Notre Dame Football: Hunter Bivin

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Spring football is under way at Notre Dame. And if the snowbanks at every turn of campus weren't an indication, the sight of a No. 5 throwing footballs in a red jersey again sure was.

Yes, all eyes were on Everett Golson during his first Irish practice in nearly a year, with Avicii's "Levels" blasting once stretching was done and the tempo drill was under way. The media was able to view the first 30 minutes of practice from a balcony in the Loftus Sports Complex, with Golson and the offense running tempo on the far end of the field and the defense getting into gear right below us.

Golson is set to meet the media after practice for the first time since his return to school so we will have more on him later on Monday. As for what could be gathered about his weapons with the 2014 season still far away …
We'll have more later on Monday, as Golson will be joined by seven other players, plus coach Brian Kelly, following the completion of spring practice No. 1.
Class is back in session today. And that doesn't just mean that yours truly has returned from vacation. Notre Dame's summer classes start today, which also marks the first day of the rest of 18 football newcomers' lives.

The Irish reeled in ESPN's No. 4 recruiting class in the nation for 2013 prospects -- a ranking that had included No. 10 overall prospect Eddie Vanderdoes -- and a majority of that group officially begins their college lives today.

Steve Elmer, Mike Heuerman, James Onwualu, Corey Robinson and Malik Zaire already received head-starts, having enrolled this past semester and going through spring ball with their new teammates. Here's a refresher course on some of the new faces on campus today. (* denotes an ESPN150 member; ** denotes an ESPN300 member)
Our series continues with big guys up front.

Starters returning: Zack Martin, Chris Watt, Christian Lombard
Players returning: Conor Hanratty, Nick Martin, Bruce Heggie, Matt Hegarty, Ronnie Stanley, Mark Harrell
Players departing: Braxston Cave, Mike Golic Jr., Jordan Prestwood (transfer)
Newcomers: Steve Elmer, Hunter Bivin, Mike McGlinchey, John Montelus, Colin McGovern

The breakdown: We should know next week that Zack Martin and Watt are officially back for fifth years, huge boosts for a line that will be returning three starters, including the left side. Martin's decision to return in particular gives the line -- and team in general -- a great veteran presence, as he will likely become a two-time captain in 2013.

Martin may also get the chance to start alongside his younger brother, Nick, who served as something of a utility man on the second unit this past season and figures to contend for one of the two open starting spots.

Another contender to start could be Hegarty, who was shut down late last season because of a mini-stroke but is expected to be cleared this spring. Depending on his progress on the field, he could emerge as a prime candidate to replace Cave at center.

There is plenty of depth -- albeit unproven depth -- in the backfield, but 60 percent of last year's line returns, a line that paved the way for a ground attack that averaged better than 200 yards per game during the regular season.

Throw in another likely year with Everett Golson under center -- after the two sides progressed tremendously on the communication end in 2012 -- and lots of extra bodies from this year's recruiting class, and the line should not experience much of a drop-off in 2013.

Irish Lunch Links

March, 1, 2013

Folston stays with Notre Dame

February, 6, 2013
ESPN 150 athlete Tarean Folston (Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa) made his pledge to Notre Dame official Wednesday afternoon, becoming the Irish's ninth ESPN 150 commit, 12th ESPN 300 commit and 23rd overall player to sign his national letter of intent with the program.

Our Corey Long rates Folston a 4 on the immediate impact scale , saying he should be able to contribute upon his arrival to campus, be it at running back, receiver or defensive back.

Notre Dame currently sits at No. 4 in RecruitingNation's rankings, and the school will wait like everyone else until 8 p.m. ET tonight to hear the announcement of Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer), the nation's top defensive tackle.

Here are the names that came through the fax machines for Notre Dame earlier today:

Irish Lunch Links

February, 4, 2013
Today should be a holiday. That is all.
Durham Smythe was once committed to Texas. He was considered a Stanford lean. He had a trip to Michigan scheduled for next weekend.

On Sunday, he committed to Notre Dame.

Smythe, a four-star prospect, becomes the Irish's 23rd commitment for the class of 2013 and their third tight end prospect of this class.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder gave his word to head coach Brian Kelly and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin near the end of his official visit this weekend, our Max Olson reports , and he will look to become the next in line at Tight End U following the departure of record-setter Tyler Eifert. (Eifert's predecessor, Kyle Rudolph, was voted Pro Bowl MVP on Sunday night.)

“I talked to the staff and they’re stacked with three junior tight ends and then I know they have me and Mike,” Smythe told Olson. “They use a lot of tight ends in a way I’m familiar with, so hopefully we can continue that tradition.”

Notre Dame remains No. 3 in ESPN's class of 2013 recruiting rankings , trailing No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Alabama.

Below, we break down the Irish's 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes. The 2013 class features nine ESPN 150 prospects (*), three ESPN300 prospects (**), one five-star commit, 18 four-stars and four three-stars. The class of 2014 consists of four players, all of whom are ESPN Watch List members.

Class of 2013
Class of 2014
  • Watch List OLB Greer Martini (Woodberry Forest, Va./Woodberry Forest)
  • Watch List OT Jay Hayes (Brooklyn, N.Y./Poly Prep)
  • Watch List OT Jimmy Byrne (Cleveland/Saint Ignatius)
  • Watch List WR Justin Brent (Speedway, Ind./Speedway)

Bryant addition another boost

December, 10, 2012
Notre Dame has gotten quite the lift off the field following a 12-0 regular season on it.

Look no further than this past weekend, when four-star running back Greg Bryant pledged to the Irish, one day after the school beat out Ohio State for Class of 2014 Watch List offensive lineman Jimmy Byrne. Insider

Bryant, Notre Dame's 22nd 2013 commit, immediately becomes the Irish's second-highest rated prospect, beyond Jaylon Smith. And he will likely have the chance to step in immediately, with the Irish losing Theo Riddick and possibly Cierre Wood after this season.

With Bryant, George Atkinson III, Cam McDaniel, the yet-to-be-seen Amir Carlisle and freshman William Mahone, the Irish should have no shortage of backs to turn to next season, and the different styles each brings will create an interesting dynamic.

The addition of Bryant moved Notre Dame up one spot, to No. 3, in ESPN's class of 2013 recruiting rankings, behind USC and Florida. Insider You can read scouts' take on Bryant here. Insider

Below, we break down the Irish's 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes. The 2013 class features eight ESPN150 prospects (*), four ESPN300 prospects (**), 17 four-star commits and one five-star. The Class of 2014 consists of four players, three of whom are ESPN Watch List members.

Class of 2013
Class of 2014
The already-crowded Notre Dame famous parents section will have to make room for one more.

ESPN 150 receiver Torii Hunter Jr. (Prosper, Texas/Prosper) committed to the Irish following their primetime home win over Michigan, our Damon Sayles writes, making him the school's 21st commitment for the Class of 2013.

Hunter Jr. is the son of the MLB All-Star of the same name, and he joins the nephew of Dodgers manager Don Mattingly (Danny) and the son of pro basketball Hall of Famer David Robinson (Corey) as Irish 2013 commitments looking to make their own names.

Hunter Jr. raved about Saturday's atmosphere to Sayles, an obvious strong sign for a program that has been looking to make its game day scene a little bit more electric. Coach Brian Kelly has said that will come with winning. And, as he found out by landing Sayles, Notre Dame can benefit beyond the scoreboard because of it, too.

Hunter Jr. is ESPN's 50th overall prospect, the No. 6 player in Texas and the No. 8 receiver in the nation.

Here is a breakdown of the Irish's 21-man 2013 recruiting class, which features 17 four-star prospects, six ESPN150 commits (*) and 12 ESPN300 commits (**)
For a few minutes, anyway, Will Fuller (Philadelphia/Roman Catholic) was just another one of us.

The three-star wide receiver and former Penn State commitment was among the gathered media members Saturday outside the LaBar Practice Complex, awaiting the start of Notre Dame's fall camp like everyone else.

Fuller got to stay when the rest of us were kicked out, and he clearly liked what he saw on the field and off, as he eventually became the Irish's 19th Class of 2013 commitment.

The 6-foot-1, 163-pound prospect caught 46 balls for 758 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, and he tested well this spring on the Nike Combine circuit, posting an electronically-timed 4.53 40-yard dash, 4.25 20-yard shuttle, 33.9-inch vertical and 88.47 SPARQ Insider.

Fuller is ranked by ESPN as the No. 132 receiver in the Class of 2013, and as the No. 26 player in the state of Pennsylvania.

Here's a look at the Irish's 19-man 2013 recruiting class, which features 15 four-star prospects, four three-star prospects, five ESPN150 commits (*) and 10 ESPN300 commits (**)
Alex Anzalone will be going to Notre Dame. He will be going to Notre Dame early. And, if he gets his wish, he will be wearing jersey No. 5, too.

All of which led the current defensive owner of that digit to post Sunday night on Twitter: "I think I might have started something special at ND."

Replacing the production of Manti Te'o, a potential first-round NFL draft pick, is a tall task for anyone. But the future of the Irish's linebacking unit is in good hands. Anzalone's commitment Sunday at The Opening — two months after his decommitment from Ohio State after a sex offender, a Buckeyes fan, posted a picture of himself and Anzalone on the Web — rounds out a loaded corps in the middle for the 2013 class, as Jaylon Smith, Michael Deeb and Danny Mattingly have already pledged to Notre Dame since the beginning of June.

ESPN rates Anzalone as a four-star prospect, the No. 5 player at his position in the nation and the 66th-best player overall from the 2013 class, one that is shaping up this offseason to be very special for Brian Kelly and the Irish staff.

Here is a breakdown of the Irish's 17-man 2013 recruiting class, which is composed of 14 four-star prospects, five ESPN150 commits (*) and 10 ESPN300 commits (**)

Deeb commit keeps Irish rolling

June, 29, 2012
What was once a gap at linebacker has been filling up pretty quickly lately, with four-star inside linebacker Michael Deeb (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) committing Friday to Notre Dame, becoming the Irish's 16th Class of 2013 commit.

Deeb's pledge comes three days after three-star athlete Danny Mattingly (Spokane, Wash./Mead) committed to the Irish and nearly four weeks after four-star outside linebacker Jaylon Smith (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers) announced his plans to go to South Bend, Ind.

There is likely one inside linebacker spot remaining in this class, one everyone associated with Notre Dame hopes is eventually filled by Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing, Pa./Wyomissing). His future remains unclear, but the Irish's looks brighter by the day after landing another big prospect in the month of June.

Here's a breakdown of the Irish's 16-man 2013 recruiting class, which is composed of 13 four-star prospects, four ESPN150 commits (*) and nine ESPN300 commits (**)
The combination of Don Mattingly and David Robinson could make the family section the most popular spot in Notre Dame Stadium in the coming years.

For now, the Irish will revel in commitment No. 15, three-star athlete Danny Mattingly (Spokane, Wash./Mead), who is the nephew of the former Yankees star and current Dodgers manager. Much more importantly, he is the second linebacker commit for Notre Dame, having recorded 62 tackles and four interceptions last season while also hauling in six scores as a tight end.

A Catholic with Indiana roots, Mattingly reportedly had his eyes on Notre Dame for some time, with his high school coach, Sean Carty, telling colleague Erik McKinney that "it's something he's been thinking about his whole life." Insider

Here's a breakdown of the Irish's 15-man 2013 recruiting class, which is composed of three four-star prospects, four ESPN150 commits (*) and nine ESPN300 commits (**)
College football guru Phil Steele compiled his list of 200 high school prospects to watch during their senior seasons this fall, and Notre Dame has six 2013 commitments on the list.

Using a point system based on four major recruiting services, Steele has Michigan with 14 top-200 prospects and Texas with 10.

Alabama, Ohio State and USC each have nine, while Florida and Georgia have seven apiece. Texas A&M matches the Irish with six.

9. LB Jaylon Smith
91. DL Isaac Rochell
108. QB Malik Zaire
145. OL Hunter Bivin
147. OL Steve Elmer
161. OL John Montelus
When the names "Jimmy Clausen" and "Manti Te'o" are brought up in comparison, you know Notre Dame had a good weekend.

Whether "Jaylon Smith" is a bigger name than either is a debate for another time -- like, in five years. For now the Irish can rejoice in the news they got from the four-star linebacker Saturday at the inaugural R.A.S. Football Camp, where Smith (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers) announced that he'll be heading 90 minutes West, to South Bend, next year.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Smith is a huge get for the Irish. He is ESPN's No. 46 overall player in the Class of 2013, is its No. 3 linebacker in the nation, and is the state of Indiana's top prospect. He will arrive just as Te'o is leaving, after he is done playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl next January.

Perhaps most importantly, between now and then he may go to work as an extension of Notre Dame's staff, saying he will sell the program to top uncommitted prospects Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing, Pa./Wyomissing) and Vernon Hargreaves (Tampa, Fla./Wharton). Anzalone is a four-star outside linebacker, ESPN's No. 65 overall prospect. Hargreaves? He's a five-star corner, No. 4 overall.

On Sunday, uncommitted linebacker Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield), who currently has the Irish second behind Ohio State, didn't shy away from the potential impact of having Smith in South Bend. Insider

"They just got Jaylon Smith on defense, and that defense is about to be really good," Garrett said. "They have a great defensive scheme, they send a lot of players to the NFL and that's my No. 1 goal. I'm trying to get to the NFL, so I feel like they can help me if I go to that school."

A slow winter and disappointing end to the 2012 recruiting season have given way to a strong spring -- one punctuated by the commitment of a prospect who immediately had his name thrown around with those of the great Notre Dame pledges of recent history.

Here is Notre Dame's 13-man 2013 recruiting class, which consists of 11 four-star prospects and three ESPN 150 players. (*)


The latest from Gustin at The Opening
ESPN 300 athlete Porter Gustin (Salem, Utah/Salem Hills) took time out to talk recruiting and more with WeAreSC's Garry Paskwietz on Tuesday at The Opening.


Friday, 8/29
Saturday, 8/30