NCAA Football News

Notre Dame Football Recruiting Offers of the Week

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame football’s spring game is around the corner, and the Irish have been equally busy the last few weeks on the recruiting trail.

Each week, we’ll be keeping tabs on the new scholarship offers sent out by the Notre Dame coaches, tracking the recruiting process as the Irish focus their attention toward the classes of 2016, 2017 and maybe even 2018.

Notre Dame wasn’t as active with its offers this week, but there’s still plenty of action in the recruiting world.

 

Kevin Stepherson

Class of 2016 wide receiver Kevin Stepherson added an offer from Notre Dame on Wednesday.

Michigan extended an offer to the 6’2” 180-pounder from Jacksonville, Florida, a day later. Stepherson also boasts offers from LSU, Indiana and West Virginia, among others.

“It means so much to have an offer from Notre Dame,” Stepherson told Irish247’s Tom Loy on Wednesday. “That offer and the one from LSU mean a lot. Those are the two schools really standing out to me right now. Both of them are big offers for me.”

 

Recruiting Notebook

The offers were few and far between this week, but Notre Dame’s spring recruiting efforts continued.

Class of 2016 outside linebacker Curtis Robinson, the No. 10 player at his position and No. 110 in the country, announced his top seven schools Monday.

Robinson then declared he will announce his commitment Monday.

The Santa Ana, California, product took an unofficial visit to South Bend in mid-March and stopped by Stanford earlier this month. The Irish will soon have clarity on one of their top linebacker targets.

A decision date has also been set for class of 2016 defensive end Julian Okwara, the brother of Irish senior defensive end Romeo Okwara.

The No. 11 weak-side defensive end and No. 185 overall player announced his top five Friday and said Saturday he will announce his commitment April 30.

The 4-star from Charlotte, North Carolina, stopped by for an unofficial visit at the end of March.

Class of 2016 offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg visited South Bend over the weekend and took in Saturday’s full practice.

A top target along the line for this cycle, Eichenberg is the No. 11 offensive tackle and No. 83 overall player in the nation. Following Friday’s portion of his weekend visit, Eichenberg recapped his visit with Loy.

“It was great. I had a good time,” Eichenberg said. “I spent a lot of time with [offensive linemen] Quenton Nelson and Alex Bars. Those are some great dudes. They were telling me that going to Notre Dame was the best decision they ever made, and they have never regretted it.”

The 6’6” 290-pounder from Cleveland is scheduled for a visit to Ohio State on Friday.

One of Notre Dame’s other high-end class of 2016 targets along the offensive line, Ben Bredeson, also visited campus this weekend. Bredeson ranks as the No. 6 tackle and No. 34 player in the class. The Wisconsin native is considering Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Stanford in addition to Notre Dame, per 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting stats and information courtesy of 247Sports.com and all quotes obtained firsthand. Star ratings reflect 247Sports composite rankings. 

Mike Monaco is a lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco on Twitter.

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Big Ten Football: Which Teams Will Overachieve and Underachieve in 2015?

The 2015 college football season is a few months away, and with spring practices receding into memories for most Big Ten programs, eyes are turning toward the fall. The name of the game is expectations and whether "Dear Old U" can live up to them. In that vein, we're going to lay out some predictions based on those early forecasts—will these teams fail to live up to the hype, or exceed expectations?

College football is a notoriously difficult sport to make accurate predictions in. There's so much that changes from year to year, and it seems as if no two seasons are ever the same for any program. A few short seasons ago, we were all hearing about the demise of the Big Ten and how college football had passed the conference by. The Michigan State Spartans' flash-in-the-pan status seemed to be confirmed after a 7-6 season in 2012.

Over the following two seasons, Michigan State won the Rose Bowl and the CFP Committee-selected Cotton Bowl, while the Ohio State Buckeyes won the first-ever College Football Playoff.

So which Big Ten teams will be next to defy expectations? Which Big Ten programs will fall flat in 2015? Here are our picks for the five teams that will overachieve and underachieve in 2015.

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Lou Holtz and ESPN Part Ways: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

"Dr. Lou" has diagnosed his last patient.

According to Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch, Lou Holtz will no longer work as an ESPN college football analyst. Both parties reportedly agreed Holtz would step away from his roles on College Football Final, in addition to any guest appearances on other ESPN programs.

ESPN's College GameDay tweeted out a final farewell to Holtz:

"There are plenty in Bristol who knew the Holtz-Mark May shtick was long past its shelf life, and this is a good time to change things up," Deitsch wrote. "No doubt part of the thinking on Holtz’s part was to move on without (Rece) Davis in the host chair."

The news doesn't come as a big surprise. Holtz said last May that he intended to retire after the season, per Dan Murphy of Irish247:

I'd like to leave when people say, "Why are you leaving?" not "When are you leaving?" This is my fifth last year. They usually talk me into it. ESPN is a great organization to work for. We've been together nine years now. That's unusual. They're like my family. I love them. We enjoy it. There comes a time where you need to step aside and let the younger people do it.

There will certainly be quite a bit of turnover on ESPN's Saturday night college football program. Along with Holtz departing, Davis left to take over for Chris Fowler on College GameDay.

May is now the only holdover, and with his and Holtz's banter constituting so much of the show, it will be interesting to see how ESPN tweaks the show going forward.

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Michigan Football: 5 Reasons to Be Optimistic About the Wolverines' 2015 Season

Jim Harbaugh is the reason for the season at Michigan, so it’s probably unnecessary to tab him as one of the five reasons why Wolverines fans should be optimistic this fall.

His presence trumps all.

So with that said, this slideshow will feature the other top five reasons to expect something much more than what’s been offered during the previous three years—much, much more, actually.

While wins typically are the best measure of progress, they’re not the end-all metric. For roughly a decade, Michigan football has been devoid of a certain something, something that only a coach of Harbaugh’s ilk can provide.

With that influence in place, Michigan can finally take the steps necessary to dust itself off and reclaim its place within the world of college football.

That rebirth can happen. Oh, it’s very possible—and here are the five reasons why dreams could become reality for the Wolverines starting Sept. 3 at Utah.

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Derrick Tindal Injury: Updates on Wisconsin CB's Status and Recovery

Wisconsin Badgers cornerback Derrick Tindal was injured in spring practice on Sunday and left the field in an ambulance.   

Continue for updates.    

Tindal Suffers Scary Injury in Spring PracticeSunday, April 12

Scout.com's Benjamin Worgull and Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provided the initial details on Tindal's status:

Tindal is a sophomore who saw action in 2014 as a true freshman, recording 10 solo tackles, one sack and one pass defended, per Sports-Reference.com.    

The early playing time suggests Tindal will be a big part of the Badgers program, but Sunday's scare in practice puts his well-being as the chief concern above any potential role on the team.

Although the exact nature of Tindal's injury isn't yet known, it was an ominous scene by all accounts.    

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Sean Foster to Minnesota: Gophers Land 4-Star OT Prospect

Jerry Kill's 2016 recruiting class got a huge boost with the addition of 4-star offensive tackle prospect Sean Foster.       

Per Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports, Foster announced his commitment to the University of Minnesota on Sunday with this declaration:

The family feel and how the coaches react with the players. They have the best coaching staff and one of the best education programs I have ever seen. They made me feel at home right when I got up there and it's going to be fun being a Gopher for the next four years.

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Foster is the No. 25 offensive tackle recruit in the 2016 class from Carmel Catholic High School in Illinois. He's listed at 6'8" and 285 pounds already, with room to get bigger as his body matures. 

Foster's commitment came in a hurry, as he tweeted April 3 about being in Minneapolis for a visit with the program:

After that, Kyle Goblirsch of 247Sports quoted Foster as saying that the visit was "unreal." Less than two weeks later, the Illinois native has given his commitment to the Golden Gophers. 

Foster's commitment is a testament to the slow build that Kill has done since taking over as head coach in 2011. The Golden Gophers won three games in his first season, jumped up to six in 2012 and have won eight in each of the last two years with three consecutive bowl appearances. 

The Big Ten is regaining its status for elite talent after being down for a couple of years. Minnesota is a program on the rise. Ohio State is the defending national champion. Michigan is entering the Jim Harbaugh era. It's quickly becoming an exciting conference to watch. 

Foster seems to have realized where the Golden Gophers are going and feels he can help them get there in a hurry.   

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