Cubs

Notre Dame's top-rated recruiting class pushed by two factors

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Notre Dame's top-rated recruiting class pushed by two factors

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame has seen a recruiting bump over the last few months thanks to a perfect 1-2 punch: A 10-0 team contending for a national title, and linebacker Manti Te'o.
Rivals' recruiting class rankings has Notre Dame's 2013 crop as the third-best in the country, led by five-star linebacker Jaylon Smith. Four-star linebacker Alex Anzalone recently reaffirmed his commitment to Notre Dame after plenty of chatter he would flip to Florida. The Irish feature 13 four or five-star players, easily the highest total of the Brian Kelly era.
"It's been a great year, there's no question," Kelly said Tuesday. "I will tell you that winning helps in recruiting. It also solidifies those commitments. We have a number of midyear enrollees that obviously are very excited about the direction of the football program.
"So there is no mistaking that that kind of success helps you in recruiting. Having said that, I think we had made great progress coming into the season where we had a number commitments already in place. I think the winning has obviously enhanced that and strengthened those commitments. But I don't think there is any question that winning definitely gives you a bump in recruiting."
On national signing day in February, Kelly described his 2012 class as one that filled needs, specifically at wide receiver and cornerback.
The Irish added much-needed depth at receiver, with Chris Brown and Davonte Neal playing roles in Notre Dame's offense and special teams as true freshmen. And KeiVarae Russell -- who wasn't recruited as a cornerback -- has been solid after getting the nod when Lo Wood went down with a season-ending injury.
But what Kelly noted in February, too, was that he and his coaching staff were ready to start recruiting "big skill" guys for 2013.
"We needed to take care of the needs within the program in this second recruiting class, and I think we all heard last year me talking about the "back end" and the skill players, and we think we have done that," Kelly explained. "Next year's class will have that versatility element and it will be centered around that big skill."
So far, so good. Being 10-0 has certainly helped Notre Dame's chances with high schoolers, but having an ambassador like Te'o has been important, too.
"I always tell them, hey, when you're a champion at other schools, you're a champion. But when you're a champion at Notre Dame, you become a legend," Te'o said of his pitch to recruits. "It wasn't hard for me to decide. We weren't doing so well, and yet still, there were talks about a legendary status, and just imagine if you experienced a successful season, what that would look like."

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa hit the 30-homer threshold on June 21, 1998 in only his 71st game of the season. For perspective, the 2018 Cubs leader in homers on June 21 is Javy Baez with 14 and Mike Trout leads all of baseball with only 23.

At this point, Mark McGwire was ahead of Sosa, but the Cubs slugger was pulling closer. McGwire had 33 dingers on June 21 while Ken Griffey Jr. had 28 and Greg Vaughn had 25.

Sosa' June 21 homer came off Tyler Green and was his 5th blast of the series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field that year. But the Cubs lost that series, despite Sosa's efforts.

Fun fact: Sosa drove in 10 runs in the three-game series with the Phillies that summer while the rest of his teammates combined for only 9 RBI.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bulls trade up or down in the draft?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bulls trade up or down in the draft?

Mark Carman, Hub Arkush, Phil Rogers and Will Perdue join Kap on the SportsTalk Live Podcast.

The guys start by discussing Brandon Morrow's injury that he sustained while taking off his pants... what's the craziest cause for an injury the guys can remember?

Plus, should the Bulls move up or down in Thursday's NBA Draft? Does it make sense to take on a bad contract in a potential deal?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: