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Author Archives: Scott Janssen

Why 2016 is the Most Important Season of the Brian Kelly Era

Brian Kelly - Notre Dame Head Coach

Last week’s National Signing Day closely mirrored the 2015 football season for Notre Dame. Head coach Brian Kelly fell just short of securing the signatures of two impact 5-star linebackers, a development that could have turned a good recruiting class into a great one. Likewise, Notre Dame’s last second losses to Clemson and Stanford caused the 2015 football team to fall just short of a playoff appearance. And falling just short has been an unfortunate central theme during Kelly’s tenure in South Bend. Despite his inability to date to assert Notre Dame as a powerhouse on the college football scene, ...

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Final ’16 Notre Dame Recruiting Predictions

Ben Davis - Notre Dame LB Recruit

For the past month UHND has brought you weekly recruiting updates as Notre Dame seeks to fill the final few spots in its 2016 recruiting class. With only a few days left until National Signing Day it’s time to make final predictions on where each of Notre Dame’s remaining recruiting targets is headed. The prospects listed below are placed in order by star ranking. Ben Davis Hometown: Gordo, AL Position: LB Star Ranking: Rivals 5-star; 24/7 5-star; ESPN 4-star Top Offers: Alabama, Florida State, LSU Notre Dame’s recruitment of 5-star linebacker Ben Davis is one of the finest of the ...

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Weekly Notre Dame Football Recruiting Roundup 1/25

Ben Davis - Notre Dame LB Recruit

With less than two weeks remaining until National Signing Day Notre Dame’s recruiting board is beginning to become more focused. Athlete Jonah Morris – a newcomer to UHND’s watch list last week – dropped off nearly as quickly as he arrived, with Morris officially eliminating Notre Dame from his list of options. The subtraction of Morris leaves seven prospects (four linebackers, two wide receivers and one defensive back) with several open slots left for Notre Dame’s 2016 recruiting class. Jonathan Jones Hometown: Orlando, FL Position: LB Star Ranking: Rivals 3-star; 24/7 3-star; ESPN 3-star Top Offers: Georgia, Florida, LSU Trending: ...

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Weekly Notre Dame Football Recruiting Roundup 1/17

Notre Dame Football Recruiting 2016

Each week UHND will bring you the latest recruiting information until National Signing Day on February 3rd. Last week saw Notre Dame land a commitment from one of the biggest names on its board, star wide receiver Javon McKinley. This week, with only several spots left in Notre Dame’s class, new names crack the list as recruits to keep an eye on moving forward. Ben Davis Hometown: Gordo, AL Position: LB Star Ranking: Rivals 5-star; 24/7 5-star; ESPN 4-star Top Offers: Alabama, Florida State, LSU Trending: ↑ Say what you will about Ben Davis being a long shot to end ...

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Weekly Notre Dame Football Recruiting Roundup 1/10

Jeffrey McCulloch

With bowl season come and gone the focus turns to an arena that plays a critical role in the future success of all college football programs: recruiting. Thanks to head coach Brian Kelly’s team securing double digit victories this season and falling just short of a playoff appearance, Notre Dame is in excellent position with several of the nation’s best uncommitted recruits. UHND will profile the biggest recruiting names every week until National Signing Day on February 3rd. Javon McKinley *COMMITTED* Hometown: Corona, CA Position: WR Star Ranking: Rivals 4-star; 24/7 4-star; ESPN 3-star Top Offers: Ohio State, Oregon, USC ...

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Notre Dame’s Red Zone Woes Collide with Top-Rated Ohio State Defense

Photo: Matt Cashore // USA TODAY Sports

For all the intricate storylines making the Ohio State and Notre Dame Fiesta Bowl pairing an even more attractive matchup, and the multiple elements that need to be present for the Fighting Irish to pull off an upset, perhaps no piece of the Ohio State puzzle is more critical to Notre Dame than red zone production. And if head coach Brian Kelly has an answer to that puzzle, he’s kept it close to the vest since his arrival in South Bend six years ago. The failure to produce in the red zone has been an unwelcomed cornerstone of the Irish ...

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5 Keys to Notre Dame Defeating Ohio State

Deshone Kizer - Notre Dame QB

There’s a reason Notre Dame is a touchdown underdog to Ohio State in this year’s Fiesta Bowl matchup on New Year’s Day, and it has everything to do with the Buckeyes winning 25 of their last 27 contests. However, it’s important to remember Notre Dame was also a touchdown underdog to LSU in last year’s Music City Bowl, and the keys to defeating the Tigers, as UHND outlined leading up to kickoff, involved committing to the running game to keep LSU’s talented running back, Leonard Fournette, off the field. The plan worked, and Notre Dame was able to keep pace ...

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Notre Dame and Ohio State Dislike One Another, and it’s Fantastic

Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

If ever there were two programs capable of demonstrating that a rivalry can indeed exist without ever actually playing one another, it’d be Notre Dame and Ohio State. The storylines between the two are so deep and interlaced that a collision in a postseason bowl game had an almost inevitable quality. STOCK UP ON NOTRE DAME FIESTA BOWL GEAR! Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2016 Fiesta Bowl Bound Snap Long Sleeve T-Shirt – Navy $32.99 The animosity’s origin began ten years ago when current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer jilted a listing Notre Dame program in favor of the Florida ...

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Notre Dame Hit Homerun with Mike Sanford, Autry Denson

Mike Sanford Notre Dame OC

Notre Dame fans had every reason to feel anxious heading into the 2015 season. Head coach Brian Kelly had masterfully managed to keep cohesion within his coaching staff since heading to South Bend in 2010, but the endless coaching carousel of college football can only be kept at bay for so long. Kelly lost a number of assistant coaches this past offseason, although none as costly as Tony Alford, Notre Dame’s running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. Alford was the one Kelly would dispatch when making one last recruiting pitch to a blue-chip prospect, and Alford served as Notre Dame’s ...

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Despite Loss, 2015 Notre Dame Football Season a Success

Photo:  Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

When Stanford’s kicker, Conrad Ukropina, lined up for a game-winning 45-yard field goal attempt, Notre Dame fans everywhere held their breath, hoping the season-long dream of a national championship wouldn’t come to an end. And make no mistake – a run at a national title was the goal heading into 2015, with head coach Brian Kelly boasting the most talented roster South Bend had seen since 1993. But Irish fans, closing their eyes in dismay as Ukropina’s kick stayed true and sealed the game for Stanford, failed to realize Notre Dame’s playoff chances had been extinguished in Stillwater, Oklahoma, well ...

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Notre Dame Earns Pyrrhic Victory at Fenway

Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer dropped back in the pocket, planted his foot and unleashed a beautiful 40-yard pass to star wide receiver Will Fuller, who had blown past his coverage and was streaking free down the sideline. Leading 19-9 late in the game, Notre Dame was primed to put the finishing touches on the Boston College Eagles and capture some much needed style points in the process. Instead, in a turn of events that has mirrored Notre Dame’s season all too well, Fuller lost focus and let the ball get into his body – a reoccurring mistake wide receivers ...

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Notre Dame Trudges on to 9-1 Record

Jaylon Smith - Notre Dame LB

Move along, because there’s nothing to see here. The average college football fan looking at final results from this past weekend’s games will see the 28-7 score alongside Notre Dame and Wake Forest’s names and will quickly move on to other contests, thinking little more than Notre Dame handled its business against a lesser opponent. And that’s exactly what head coach Brian Kelly’s team did. Sure, it wasn’t pretty. The offensive line had its worst performance of the season. Minus a 98-yard touchdown by true freshman running back Josh Adams – the longest in Notre Dame Stadium’s history – the ...

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Notre Dame Sets Stage for Stanford Showdown

Notre Dame Football

It’s time to talk Stanford. It’s understandable why someone might feel such a move a tad presumptuous – after all, Notre Dame still has two contests remaining before making the long trek to Palo Alto, and head coach Brian Kelly would be the first person to admonish any effort to look beyond the next game. But realistically, Notre Dame will be playing for a playoff berth when kicking off against the Stanford Cardinal in just a few short weeks. Wake Forest is 3-6 and boasts one of the most anemic offenses in the nation, ranking No. 116 in scoring offense ...

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Notre Dame Mired by Inconsistency

Deshone Kizer - Fumble vs. Temple

Each football season brings with it a new identity for every team.  Ohio State, the defending national champions, had the luxury of three quarterbacks capable of starting for seemingly any program in the country last season.  Fast-forward several months and the Buckeyes have been plagued by inefficiency at what appeared to be a position of strength with the very same players. For Notre Dame, two-thirds of the way through the 2015 season, the identity is one of inconsistency that has surfaced on a nearly weekly basis. Head coach Brian Kelly’s team jumped to a 14-0 lead over Massachusetts in what ...

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Notre Dame Football’s 2015 Midseason MVPs

CJ Prosise - Notre Dame RB

Notre Dame is 6-1 and currently sits at No. 9 in the latest Associated Press poll, and while head coach Brian Kelly’s team has feisty opponents remaining on the schedule, the most difficult part has passed. And Notre Dame has been able to keep their playoff hopes alive thanks to the outstanding play of five midseason MVPs, both individual and collective. 5. Justin Yoon Pressure is inherent for starting true freshmen. That pressure amplifies when your head coach calls you the best at your position in the nation before you’ve even arrived to campus. Such was the case for Justin ...

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