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Wednesday March 28 Coffee

  • Notre Dame Football recruiting: QB Zaire picks Irish

    Notre Dame on Sunday landed its fourth commitment of the weekend, this from Kettering, Ohio, quarterback Malik Zaire. national recruiting writer Steve Wiltfong reported the commitment Sunday.
    The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Zaire plays at Archbishop Alter High School.
    Earlier Sunday, offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey of Philadelphia picked the Irish. On Saturday, ND picked up commitments from offensive tackles Colin McGovern and Hunter Bivin.
    ND now has seven verbal commitments in its recruiting class of 2013.

  • Robinson Picks ND

    Notre Dame has grabbed commitment number nine in the form of San Antonio receiver Corey Robinson.

    Robinson, the son of NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson, visited Notre Dame for the Irish’s Junior Day this past weekend and made his decision on Tuesday night, according to San Antonio Christian coach Brandon Parrott.

    "Done, it's official," Parrott said via text.

    It was actually Robinson's second trip to South Bend as he and his father also visited for last fall’s game against Navy.

    "My dad and I loved the visit but I didn't want to make a decision off of emotion," he said. "I wanted to take a few days to think it over and pray and everything led me back to Notre Dame."

    The 6-foot-4, 195-pound receiver landed his first offer from Notre Dame last month before adding offers from Iowa, North Carolina, Navy, Kansas and Wake Forest.

    "It's the combination of academics, spirtuality and football," he explained. "I felt a connection with the coaches and the players, so I didn't see a reason to wait any longer. Coach [Brian] Kelly has the program headed in the right direction and we're putting together a great class. We all connected on the visit."

    Robinson is the ninth commitment for the Irish in the Class of 2013 and the sixth pledge from a Junior Day visitor since Saturday.

    The Irish's offensive recruiting haul is especially coming into shape.

    Robinson joins Minnesota's James Onwualu to give Notre Dame a pair of wide receiver commits. Notre Dame also picked up a pledge from Ohio quarterback Malik Zaire over the weekend along with three offensive line commitments - Kentucky's Hunter Bivin, Pennsylvania's Mike McGlinchey and Illinois' Colin McGovern - to go with Michigan's Steve Elmer.

    Click here to read Robinson's reaction following his Junior Day visit.

    Irish Sports Daily will have more with Notre Dame's newest pledge soon.

  • Junior Day: Behind The Scenes

    ‘Zone Left’ will never go down in Notre Dame folklore with ‘Pass Right,’ nor should it, but it does symbolize the devotion of the Irish staff to their recruits, particularly Hunter Bivin.

    Bivin got to South Bend less than 24 hours before he became a Notre Dame commitment and made a quick stop by the Gug upon his arrival on Friday night.

    The day before Chuck Martin would ask the Kentucky offensive lineman what was holding up his commitment, the Notre Dame offensive coordinator had another question for Bivin.

    What play did he want Martin to open Saturday’s scrimmage with?

    “I called a Zone to the left,” said Bivin. “It was really cool. It kind of demonstrates that he’s a genuine guy who cares a lot about his recruits. He’s really passionate about Notre Dame and he’s full of energy. He’s a great dude.”

    Turns out Bivin may have a future as a play-caller.

    “I got to talk to Zack Martin a little bit at lunch on Saturday and he said the zone was going for about five yards a pop,” said Bivin. “They were rolling up the d-line. It was really good to see that my play-calling worked out well for them.”

    PLAYING IT STRAIGHT: Recruits are becoming more sophisticated these days when it comes to determining the sincerity of college coaches. Surely, recruiters are good at their jobs, but many of today's recruits seem to be a step ahead of the recruiters and possess the ability to sniff out things that don’t seem right.

    By all reports, the Notre Dame coaches were completely honest about all aspects of the university, pro and con. They were backed up with even more honesty from the current Irish players.

    The lack of full-on, all-out sales pitches will give the Irish much-needed credibility down the road. Multiple parents told Irish Sports Daily that as they go through their research, Notre Dame is one school with which they don’t have to worry about sorting fact from fiction.

    HARRY HOUDINI: The first recruit Irish Sports Daily talked to about new Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand was Mark Harrell. The 2012 Notre Dame signee said Hiestand was an old-fashioned offensive line coach who he thought would do well as a recruiter.

    Harrell was right.

    Bivin’s only real reservation about Notre Dame coming into the weekend was meeting Hiestand and the new assistant played a major part in closing that deal. He also hit home runs with Colin McGovern and Mike McGlinchey, who didn’t necessarily plan on committing this weekend, but felt comfortable enough with Hiestand to sign up.

    The affection for Hiestand extends to the current members of the Irish offensive line. The recruits had the chance to spend plenty of time asking current players questions and all of the reports on Hiestand came back very positive.

    ONWUALU HITS RIGHT NOTES: If Hiestand was the top recruiter for the weekend, James Onwualu was 1A.

    The Minnesota receiver committed to the Irish a week before the Junior Day, but came back down to South Bend with the singular purpose of strengthening Notre Dame’s 2013 class. Onwualu has taken an aggressive approach to recruiting, but has still managed to avoid pressuring recruits.

    Onwualu says it’s more important for him to become friends with prospects than it is for him to try to sell them on Notre Dame. His goal is to give recruits an idea of the kind of people who go to Notre Dame. He definitely hit his mark this weekend.

    Not only did Onwualu play a role in the commitments of quarterback Malik Zaire and athlete Rashad Kinlaw, he also formed solid bonds with running back Ryan Green, cornerback Tre Bell, athlete Ezekiel Elliott and linebackers Doug Randolph and Alex Anzalone.

    The players and families the Irish brought in really meshed well and strong bonds are beginning to take shape.

    Look for Onwualu to continue having an impact moving forward as he’s already working on other top prospects from across the country.

    ZAIRE SCORES ONE FOR ND: Notre Dame fans worried about Urban Meyer’s presence in Columbus impacting the Irish’s ability to recruit the state of Ohio can count one victory.

    Had Jim Tressel still been the head coach at Ohio State, Zaire would almost assuredly be a Buckeye commit right now. The quarterback’s scholarship offer was still valid when Meyer took over, but he didn’t feel as comfortable with Ohio State’s new coach as he did with its previous one.

    Things couldn’t have worked out better from Zaire’s point of view. He always liked Notre Dame, but never had the chance to really experience it before this past weekend and he probably would have never had the chance if not for the shakeup in Columbus. At Notre Dame, Zaire found the perfect fit for him on and off the field.

    He made his decision on Saturday, but wanted to sleep on it before calling the Irish coaches on Sunday to fill them in.

    Zaire exudes confidence without being cocky and figures to be a natural leader for the Irish when he arrives and as a recruiter before so.

    ND NOT DOWN OR OUT FOR RANDOLPH: Typically when a committed recruit visits another school, it serves as that school’s opportunity to surge ahead.

    But Virginia linebacker Doug Randolph isn’t your typical recruit.

    Randolph said all of the right things coming out of his visit to Notre Dame and maintained his commitment to Stanford, but the Irish put on a great show for him and his family and definitely remain in the race. Randolph played it neutral for most of the day, but fellow recruits and their families were amused when he was seen sporting a Notre Dame shirt later in the evening.

    WHO’S NEXT?: You can’t blame Notre Dame fans for getting greedy after snagging five commitments in the wake of Saturday’s Junior Day. It’s likely more prospects from the event will sign up as well, but when?

    Florida running back Ryan Green left his second trip with the Irish as his clear leader. He’d be our best bet for the Irish’s next pledge from the group that was on campus this weekend. St. Louis athlete Ezekiel Elliott is another possibility, but neither is a sure thing at this point.

    New Jersey cornerback Tre Bell was blown away by the visit and may have found the perfect fit for him. His statement about Notre Dame being just like his current school, St. Peter’s Prep, cannot be stressed enough. Still, Bell isn’t quite ready to make a decision yet. He’ll visit Florida, his childhood favorite, on April 7th for the Gators’ spring game. He’s set to visit South Carolina the next weekend and West Virginia after that. There is a chance that Bell could return to South Bend for the Irish’s spring game. If that happens, it’d be a pretty clear indication of his leader.

    Dallas linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni left Notre Dame with an offer from the Irish and he too could end up returning to South Bend again, although no dates have been looked at yet. Mastrogiovanni was accompanied by his mother, who has some family in the area, this past weekend, but his father would like to experience Notre Dame as well. Mastrogiovanni is still eyeing a summer decision, but one could come sooner and the Irish are in a very strong position.

    New Jersey defensive end/linebacker Dajaun Drennon isn’t a prospect who is looking to make a decision anytime soon, but he is one who will definitely be returning to Notre Dame. Drennon was one of the prospects struck by the honesty from the Notre Dame program, especially from Aaron Lynch and Manti Te’o. The hybrid defender is looking forward to taking in the atmosphere for a game at Notre Dame Stadium this fall.

  • Recruiting Week In Review

    Notre Dame’s second Junior Day last Saturday was a resounding success. Not only did the Irish gain a number of verbal commitments, but they also vaulted themselves to the top of several recruits’ lists. By Sunday, Notre Dame had basically filled all of their offensive line needs in the class of 2013 and also found a quarterback to play behind that line. They also became the clear leader for the top running back on their recruiting board. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?

    Malik Zaire, QB, 6-1, 190, Archbishop Alter High School, Dayton, OH didn’t arrive at Notre Dame’s second Junior Day on Saturday with the intention of making a verbal commitment to the Irish. Zaire did leave open the possibility that he could commit if he “fell in love” with Notre Dame. Apparently, he did fall in love because on Sunday, after taking a night to think about it, Zaire contacted the Notre Dame coaches and told them that he was Irish.

    “I definitely fell in love,” said Zaire. “I had an open mind going into it. I’ve always liked Notre Dame but I never really knew a lot about them. But I definitely got a chance to experience that, going to quarterback meetings, going to practice. Then I think being around the team a little bit opened my eyes to how special that program is. I think I could fit in there and fit in well.”

    Zaire chose Notre Dame over Wisconsin, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Alabama and others. Zaire felt like he fit in well at Notre Dame, both on and off the field.

    “I definitely like the offense a lot,” he said. “The offense is definitely something that fits me because they run a lot of the same stuff at my high school that Notre Dame does. It won’t be as much of a transition in learning new footwork and stuff.”

    Zaire also talked about the off-field attraction to Notre Dame.

    “I think the school sets you up, not just for a four year plan, but a forty year plan,” he explained. “It can take you far in life and help you be very successful once sports are over. I think that’s something everybody should look at in recruiting, a place that can set you up for life after sports and somewhere you would love to be not playing sports. I think if you look at it from that aspect, you’ll definitely find the place you want to be.”

    The Irish coaching staff also made a tremendous impression on their top running back prospect. The Notre Dame coaches made it clear to Ryan Green (pictured), RB, 5-11, 190, St. Petersburg Catholic High School, St. Petersburg, FL that he was their number one prospect at the running back position. By the time Green left Notre Dame’s Junior Day, the Irish were also number one with him.

    “Notre Dame is definitely at the top of the list,” stated the talented Floridian. When asked who else was near the top he responded, “Right now, absolutely no one.”

    Green, though, has an extremely impressive offer list with top programs like LSU, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Auburn and Ohio State recruiting him heavily. With such a prestigious list of suitors, he’s not quite ready to pull the trigger.

    “It’s going to be tough,” Green said. “I’m just going to evaluate some more.”

    Though he’s not yet ready to make a decision, Green doesn’t have any more visits planned, at least partly because the Irish coaching staff made a very solid impression with him at the Junior Day.

    “Them hitting key points of what I’m looking for in my recruitment and stuff like that,” said Green of how the Irish staff impressed him. “Academics first of all and saying that even if I don’t go pro, that Notre Dame degree would get me anywhere in life. It’s basically a backup plan.”

    Notre Dame also impressed Green with their loyalty to him.

    “It’s just motivation for me to work harder,” explained Green. “I know I’m the top running back for their class, but it’s just motivation for me to work harder.”

    Though Green visited Notre Dame last fall for the Air Force game, it wasn’t until last weekend that he got the full campus tour.

    “I like the campus,” he said. “It’s a beautiful campus; a small campus. I didn’t realize how small it was, but it was beautiful.”

    Green got to watch the Irish football team participate in their first padded practice of the spring and came away impressed.

    “I like the practice, an intense practice,” Green observed. “I like how they have a brotherhood. They compete but they’re not trying to hurt each other.”

    Green got the chance to meet with Notre Dame wide receiver commit James Onwualu.

    “I met James and talked with him a lot,” said Green. “He was telling me some of the reasons why he wanted to go to Notre Dame and stuff like that.”

    James felt very good about his Junior Day experience.

    “It went pretty good,” he said. “A good day all in all; a long day, but it was a good day.”

    These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.

  • Irish enamored with Hendrix

    Without Michael Floyd to rely on, the task might be a little tougher for Notre Dame's next starting quarterback -- whoever that is. Can top Class of 2012 signal-caller Gunner Kiel get the starting nod in the season opener against Navy in Ireland? Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly has scaled back the offense this spring in an effort to get all of the QBs on an even playing field, which may not bode well for incumbent Tommy Rees. ... The offensive staff is obviously enamored by Andrew Hendrix, based on the fact that his reps increased significantly down the stretch in 2011. He is a better runner and has a stronger arm than Rees. Everett Golson possesses the most athleticism of all the combatants and has a year under his belt.

  • Not a heck of a lot is new other than what we all have read about.
    The recruiting is red hot. It's a bee-you-tea-full thing.

    A very important spot that needs to be filled will have a big
    visitor this weekend---

    MIKE HEUERMAN 6-4/215 TE will arrive THURSDAY evening and stay 3 days.
    He is our #1 TE guy---excellent receiver. He is visiting OSU next weekend
    and may then make his decision---he is pumped to visit he said.

    Speaking of visitors ORIN KREUTZ former All-Pro center is visiting
    today's practice. He played for HARRY HIESTAND when they both were
    with the BEARS.

    COACH HIESTAND is doing a great job---the OL guys like him and that
    is a plus and OL recruiting is 1st class. MIKE McCLINCHNEY said
    Coach HIESTAND was a big reason he committed to ND.

    DAYNE CRIST is starting the spring at KANSAS as #1 QB.
    I hope you stay that way all season DAYNE.

    Talking about COREY ROBINSON's potential height. The EAGLES had a WR
    named HAROLD CARMICHEL who was an All-Pro and stood 6-8. With COREY'S
    heventual height and wingspan he will be a great target in the endzone.

    Who's next? ELLIOTT, BELL-----#10 before APRIL, Maybe.