Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Mark Richt or a number of other big-time college coaches that seem to want to add the talented sophomore to their programs.

    “I'm up around 16 offers already,” claimed Blazevich. “When I received my first offer I was like, ‘Wow !’, but then came my first SEC offer, then came LSU, and then Ohio State, Georgia, South Carolina and then they kept coming. Looking back on it now, I'm thankful for all of them.” Gaining so much attention early in his recruitment, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end decided that it might be best to start looking at some of these schools now rather than wait.

    “We've been traveling around a little bit and went to LSU, Tennessee, Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State,” shared the Charlotte Christian standout. “We've been trying to see what these schools have to offer. It's also been great spending time with my dad.”

    During his trip through Baton Rouge, Blazevich had a chance to mix it up with a current 2013 Notre Dame recruiting prospect.

    “It was a true honor to go against Kendall Beckwith at LSU's camp,” he said. “After a while we were just getting after it and its kind of fun to compete against someone like that.”

    Charlotte Christian struggled a bit in 2011, which is uncharacteristic for the proud program, but this year they look to get things back on track for 2012.

    “Last year we went 5-5 and that is totally unacceptable for our team,” stated Blazevich bluntly. “We are definitely a team on the rise and as long as I'm Charlotte Christian, it'll never happen again. We have the players and the coaches to be successful, so you're going to hear a lot more about some of the guys here in the near future.”

    With that type of attitude and leadership it's easy to see why so many collegiate programs would love to have him in the fold, but that's definitely not all he brings to the table.

    “I would say I'm a very dependable pass catcher,” said the talented tight end. “That's something I pride myself on. Wherever the ball is I'm going to go get it and I definitely don't mind hitting. I try to be a game-changer and always there for my team. They know if it's third down, and they throw the ball to me, I'm going to catch it.”

    Taking in to account Notre Dame's recent history with All-American caliber tight ends, Blazevich seems to be a player that would be right up their alley, but that hasn’t been the consensus thus far.

    “I haven't heard anything from Notre Dame yet, but we just had a player from our school commit to go there (Matthias Farley),” he shared. “Really, I haven't heard anything at all.

    “I would definitely take a look at Notre Dame if they showed interest in me, but right now we are just going to take a look at all of our options. At this point, I don't feel like I need to go searching for a team.

    “Notre Dame would be a great option, but you have to go where the love is.”

    Does he know much about the Irish?

    “I know they have a great tradition and a great tradition of winning,” admitted Blazevich. "That's pretty much all I know about them. I've never been up there and I've only seen a couple games on TV.”

    With his offer sheet growing weekly, the North Carolina native has ideas on what he'll be looking for at the next level.

    “I'm looking for a school that has a coach with integrity,” added the tight end. “I'm looking for a person that can develop me as a student, an athlete and get me ready for the league.

    “I'm also looking for a winning tradition and a winning program.”

  • Tommy Rees Suspended: The Door of Opportunity Opens for Andrew Hendrix & Everett Golson
    by Eric Murtaugh on Aug 1, 2012 11:04 AM EDT

    Tommy Rees Suspended: The Door of Opportunity

    Tommy Rees was recently suspended for Notre Dame's season opener against Navy in Dublin, Ireland. One Foot Down takes a look at what other quarterbacks could emerge as the Irish signal-caller in Rees' absence.
  • Notre Dame LB Calabrese enters diversion program

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame linebacker Carlo Calabrese has entered into a pretrial diversion program that calls for a misdemeanor intimidation charge against him to be dismissed if he performs 20 hours of community service and isn't arrested again in the next year.

    Calabrese was arrested May 3 after an off-campus party. Police said he became upset when quarterback Tommy Rees was arrested, ignored warnings to stay out of the street and twice told an officer, "My people will get you."

    Calabrese, a 21-year-old senior, signed the agreement on July 25. The 20-year-old Rees pleaded guilty last month to misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor.

    Notre Dame has suspended Rees and Calabrese for the Sept. 1 season opener against Navy in Ireland.

  • Spotlight on Golson with Rees suspended

    All eyes have been on you since this spring, when we finally got to see you in action -- first during several glimpses of practice, then with 31,582 fans watching at Notre Dame Stadium for the Blue-Gold game.

    That dual-threat ability, the kind that can make your coach's spread offense really explode, was on display for all to see. You completed 11 of 15 passes for 120 yards, threw for two touchdowns and rushed for 25 yards on six tries. All of those numbers were better than your three competitors, and you were the only signal caller to not turn the ball over.

    Your scrambling and your difficulty with getting some plays in on time were enough to make your coach, Brian Kelly, crack a heart attack joke. But remember, that was April.

    This is the last day of July, with fall practice kicking off in four days, your coach addressing the media one day before that, when he surely will be asked why Tommy Rees and Carlo Calabrese were suspended from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Ireland when Michael Floyd missed no games a year earlier.

    A month from tomorrow you will be playing Navy, and if fans get their wish, you will be taking the first snap, a scenario all the more likely now that your team's only quarterback with any substantial leg up will be relegated to watch from home on Sept. 1.

    But whatever Rees learned about the playbook from two-plus years under center, whatever level of toughness he developed from an up-and-down 16-game starting experience, it won't matter. Your 151 career touchdown passes in high school -- the sixth-most in national high school history -- won't matter much either. It's about what you do during this next month to show your coaches that you have absorbed the playbook, can command a huddle and will be able to read and understand defenses.

    Mistakes will occur, because they do for even the most hardened of quarterbacks. But you will need to have a short memory. No one wants a repeat of last season, a changing of the guard after the first snap has been taken and the season has begun. That might just mean your biggest obstacle to becoming Notre Dame's full-time starting quarterback is out of the way. What you do between now and Sept. 1 to separate yourself from the slightly more-experienced Andrew Hendrix and the prized newcomer Gunner Kiel could dictate your future, and it could go a long way in shaping your team's.

    Spotlight on Golson with Rees suspended - Not

    Everett Golson, we're looking at you. All eyes have been on you since this spring, when we finally got to see you in action -- first during several g