Tag:Notre Dame
Posted on: January 17, 2012 1:23 am
 

QB Nick Montana transferring from Washington

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

No one at Washington is going to complain about Keith Price's breakout sophomore season under center for the Huskies. But it does appear to have cost them their backup quarterback--and for whatever it was worth, the name recognition that had come along with him.

Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian confirmed Monday that redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Montana has asked for -- and received -- his release from the Washington program. Montana appeared in six games during his Husky career, completing 24 of his 42 attempts with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. In his only start, a dispiriting 38-21 loss to Oregon State on Nov. 19, Montana threw for two scores but averaged just 3.8 yards per his 21 attempts. 

According to reports, Montana intends to transfer to one of two possible JUCO destinations -- Blinn College in Texas, or El Camino in California -- before eventually returning to the FBS ranks. 

Montana is (of course) the son of none other than Joe Montana, but even that kind of bloodline wasn't going to be enough to wrest the starting job away from Price, not given the sophomore's outstanding 36-touchdown campaign and Montana's poor performance in his single audition as the starter. Price had already beaten out Montana twice in head-to-head battles on the depth chart, first for the right to back up Jake Locker in 2010 and then to be the starter in 2011.

Though more a high-level than elite-level recruit coming out of Thousand Oaks, Calif. in the class of 2010, Montana nonetheless boasted offers from many of the top schools in the nation--including his father's alma mater, Notre Dame. If Montana can continue to develop at JUCO, the Irish may or may not take a renewed interest. But given his last name, don't expect the possibility of that connection to get dismissed anytime between now and the end of his JUCO tenure.

For the complete Eye on CFB coverage of the Pac-12, click here. 

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Posted on: January 15, 2012 10:58 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2012 10:58 pm
 

Coach swap: Tide hires Vols' Thompson as LB coach

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Three years ago, Alabama hired Sal Sunseri to replace linebackers coach Lance Thompson, hired away by Tennessee. So now that Sunseri has also been hired away by the Vols, as Derek Dooley's new defensive coordinator, who has Nick Saban tabbed to replace him? Why, he's hired Lance Thompson, of course. 

That's according to multiple reports Sunday, which cited sources in claiming Thompson will return to the same Crimson Tide linebackers-coaching position he left in 2008 when Lane Kiffin lured him Tuscaloosa. Thompson coached the Vols' linebackers for two years before moving to defensive line duties this season.

Thompson becomes the sixth Tennessee assistant to depart the Volunteer program this off-season. Receivers coach Charlie Baggett retired; previous defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon left to join Steve Sarkisian at Washington; offensive line coach Harry Hiestand left to take the same position at Notre Dame; and special teams coach Eric Russell joined Mike Leach at Washington State.

With the hires of Sunseri at DC, former Vol star Jay Graham at running backs coach, and North Carolina's Sam Pittman as the new offensive line coach, Dooley is doing his best to stop the bleeding. But Thompson's departure will leave a substantial mark nonetheless, especially this close to Signing Day; he's long been recognized as one of the SEC's best recruiters, a major factor in his having been hired by Saban in the first place, by Kiffin in 2008, and -- no doubt -- now by Saban a second time. (That the Crimson Tide head coach is willing to bring Thompson aboard a second time despite his earlier decision to hitch his wagon to Kiffin -- whose antics in Knoxville Saban is widely believed to have loathed -- speaks to how highly Saban thinks of his coaching and recruiting acumen.)

There's little doubt that hiring an up-and-comer like Sunseri away from his archrivals was something of a coup for Dooley, and a major positive for his under-fire Knoxville tenure. But every step forward for Dooley and the Vols seems like it's matched by one backwards these days, and it's no real surprise that one that came at the expense of Saban and Alabama was so quickly returned in kind.

For more on the Vols and Crimson Tide, follow CBSSports.com's Tennessee RapidReports by Daniel Lewis and Alabama RapidReports by Jim Dunn.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 6:47 pm
 

Brian Kelly gets a two-year extension

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Notre Dame announced on Tuesday that it had exercised the option on Brian Kelly's contract that extended his deal through the 2016 season.

"While Coach Kelly and I are focused on the additional work that must be done to reach our goals, I am very pleased with the progress we have made during the past twoyears.” said athletic director Jack Swarbrick in a statement.

"Our football team’s performance on the field, in the classroom, and in the community reflect Coach Kelly’s commitment to building a program that will be able to sustain success in the long run, and to doing so in a manner consistent with Notre Dame’s values and tradition." 

Kelly's first two seasons in South Bend haven't brought the return to national prominence that the school and fans had been hoping for, as the Irish have gone 16-10. Along with consecutive 8-5 seasons, the Irish also find themselves in the same boat as they did last offseason, getting ready to head into spring practice without a starter at quarterback as Tommy Rees is expected to compete with Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson in the offseason following the transfer of Dayne Crist to Kansas.

Kelly has also seen three of his assistants leave to take jobs elsewhere, though the school also announced two-year deals for all the assistants that remain on his staff.

On the positive side of things, Notre Dame has seen a lot of improvement on the defensive side of ball thanks to the recruits that Kelly and his staff have brought in. The real question, however, is if Kelly will be around through the end of his contract and if Notre Dame will finally start living up to the lofty expectations routinely placed on the team.

Eight-win seasons will only keep the peace for so long. 

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:58 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 12:59 pm
 

Big 12 Recruiting Reset

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that the 2011 season has come to an end it's time to move on to the next phase of the college football year: recruiting. With the Big 12 Recruiting Reset we fill you in on what you may have missed in the Big 12 and what you should expect to see between now and signing day.

TOP THREE CLASSES

1. Texas - Texas always has one of the best recruiting classes in the country and the Big 12, but lately it hasn't done much for the Longhorns on the field. Though that could change with players like running back Johnathan Gray and wide receiver Cayleb Jones to help a struggling offense, and defensive tackle Malcom Brown to keep things rolling on defense. Of course, with Texas right now, you can't look past quarterback Connor Brewer who may actually see time in the 2012 season as the Longhorns continue to look for their quarterback.

2. Oklahoma - The Sooners have Landry Jones returning in 2012, but are losing his favorite target in Ryan Broyles. Not to worry, though, as the Sooners have added a few top receivers in their 2012 recruiting class. Players like Trey Metoyer, Derrick Woods, and Durron Neal may all see time on the field for Oklahoma next season. Though considering the problems the Sooners have had at running back and the transfer of Brandon Williams, you do have to wonder if Oklahoma would be better off adding another running back to its class to join the impressive Alex Ross

3. TCU - TCU will join the Big 12 next season, and it seems that the Horned Frogs have already got the recruiting aspect that they'll need to compete down. There aren't a lot of headliners in the current class, but it's deep. Quarterback Tyler Matthews could be the heir apparent to Casey Pachall, and players like defensive back Edward Pope, running back Daje Johnson and defensive end Devonte Fields will all make their presence known in the coming seasons. 

TOP PLAYERS AVAILABLE

1. Dorial Green-Beckham - At 6'6 and 225 pounds, when people compare this wide receiver to Randy Moss, they aren't blowing smoke. He's the top player in the 2012 class and he has offers from just about every school on the planet, including both Texas and Oklahoma. 

2. Stefon Diggs - Diggs is the best receiver not named Dorial Green-Beckham that is yet to commit to anybody, and it seems he's down to about eight schools right now, including Oklahoma.

WORK TO DO

1. Kansas - Considering how Kansas has looked on the field the last few years, it's not surprising to see the Jayhawks have one of the weaker recruiting classes in the Big 12. Which also may explain why the school hired Charlie Weis, who recruited well at Notre Dame. Weis has some work to do before signing day to add to a class that currently consists of only 9 players.

2. Kansas State - Kansas State's has 12 commitments for its 2012 class, and while Bill Snyder seems to have magical powers, he may need to use them to add a few more names to that list before February gets here.

Keep up to date with all the latest recruiting news leading up to National Signing Day with our Eye On Recruiting Blog with Bryan Fischer. 

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Posted on: January 9, 2012 5:48 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 5:52 pm
 

FWAA releases 2011 Freshman All-America team

Posted by Chip Patterson

On Monday, the Football Writers Association of America released the 2011 Freshman All-America Team. The group, selected by an 11-person panel of FWAA writers, is made up of the best true freshman and redshirt freshman from the 2011 FBS season.

The panel also names a first-year coach to the FWAA Freshman All-America team. This year's selection was West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen.

USC and Kansas State were the only schools to have two players named to the team, while the SEC and Pac-12 led the way in terms of conferences with five players apiece. Several players from the list below were also named to CBSSports.com's Freshman All-America team, though there are some noticeable differences in the two lists.

Let us know what you think about the group in the comment section below, hit us up on Twitter, or drop a line at the Eye On College Football Facebook page.

OFFENSE
QB - Sean Mannion, Oregon State
RB - Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
RB - Lyle McCombs, Connecticut
WR - Matt Miller, Boise State
WR - Marquise Lee, USC
WR - Sammy Watkins, Clemson
AP - De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
OL - Reese Dismukes, Auburn
OL - B.J. Finney, Kansas State
OL - Chaz Green, Florida
OL - Kaleb Johnson, Rutgers
OL - Jake Smith, Louisville

DEFENSE
DL - Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
DL - Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
DL - Aaron Lynch, Notre Dame
DL - Marcus Rush, Michigan State
LB - Dion Bailey, USC
LB - A.J. Johnson, Tennessee
LB - Jeremy Grove, East Carolina
DB - Blair Burns, Wyoming
DB - Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern
DB - Quandre Diggs, Texas
DB - Merrill Noel, Wake Forest
DB - Eric Rowe, Utah

SPECIALISTS
P - Brad Wing, LSU
K - Michael Hunnicutt, Oklahoma
PR - Scott Harding, Hawaii
KR - Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

COACH
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia

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Posted on: January 8, 2012 11:58 am
Edited on: January 8, 2012 11:59 am
 

Amir Carlisle transferring to Notre Dame

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Last winter Notre Dame and USC were locked in a recruiting battle for running back Amir Carlisle. As has been the case on the field for most of the last decade, it was a fight that USC won, as the four-star running back and one of the top high school prospects in the state of California wound up choosing to attend USC.

That's no longer the case. The South Bend Tribune reported on Saturday that Carlisle was transferring from USC to Notre Dame for family reasons. Those reasons being that while Carlisle's father, Duane Carlisle, used to work for the San Francisco 49ers, but recently took a job at Purdue. So in order to be closer to his family Carlisle has decided to leave USC for South Bend.

“It was our intention to stay (in California), but circumstances changed,” Duane Carlisle told the South Bend Tribune. “We’re a close-knit family.

“This definitely was a family decision. It wasn’t just an Amir decision. We felt as though Notre Dame would be the best fit for him for the next four years.”

Carlisle saw limited time during his freshman season with the Trojans, carrying the ball only 19 times and picking up 118 yards. He also caught 7 passes for 41 yards and a touchdown. Though in the one game Carlisle saw a lot of time against Colorado, he put up some impressive numbers that helped show why he was so highly-touted coming out of high school. Against the Buffaloes Carlisle had 10 carries for 90 yards while catching 2 passes for 31 yards and a touchdown.

Due to the transfer Carlisle will have to sit out the 2012 season, but he will have three years of eligibility remaining once the 2013 season begins.
Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:44 pm
 

Tyler Eifert returning to Notre Dame

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The 2011 Notre Dame season has come to an end much the same way the 2010 season did, in that Brian Kelly isn't sure who his starting quarterback will be next season. The good news for Kelly is that while he may not know who he'll have taking the snaps next season, whoever it is will still have tight end Tyler Eifert around to throw the ball to.

According to Irish Illustrated, Eifert informed the Notre Dame coaching staff of his decision on Friday.

"He's really come around and wants to come back," said Tyler's father Greg Eifert. "He wants to come back, get bigger, get stronger and get to a BCS bowl next year."

This is very good news for a Notre Dame offense that is already losing its biggest playmaker in Michael Floyd to the NFL, as Eifert finished the 2011 season second on the team in receptions (63), yards (803) and touchdowns (5). Eifert had submitted his NFL paperwork and was told that he was a third round pick, which was the same grade Michael Floyd heard from the NFL last season before deciding to return to South Bend. Floyd is now a consensus first round pick.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home.  

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Posted on: January 6, 2012 12:27 am
 

Bill O'Brien may stay with Pats past Signing Day

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Penn State is expected to announce the hiring of New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien on Saturday, according to CBSSports.com NFL reporter Mike Freeman. That brings a merciful end to the Penn State coaching search, as the PSU job was the last to be filled in all of the FBS.

The thing is, however, if reports are true, O'Brien won't be on Penn State's campus immediately -- and the wait could potentially extend past a very important deadline. According to Boston Herald Patriots beat reporter Ian Rapoport, O'Brien will remain the Patriots' offensive coordinator throughout the playoffs. And while the NFL playoffs start this weekend, the Patriots' season won't be ending so soon. New England is the top seed in the AFC, meaning the Patriots have a bye week this week, and are the favorite to make it to Super Bowl XLVI.

Penn State fans should be rooting for an early upset for the Pats, though, because if the Patriots do make it to the Super Bowl, O'Brien's going to be a member of that staff until February 5. That date is important, because Signing Day -- the first day that college football recruits can sign letters of intent with their preferred school -- is the preceding Tuesday, February 1. Now, top seeds are hardly locks to make the Super Bowl in today's NFL, but the Patriots under Bill Belichick have one of the best track records in the playoffs of any NFL franchise over the last decade or so.

O'Brien is expected to do some recruiting while he's still with New England, and he wouldn't be the first coach to pull double-duty like this; Rapoport also noted on his feed that Charlie Weis did so at New England as he prepared to take over Notre Dame, and Sylvester Croom was similarly stretched between Green Bay and Mississippi State when he was first hired. Unfortunately, as Rapoport also noted, such double duty hampered the coaches' first recruiting classes considerably, and it's also worth noting that both coaches were fired after five seasons -- right when that first recruiting class would have been full of redshirt seniors.

It would then behoove Penn State to retain Tom Bradley (the defensive coordinator-turned-interim coach who has led the team since the Penn State Board of Trustees fired longtime coach Joe Paterno on November 9 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal) and offer him his old position as defensive coordinator, much in the same way that Ohio State has honored interim head coach Luke Fickell since the hiring of Urban Meyer. That way, Bradley can also focus his efforts on recruiting and salvage a Penn State class that by Big Ten standards is mediocre, and by Penn State standards is subpar.

It does not portend well for Bradley's future with Penn State, however, that the only word from him was that he had not been told of any hiring plans by the school as of Thursday night, according to Blue White Illustrated. If Bradley is not motivated to remain committed to the recruiting trail for Penn State while O'Brien tries to balance recruiting and coaching the Patriots for however long New England's season lasts, Penn State's recruiting class will undoubtedly suffer, and that's another hurdle that this suddenly flailing program does not need to have added to the race ahead.

For more breaking news on Penn State, follow the team's RapidReports by Jim Rodenbush.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com