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Diggins the star, but Notre Dame doesnt lack for balance
The 2012 Notre Dame football season is in many ways a rebuilding year. Positions like quarterback, wide receiver, outside linebacker, and cornerback are big questions marks for the Irish...
Tom Zbikowski was able to boil the common thread that runs through
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Your best source for quality Notre Dame Fighting Irish news, rumors, analysis, stats and scores from the fan perspective.
The news of Tee Shepard's departure a week before spring practice might have hit some Irish fans particularly hard. Yet most forget that last year, the Irish were hit with an uppercut that made the departure of an unproven true freshman feel like a love tap.
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With just eight games left to play before we reach the Sweet 16, almost all our questions about the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament have been answered. Almost.
Elmer Returning To Recruit
The last time Steve Elmer visited Notre Dame, the Class of 2012 hadn’t been signed and the 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive lineman was the Irish’s only commitment in the 2013 class.
With the 2012 class now inked, the Class of 2013 is the main focus and when Elmer returns to campus this weekend, he’ll have two more Irish pledges with him and looking to add more.
“I’m definitely excited about getting back down there,” the Midland, Mich., prospect said. “I’m looking forward to meeting all of those guys.”
Elmer met the Irish’s latest commit, Minnesota wide receiver James Onwualu, during his last visit to Notre Dame in January, but he hasn’t met Ohio defensive end Jacob Matuska yet. Elmer said he’s been told Matuska will be in attendance.
“I’m glad to finally have things rolling with this class,” said Elmer. “I’m looking forward to seeing James again and looking forward to meeting Jacob Matuska. I haven’t met him yet, so I’m looking forward to meeting him.”
After spending time with Onwualu, Elmer thought he’d be a great fit at Notre Dame and wasn’t surprised to learn he committed.
“No, not at all,” said Elmer. “He wasn’t sure at the time, but it was clear he definitely liked it. I tried to keep in touch with him a little bit and talked to him once in a while. He’s definitely a good fit.”
All three Irish commits will be looking to improve their class this weekend.
“With the other recruits, I think the best thing I can do is get to know them and talk to them,” said Elmer. “I’m sure the coaches will do a great job with everything they know about Notre Dame, but I think it’s my role to help make them feel welcome.
“I know we’re going to see the first padded practice of the season, so that’ll be good to see.”
Elmer keeps in touch with a handful of Midwestern junior prospects, like quarterback Matt Alviti, but not many are expected in town this weekend. Elmer has met Kentucky offensive lineman Hunter Bivin, who will be in attendance.
“I’ve talked to him very briefly, but it’ll be good to talk to him again,” said Elmer.
Like Bivin, Elmer is going to be meeting new Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand for the first time.
“I have been talking to the coaches,” he said. “I’ve been in a lot of contact and I’m looking forward to meeting Coach Hiestand.”
Elmer isn’t sure if he’ll be able to have more of an impact with Bivin than other recruits because they're both offensive linemen who figure to be looking at many of the same things.
“I don’t know,” said Elmer. “I’m pretty new to this, but I’ll find out this weekend. I think it’ll be pretty similar to everyone else, but us having the same coach and playing the same position would mean we’d spend a lot of time together at Notre Dame.”
Recruiting Week In Review
Oh how college football recruiting has changed. It’s still only March and when Notre Dame added the second verbal commitment to the class of 2013 last week many fans breathed only a partial sigh of relief because the Irish are still very far behind much of their competition in commitments. Not so many years ago, two verbal commitments by the third week of March would have been a cause for celebration, but not in the current recruiting climate of college football. Still, it’s important to remember that signing day is still nearly eleven months away and there’s a complete season to play yet. Recruiting is a marathon and the Notre Dame coaching staff appears to be in it for the long haul with this upcoming class. They continue to evaluate prospects and issue new offers. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?
James Onwualu, WR, 6-1, 205, Cretin-Derham Hall, St. Paul, MN planned to attend Notre Dame’s March 24th Junior Day and possibly even commit to play football for the Irish then. Before that, though, he had planned unofficial recruiting visits to Ohio State and Michigan. Onwualu changed his plans, though, and trekked to South Bend last week instead. Though his plans disrupted the vacation plans of Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly and assistant coach Tony Alford, they didn’t seem to mind. They met the talented wide receiver on campus and were rewarded with some very good news.
“I was going to go to Michigan and Ohio State this week, but I just had this feeling and I felt as if I would be wasting my money going to these other places when I knew what I wanted,” stated Onwualu. “I just decided to make the trip to ND and get what I wanted done.”
Onwualu discussed his appreciation for the Kelly and Alford’s change of plans.
“I think they really do take care of the people they care about and it really sealed the deal today because they proved it,” he related. “It’s their spring break and I had Coach Alford up at seven o’clock coming to meet us. Coach Kelly switched up his whole traveling plans and coming to see us. Coach Booker coming in. A lot of the coaches came in to show that they really do care about me and my family and me being a part of their family.”
While Onwualu’s commitment didn’t come as a major surprise, it nevertheless delighted the Notre Dame coaching staff.
“They were extremely excited,” Onwualu stated. “They might have known a little bit that it could be coming, but Coach Kelly was extremely excited. Coach Alford, Coach Martin, all of them were extremely excited to have me.”
The star receiver is completely confident with his decision.
“The school obviously has a great tradition and the football community is huge,” explained the Minnesota standout. “Other than football, I feel very comfortable in the community. I feel very comfortable with everything they’ve set up for my academics. It doesn’t feel like I’m on vacation, it feels as if I’m just hanging out at a place I’ve grown up. That’s important to me.”
Onwualu chose Notre Dame over Stanford, Minnesota and Michigan. He says he’s 100% committed and won’t be taking any visits.
“No, I’m done,” he said of any future visits. “I feel really confident with what I’ve decided today and I’m going to stick with it.”
Onwualu still plans to attend Notre Dame’s Junior Day next weekend, but this time he won’t be the one receiving the recruiting pitch, he’ll be the one making it.
“I’m going to be bringing my parents for the first time and I’m going to meet (Steve) Elmer who I got to meet on my last visit,” he related. “I’m going to be spending some time with him and hopefully getting some other guys to commit.”
Onwualu is excited to make his commitment and get the process finished.
“It feels great,” he enthused. “On top of the great feeling of committing to a great university, it’s good to have that weight off your shoulders. All around, I feel very confident about the whole thing.”
Eric Beisel, LB, 6-4, 240, Rockwood Summit High School, Fenton MO doesn’t yet have a Notre Dame offer but his coach believes he soon will and that an offer would vault the Irish into his star linebacker’s top three.
“I think he’s the kind of kid that Notre Dame will offer and I really think Notre Dame will be in those top two or three schools that he narrows it down to,” said Mike Bellers, Beisel’s head coach. “He’s been on a lot of visits and not spoke too much of it, but the Notre Dame trip, he was pretty excited about it. It was just intriguing from the standpoint of the history and the opportunity to do something not many kids can. I know that he is really intrigued and excited about getting recruited by Notre Dame.”
Beisel visited campus last season for the Navy game and plans to return this spring for the March 24th Junior Day. Bellers has his star pegged as an inside linebacker at the next level.
“I think that’s what he is,” said Bellers. “At 6-4, 240, he’s a run-stopping middle backer. He may be a little bit too big to be on the perimeter, but I think he’s a Mike.”
Bellers described the attributes that makes Beisel a special player.
“Eric does so many things well, but I think he has the hands and hand-eye coordination of a lot of our skill kids, but he comes in a big package,” said Bellers. “He’s got a passion for football that is pretty much unmatched by any of the other kids.”
Beisel possesses a passion for the game that’s evident by his work ethic. He arrives at school early three days a week to lift because he plays baseball in the afternoon. Bellers believes that his star linebacker is a perfect fit for the Irish.
“He fits the mold athletically, size-wise, strength-wise,” explained Bellers. “He’s a good character kid, he comes from a good family. He’s a big ole, redheaded kid which should fit in nicely with Notre Dame.”
These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.
As the end of March approaches, college football fans continue to pine away as they wait for the 2012 season to begin...
Notre Dame and Michigan will meet again under the lights in 2012, this time at Notre Dame Stadium. Of the Irish's eight home night games, three have c
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Last week, Amir Carlisle officially won the case to play in 2012 for Notre Dame . Now the question is when a recent injury will allow him to prepare to do that.
Spring Practice Begins: Wednesday, March 21
Spring Game: Saturday, April 21
Returning Starters: Eight on offense, six on defense, one specialist
Three Things To Watch For:
1. Yet another quarterback competition. Last year at this time it was a battle between Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees. Crist eventually won, but now he's at Kansas and Rees is left battling with Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson and incoming freshman Gunner Kiel. With so many arms competing for the job, odds are the competition won't be won this spring, but somebody could emerge as the leader. Rees has the most experience by far, but he struggled toward the end of last season and lost snaps to Andrew Hendrix. Everett Golson redshirted last season, and like Hendrix, he gives the Irish offense more of a dual-threat. Most eyes, however, will likely be on Gunner Kiel, who comes to South Bend as one of the best quarterbacks in the 2012 recruiting class.
This will be a battler that gets a lot of attention from now through the summer.
2. Finding a new #1 receiver. Michael Floyd was likely the best wide receiver South Bend has ever seen, as he re-wrote the record books during his time at Notre Dame. Which means he will not be easy to replace, but with uncertainty at quarterback, a reliable target emerging amongst Notre Dame's receiving corps would be a big help. Theo Riddick and T.J. Jones return, but neither are the big target that Floyd was. Which means a lot of eyes will be on DaVaris Daniels and Justin Ferguson. Both receivers are 6-foot-2, but neither have seen the field on the college level yet.
3. A brand new secondary. While Brian Kelly has plenty of talent to work with on the defensive line and in the linebacking corps, the Notre Dame defense has a serious lack of experience in the secondary this season, particularly at cornerback. Going into the spring the Irish only have four cornerbacks on the roster in Bennett Jackson, Lo Wood, Jalen Brown and Josh Atkinson . None of them have started a game at Notre Dame, but two of them will be counted on to start every game in 2012.
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Tags: NCAAF, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Dayne Crist, Michael Floyd, Theo Riddick, Andrew Hendrix, Lo Wood, TJ Jones, Tommy Rees, Bennett Jackson, Everett Golson, DaVaris Daniels, Josh Atkinson, Jalen Brown, Spring Practice Primers
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The University of Notre Dame Official Athletic Site, partner of CBS College Sports Networks, Inc. The most comprehensive coverage of Notre Dame Fighting Irish athletics on the web.
After changing his mind from attending his home-state Indiana University to Louisiana State University and then to the University of Notre Dame, highly-touted Gunner Kiel entered ...
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Anyone waiting for Notre Dame to name a starting quarterback by the end of spring practice, be advised to reset your calendar for some time in August. Or later.
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