Friday notes: Knee-high by the fourth of July
The links are a little thin today, mostly because I’m on my way to northern Minnesota, where the air is fresh, the lakes are clean, and the internet is scarce. I’ll do my best to keep everybody posted, but there’s likely to be little Irish football news this weekend, so enjoy a few days with the family and stay safe around fireworks.
As we head north, we usually pass a nice long stretch of farms, where inevitably we’ll look out the window and my dad with say, “knee-high by the fourth of July.”
If you think about it, that’s where this football season is: growing, coming quickly, and hopefully head-high and ready to go come Labor Day. (Or September 4th versus Purdue.)
Here are a couple interesting tidbits that you might enjoy:
As hard as it is for me to say it about a former player from my alma mater, the Irish missing on Seantrel Henderson was probably the best thing that could’ve happened to them. While academics were always an issue, and Henderson kept the Irish in his top five until the end, there was really no shot that he was coming to Notre Dame, and the coaching staff never even sent him a letter-of-intent for his signature on Signing Day. (Not that it would’ve mattered...)
With Seantrel making a very-late pledge to USC after being assured by new coach Lane Kiffin and staff that sanctions wouldn’t effect the team, after the NCAA dropped their bomb, Henderson was the only incoming freshman not to report to summer school, and is now supposedly waffling on his commitment, exploring other college options and even prep school. Whatever his choice, Henderson is either playing college football next year at USC or not at all -- transfer rules won’t allow him to play without sitting a season. Even though his options are limited, Kiffin and his staff are re-recruiting Henderson all over again, trying to get him to campus as soon as possible, as the summer conditioning and weight-room time are most critical for offensive linemen, especially those that expect to see the field early.
While Henderson is as talented as any offensive line prospect in recent memory, Notre Dame fans should be happy to say, “not my problem.”
Speaking of recruiting, ESPNChicago’s Wes Morgan had a nice article on how futbol helped defensive line coach Mike Elston recruit newly committed Ben Councell.
Fighting Irish assistant Mike Elston (defensive line/special teams), who recruited the Asheville, N.C., talent, took useful mental notes during his time interacting with the recruit and his family.
“He kept in constant contact with my father,” said the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Councell, who’s set to enter his senior season at Reynolds High. “That was a big deal, because no other school had done that. He formed a good relationship with my parents.”
“It was a big deal for dad to watch the U.S. soccer game [vs. Algeria], and [Elston] planned the schedule around that,” said Councell, who chose the Irish over Georgia Tech, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. “The whole coaching staff was hospitable. But he took care of dad.”
Dad, who played soccer at N.C. State, had his pick from many swanky viewing areas within the Guglielmino football complex at Notre Dame to take in the American’s crucial World Cup tilt.
This article does a nice job of reminding you how much the little things matter during recruiting. While making a college choice is often a forty-year decision instead of a four year one, it’s only human nature to let small details like this play a key role in the choice.
One of the truly national recruits on Notre Dame’s big board is New York’s Ishaq Williams, a defensive end that has already received 28 scholarship offers from just about every big-time program across the country.
Williams plans to hit as many colleges as possible this summer to get a list of favorites. The New York Post reports that one of those summer visits is to South Bend.
Considered the top prospect in New York State by several scouting services and a four-star prospect by Scout.com, Williams certainly has his pick. He has received 28 BCS scholarship offers. The who’s who of elite Division I programs includes USC, UCLA, Stanford, Penn State, Syracuse, Maryland, Rutgers, Alabama, Miami, Notre Dame, Texas Tech and Florida.
“I’m looking forward to it because I know it’s a necessary part of the recruiting process,” said the 6-foot-5, 225-pound rising senior who has already qualified academically for college and will graduate from Lincoln in January. “I’m looking forward to narrowing it down.”
Williams, a 17-year-old Clinton Hillnative, has already visited Penn State, Syracuse (his parents’ alma mater), Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Maryland, and Miami. He plans to visit Notre Dame on Aug. 5, his father Shaun said; take a trip down south to see Alabama, Florida, and Miami again the second week of August; and go out west for USC, UCLA, and Stanford the following week.
Finally, thanks to Brendan who pointed out ESPN’s College Football Live team, who made their bold predictions for next season. While Brock Huard tried to make a splash by calling Boise State in the BCS Championship game, the real headline for Irish fans was when arch-nemesis Mark May picked Notre Dame to win 10 games under Brian Kelly. (Andre Ware probably made the most ridiculous claim, picking Wyoming to beat Texas next year in Austin.)
Don’t believe me about May? Take a look:
Have a great holiday weekend everybody...