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Leftovers & Links: Prep QB commits to Notre Dame with WR intentions

Tony Jones Jr. scored two touchdowns for Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish did just enough to take down Ball State on home turf.

Notre Dame will not land a plethora of in-season recruits this cycle. That is partly the result of signing 27 prospects in the class of 2018 and partly due to securing 17 commitments before this season began.

Sunday night brought the 18th with the pledge of three-star athlete/receiver Kendall Abdur-Rahman (Edwardsville High School; Ill.). A quarterback currently, Abdur-Rahman’s 6-foot-1 frame projects as an inside receiver at the next level, making him the second receiver in the Irish class, joining consensus three-star Cam Hart (Good Counsel H.S.; Olney, Md.).

Abdur-Rahman also held offers from much of the Big Ten, including Michigan State, Nebraska and Northwestern, as well as his homestate Illinois. Nonetheless, while taking an official visit to Notre Dame during the season-opening victory over the Wolverines, he apparently made up his mind.

The best guess is the Irish coaching staff further narrows its recruiting focus at this point, unlikely to sign more than 21 or 22 in the class of 2019, beginning with December’s early signing period.

Before Ball State kept Saturday’s game much closer than anyone expected, much time was spent wondering which freshmen might get extended playing time in a blowout. For a moment at kickoff, that plan seemed to be a reality. After not taking the field against Michigan, freshman running back C’Bo Flemister was lined up to return the kick.

Flemister ended up returning three kickoffs for 65 yards, on average reaching the 27-yard line.

“We’re trying to figure out who our guys are that have some vision and have some ability to have the ball in their hand,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said Sunday. “We’ve seen some of the guys. This was just an opportunity on kickoff return to see another young player with the ball in his hand.”

Flemister handled the debut well, yet did not make an appearance in the actual backfield. Why not? Notre Dame has hardly any experience at running back currently, with only junior Tony Jones having any career carries before this season. He could claim all of 44.

Offering too many players chances to prove themselves means none get real opportunities to do so.

“We’re really trying to get (to) Tony Jones and [sophomore Jafar Armstrong] in particular, [sophomore Avery Davis] in terms of we’re going to keep utilizing him, but it’s going to take some time,” Kelly said. “If we use C’Bo in there, we’re taking reps away from Avery. We need these young players to get reps.

“It became, how can you get all four of these players experience at the same time?”

Placing Flemister at kickoff return at least keeps him engaged and gives him a chance to make a play. Breaking one loose could then lead to some time at running back.

The senior kicker has now scored 287 points in his career, putting him one PAT behind Kyle Brindza for third place in Irish history. Yoon is 33 points behind all-time leader Allen Pinkett. Having scored six points in each of the first two games of the season, it is reasonable to think Yoon will break Pinkett’s record in San Diego when Notre Dame takes on Navy on Oct. 27, if not earlier.

The mark is not to be confused with “career points responsible for,” which is somewhat single-handedly dominated by quarterbacks.Brady Quinn (2003-06): 606 points.Jimmy Clausen (2007-09): 390 points.DeShone Kizer (2015-2016): 390 points.

For context: Irish senior quarterback Brandon Wimbush has accounted for 194 points in 16 career games.

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 09: DeShone Kizer #9 of the Green Bay Packers is sacked by Roquan Smith #58 of the Chicago Bears during the second quarter of a game at Lambeau Field on September 9, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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Not a great Sunday night for him in any regard. Filling in for Green Bay Packers injured starter Aaron Rodgers, Kizer’s one quarter of action resulted in 4-of-7 passing for 55 yards with one interception returned for a touchdown as well as two sacks absorbed, one resulting in a lost fumble.

If wondering who the Packers have behind Kizer on the depth chart (as one will), lists Tim Boyle, a rookie out of Eastern Kentucky who spent the first three years of his career at Connecticut.

That fact might keep Green Bay fans up at night this week, if not all season.

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