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Do or Die for Notre Dame Football?

Brian Kelly - Notre Dame Coaching Changes

Every college football season is important. Unlike the NFL, which compensates poor performing teams with first dibs on elite talent through the NFL Draft, a string of underwhelming seasons can set a program back for years. After back-to-back middling seasons, many media outlets are projecting Notre Dame to make a serious run this fall, and if the Irish don’t, they will face a very difficult road to becoming a top-tier program on a consistent basis. Head coach Brian Kelly’s most recent Irish Invasion recruiting event netted Notre Dame some class of 2016 talent, landing three verbal commitments in a span ...

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Instant Maturity: KeiVarae Russell and Avery Sebastian

Keivarae Russell - Notre Dame CB

Two vintage wines recently arrived in South Bend from West Coast vineyards.  Avery Sebastian came in from Berkeley and KeiVarae Russell from Tacoma. Last Spring Brian Van Gorder and Kerry Cooks were moving along counting on KeiVarae Russell as the cornerstone cornerback, and grizzled vet and captain-in-waiting Austin Collinsworth shepherding the young safeties, with Eilar Hardy and Nicky Baratti as Collinsworth’s lieutenants and assisting with the kids.  Russell was rated by Phil Steele as the #7 cornerback in America.  (FWIW, the six listed above him were all drafted in the 2014 NFL draft.) Oops! Van Gorder and Cooks, by the ...

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Notre Dame’s Academic ‘Risks’ are Self-Inflicted

(Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Kelly has endured several academic scandals since agreeing to take the head coaching position at Notre Dame in December of 2010, and perhaps the cumulative impact of those scandals has led to increased candor, as Kelly did not hold back when the subject of academics was raised when speaking recently to the South Bend Tribune. “I think we recognized that all of my football players are at risk – all of them – really.  Honestly, I don’t know that any of our players would get into the school by themselves right now with the academic standards the way they ...

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Ishaq Williams Readmitted to Notre Dame

Ishaq Williams - Notre Dame DE

Over the weekend we learned that Keivarae Russell was back with Notre Dame, but that had long been expected.  On Monday we learned that a bit more surprisingly, Ishaq Williams has reportedly also been readmitted to Notre Dame after his suspension following last summer’s academic investigation. It has been widely expected for months that Russell would not only be back at the University, but that there was a spot on the roster waiting for him as soon as he returned.  With Williams, however, it was never clear if he even be back at Notre Dame let alone a member of ...

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The Battle for Notre Dame’s No. 2 Quarterback

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas // USA TODAY Sports

Everyone knew there would be a quarterback competition at Notre Dame heading into the fall. How many knew it would be between redshirt freshman DeShone Kizer and incoming true freshman Brandon Wimbush is the true question. The departure of Everett Golson to Florida State via the graduate transfer rule upended the balance of Notre Dame’s depth chart at quarterback. Suddenly, Malik Zaire sits alone at the top while his future backup remains unclear. But Wimbush, who will arrive to campus in June, is preparing himself for the increased timetable. “I was really shocked,” Wimbush said to the media upon hearing ...

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Time for Notre Dame’s Backfield to Shine

CJ Prosise Training at RB

One of the major storylines that emerged during Notre Dame’s spring practice sessions was the stellar performance of slot receiver C.J. Prosise when given the opportunity to cross-train at the running back position. “C.J.’s as good a player as we’ve got on the offensive football team right now, in my opinion,” said associate head coach Mike Denbrock.  “You saw what he can do if you hand him the ball, and we saw [it] in the LSU game.” Prosise showcased his potential to be a star in Notre Dame’s Music City Bowl victory over LSU when he rushed for 75-yards on ...

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5 Intriguing Notre Dame Football Games in 2015

Photo: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

As the beginning of August approaches, most college football programs face at least a handful of uncertainties heading into the 2015 season, and the Irish are no different. Whether it be who emerges at tight end, can the Irish generate a pass rush, or can the program as a whole avoid the injury bug that plagued them in 2014? These are all legitimate questions that will play out over the duration of the season, but lack expedited resolutions. The one area that does provide some immediate gratification is the schedule for the upcoming season, and while a fluid situation due ...

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