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ESPN's Travis Haney hears from those close to the program that Notre Dame redshirt sophomore QB DeShone Kizer is a slight leader to win the starting job over junior QB Malik Zaire.

"The spring was valuable in helping Zaire get back to full speed, coach Brian Kelly has said, so don’t rule him out if he has a stronger preseason camp," Haney wrote. "For now, though, pencil in Kizer, who won eight games last season as a freshman following Zaire’s injury in Week 2." Last season, the 6-foot-4, 230-pounder racked up 2,596 passing yards and a 19/9 TD/INT ratio while rushing for 499 yards and nine touchdowns. He has received early buzz as a sleeper Heisman candidate.
May 19 - 1:10 PM

Notre Dame paid former HC Charlie Weis more than current HC Brian Kelly in 2014.

Notre Dame released its federal tax return on Monday, revealing that Weis remains a weight on the checkbook. From June of 2014 to June of 2015, Weis made a shade over $2 million, while Kelly made approximately $1.6 million. Notre Dame's total buyout for Weiss -- whom they fired all the way back in 2009 -- totaled $18,966,867 after they finished making payments in December.
Source: ESPN.com
May 17 - 10:01 PM

Notre Dame senior CB Cole Luke regressed to a +1.8 PFF grade last season after posting a +10.1 grade in 2014 as a sophomore.

Luke actually cut his completion percentage against down to a cool 49.2 percent, but found himself on the losing end of too many embarrassing big plays last fall (15.3 yards per reception in 2015 against 11.6 in 2014). The numbers tell the story from there: Luke picked off two fewer passes last year, he gave up five touchdowns in 2015 against two in 2014 and he allowed an NFL passer rating of 87.7 last season after posting a superb 60.5 back in 2014. After suffering a series of defensive defections this winter, the Irish need Luke to return to form.
May 17 - 4:52 PM

2018 five-star QB Phil Jurkovec committed to Notre Dame.

Jurkovec is the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in his class, according to 247 Sports' composite rankings. "I came up here with the intent of committing," Jurkovec said in South Bend on Monday. "It's the right fit for me. The whole education of Notre Dame from the books to the spirituality, the whole university and everything that it offers—I just fell in love with it." Notre Dame beat out -- at least for now -- Alabama, Ohio State and Penn State for Jurkovec's services. Commitments are non-binding, so expect Nick Saban, Urban Meyer and James Franklin to continue to doggedly pursue Jurkovec over the next year-plus.
May 16 - 10:44 PM

Sports Illustrated's Zac Ellis noted that Notre Dame redshirt freshman LB Asmar Bilal "could be that answer [to replace LB Jaylon Smith]."

"Bilal redshirted last season working mostly at outside linebacker," Ellis wrote, "but he impressed inside at Smith’s old position this spring." The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder was the No. 87 recruit for the 2015 cycle by Scout's rankings. LB coach Mike Elston talked about the Smith/Bilal comparison when he said, "Is he Jaylon Smith? No. But he’s got great potential. Jaylon had to start somewhere, and that’s where Asmar is. He’s at the starting point of what we see as a very promising career."
May 14 - 4:28 PM

NFL Media draft analyst Chad Reuter called Notre Dame redshirt sophomore QB DeShone Kizer his darkhorse Heisman candidate for 2016.

"Kizer showed glimpses of greatness in his redshirt freshman season, both as a runner and passer;" Reuter wrote, adding that "he's my darkhorse Heisman candidate -- if he beats out Malik Zaire for the starting job." That latter portion of Reuter's comment has yet to reach a conclusion one way or another, as HC Brian Kelly has said, "They're both No. 1's." After taking over for the injured Zaire (ankle) early last season, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Kizer threw for 2,596 yards with a 19/9 TD/INT ratio. He also rushed for 499 yards and nine touchdowns. We won't count Kizer out of the Heisman running entirely, but he will need to post significant statistical improvements if he wants to jostle with the likes of Deshaun Watson or Leonard Fournette. Reuter wrote earlier this offseason that he also believes Zaire could enter the Heisman conversation if he, instead of Kizer, wins the Irish starting job this summer.
Source: NFL.com
May 13 - 11:00 PM

ESPN's Matt Fortuna deemed Notre Dame senior WR Torii Hunter Jr. to be the team's most versatile player.

With Will Fuller off to drop passes in the NFL (we kid because we love), Hunter is the team's leading receiver heading into 2016. Last season, the 6-foot, 190-pounder caught 28 passes for 363 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also chipped in with five rush attempts, three pass attempts and even two tackles recorded on defense. This spring, HC Brian Kelly shifted him from slot to field receiver, which should allow for more downfield production.
Source: ESPN.com
May 13 - 7:29 PM

Notre Dame redshirt sophomore LG Alex Bars is shifting to right tackle.

With 2015 right tackle Mike McGlinchey moving to the left side to replace Ronnie Stanley, Bars will kick outside to assume McGlinchey's former post. Bars lost the second half of last season to a fractured ankle, but he'd accrued a solid +2.3 PFF grade in the run game prior to that time, "showing good athleticism to lock onto targets at the second level," wrote Steve Palazzolo.
May 13 - 6:50 PM

Notre Dame sophomore TE Tyler Luatua will not transfer to BYU, as had been previously reported.

On Feb. 2, the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Luatua tweeted that he would transfer from Notre Dame to BYU. That tweet has been deleted. Notre Dame's running backs -- Josh Adams, Tarean Folston and Dexter Williams -- are very happy right now. An old-school, inline blocking tight end, Luatua did his part to help C.J. Prosise average 6.6 yards per carry and crack 1,000 yards last season.
May 12 - 8:53 PM

Baltimore was one of three teams in the NFL who received a B+ draft grade or better from all four national analysts polled by Rotoworld's Mark Lindquist.

Comparing the grades of Rotoworld’s Evan Silva, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr, CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco and Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke, Lindquist found that only the Jaguars' class was more respected nationally. Kiper wrote that Baltimore "got a big need at tackle [in Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley] and just stacked up value thereafter" and Silva lauded GM Ozzie Newsome's ability to restock the aging parts of his roster with talented youngsters. Prisco's biggest qualm was taking Stanley over Laremy Tunsil, but ultimately he liked the class as a whole.
Source: Rotoworld
May 9 - 8:15 PM

CBS Sports draft analyst Dane Brugler noted that Notre Dame DL Sheldon Day is a "penetrating three-technique who will be a great addition to the Jaguars' rotation."

Day was one of six defensive picks by the Jaguars. They were able to snatch him off the board at pick No. 103 in the fourth round. Brugler tabbed the Jags as one of five teams that "flat-out crushed it" during the draft. Five of those six picks devoted to defense saw Jacksonville drafting along the defensive front. The lone piece they picked up for the secondary isn't too shabby either -- that would be FSU DB Jalen Ramsey, selected at No. 5 and considered by some to be the best player in the draft.
Source: CBS Sports
May 8 - 1:39 PM

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco disliked the Texans' decision to draft Notre Dame WR Will Fuller in the first round.

Prisco just can't stomach Fuller's inconsistency, even with his obvious speed advantage over most opposing corners. "Josh Doctson might have been a better option [at No. 21]," the analyst wrote. He and Rotoworld's Evan Silva might want to sit down for an adult beverage to discuss the matter, as Silva, too, raised an eyebrow over the Fuller pick. Prisco does like the brain trust's decision to scoop up S prospect K.J. Dillon in the fifth round. He is also a fan of second-round C Nick Martin. For the draft as a whole, the senior NFL columnist awarded the Texans a respectable B for this class.
Source: CBS Sports
May 8 - 1:25 PM

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco wrote that he found it "troubling" that the Cowboys did not draft for more immediate need.

Prisco was specifically speaking to the second-round selection of Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith and Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott in the second and fourth rounds (respectively). "I did like some of their other picks, but not a great draft for me," the senior columnist wrote. He ultimately assigned Dallas a C- grade for their efforts in Chicago. While he might have wanted to see an immediate impact player at the Dak Attack pick in the fourth round, he also tagged Prescott as a Day 3 gem and called it a "solid decision" for the Cowboys to draft him. If nothing else, the draft is a study in contradictions.
Source: CBS Sports
May 7 - 7:31 PM

An NFL personnel director told ESPN's Ed Werder that the Cowboys' selection of Notre Dame OLB Jaylon Smith "could be [the] greatest [second-round] pick ever."

Not everyone shares this opinion. Werder pulled four head coaches and general managers around the league asking for opinions about the Smith pick. One had Smith as a fourth-rounder, another a sixth-rounder and two said he wasn't on their board at all. In the end, the pick will be a stroke of genius if Smith becomes even 90-percent of the player folks envisioned him to be prior to the Fiesta Bowl. It will be seen as an obtuse selection if the knee never heals enough to allow for a productive career. "We have a firm belief, if you look at the history of injuries like this, that the nerve ultimately fires, some take longer than others," Stephen Jones said. "But at the end of the day, we think it will. And then once it does fire, usually it takes about - our guys say - from an inch to an inch and a half per month in terms of ultimately healing and getting full feeling back. We feel really good about that."
May 6 - 9:03 PM

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones indicated that the team would not be placing Notre Dame OLB Jaylon Smith on injured reserve.

"We will not IR [Smith]. We'll take a chance he'll be back for the playoffs," Jones said to a station producer at KRLD-FM. The 6-foot-2, 223-pound Smith infamously suffered a torn MCL and ACL in Notre Dame's January Fiesta Bowl showdown with Ohio State. It has been widely reported that the Notre Dame standout will likely sit out the 2016 campaign as he recovers from those serious injuries (and possible nerve damage), but Jones wouldn't even cave to that notion, calling the reports "B.S." and saying "don't put a lot in those estimates."
Source: NFL.com
May 5 - 9:49 PM


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