Notre Dame Football: John Montelus

Irish kick camp off at Culver

August, 4, 2014
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CULVER, Ind. -- Brian Kelly spending the day with the wide receivers was probably the biggest oddity emerging from Day 1 of Notre Dame fall camp. Everett Golson returned to run the first-team offense Monday, the defense's "D-Boys" chant went on without coordinator Bob Diaco and the punt returners could probably do a better job of fielding undefended kicks, first day of practice or not.

Oh, and a pair of horses looked on at the new artificial turf fields here at Culver Military Academy, where the Irish will practice the rest of the week before returning to campus Saturday.

[+] EnlargeNotre Dame's Everett Golson
AP Photo/Joe RaymondEverett Golson was running the first-team offense on Monday.
"It was good, it was fun for me," Kelly said after the two-hour padless session, the entirety of which was open to reporters. "Obviously you're in this business because you want to teach and being able to get in here and just give them a good base and foundation and some of the fundamentals, I think we've got really top notch athletes at that position. Just really spending a little more time with fundamentals on releases, transition, some of the things I think can really help them develop a solid foundation, they've got a great skill set."

Kelly said that his time with the receivers has not affected his ability to evaluate the quarterbacks, as the fifth-year Irish head coach subs in for offensive coordinator/outside receivers coach Mike Denbrock, who is out for the first several weeks of camp following an undisclosed operation.

Kelly said the program is happy to accommodate Denbrock however it can, as the staff is relaying video to him on an iPad. The date of Denbrock's return remains up in the air.

As for what else went down on Day 1 at Culver:
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.
Brian Kelly reiterated Friday that he will again call plays next season. New quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur will have full autonomy over his signal callers in the meeting room. And new offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock will put it all together and oversee the entire offense.

That was the blueprint laid out during a joint news conference to announce Notre Dame's finalized staff for the 2014 season, with LaFleur coming over from the Washington Redskins and Denbrock adding more to his plate after coaching the Irish's outside receivers for the past two seasons (and tight ends in the two seasons before that).

[+] EnlargeBrian Kelly
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesHead coach Brian Kelly will call the plays this fall for Notre Dame.
"We're transitioning back to an offense that I feel is best suited for the personnel that we have, and I think it's important to really get that philosophy and influence back into the offense, and I know it the best," Kelly said. "And then, once we're able to lay that in there, I think it will give everyone a great visual look of what that offense will look like, and I think it starts with me. I think it's important that if I want that offense to have the look, it's important that I have the influence in some fashion, and this is the best way to do it."

Kelly also shed some light on personnel matters, saying that linebacker Doug Randolph (shoulder), end Chase Hounshell (shoulder) and offensive lineman John Montelus (shoulder) were all expected to be ready for spring ball come March 3. Safety Nicky Baratti, who, like the other three players, missed all of 2013 with a shoulder injury, will be cleared for contact this spring but might be held until the fall as a precautionary measure.

Defensive lineman Tony Springman (ACL, infection) is progressing but has not been cleared for spring ball just yet after missing all of 2013, nor has linebacker Jarrett Grace (broken leg), with Kelly saying that Grace's recovery is taking a bit more time because he broke a bone in four different places when he left the field Oct. 5 against Arizona State.

Kelly did add that linebacker Ben Councell (ACL) and center Nick Martin (MCL) are both exceeding expectations, though neither is expected to be available this spring after suffering their injuries late in the season.

Notes: Kelly said that Notre Dame will still operate out of a 3-4 base under new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, though it will again be about a 50-50 split based on personnel. … Fifth-year players will not be announced until after national signing day, following usual protocol, though Kelly said those players know where they stand. ESPN.com and other outlets have reported that Austin Collinsworth, Christian Lombard, Kendall Moore and Justin Utupo are the four fifth-year players who will be back for 2014. … Kelly said he still needs to fill out one more graduate assistant position. Former Irish and NFL safety Kyle McCarthy tweeted earlier Friday that he will be a GA this season.

Kelly: Boston attack 'shakes you'

April, 17, 2013
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Brian Kelly spent much of his early life in and around the Boston area. He was born in Everett, Mass., and raised in Chelsea. He went to St. John's Prep in Danvers and was a linebacker at Assumption College in Worcester.

Jones
Kelly
So the Notre Dame head coach knows the devastation that rocked his old community Monday when a pair of explosions went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring many more.

"We were obviously devastated with the news as everybody else was," Kelly said Wednesday. "After a few hours of making calls and making sure all family and friends were safe, our next thought was to the victims. Terrible day, especially being from Boston and growing up with Patriots Day being kind of our holiday, if you will, as a Bostonian.

"So not only the tragedy of the loss of life and the injured, but it shakes you when that kind of private holiday that is so much Boston is shattered. It’s going to be hard. A lot of people are going to need some time to get over this."

No current Irish players are from Massachusetts. Incoming offensive lineman John Montelus, who will enroll at Notre Dame this summer, is from Everett (Mass.) High School.
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.

Folston stays with Notre Dame

February, 6, 2013
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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:
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
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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
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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.

NOTRE DAME IN STEELE'S 200
9. LB Jaylon Smith
91. DL Isaac Rochell
108. QB Malik Zaire
145. OL Hunter Bivin
147. OL Steve Elmer
161. OL John Montelus

ND in the ESPN 150, ESPN 300

June, 6, 2012
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RecruitingNation's newest rankings are out, and Notre Dame has a strong presence.

Three of the Irish's 13 commits from the Class of 2013 are in the ESPN 150, and four more crack the ESPN 300: CB Devin Butler (Washington/Gonzaga), TE-Y Mike Heuerman (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier), OT John Montelus (Everett, Mass./Everett) and ATH Rashad Kinlaw (Galloway, N.J./Absegami).

Four-star linebacker Jaylon Smith (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers) leads the way for the Irish, as the program's newest commit jumped 26 spots, up to No. 20 overall.

Only six other schools currently have more top-300 commits than Notre Dame. LSU also has seven total ESPN 300 commits.

RecruitingNation goes inside the rankings here, with stories and video breakdowns. Jared Shanker has a piece on Smith's recruiting efforts for the rest of Notre Dame's 2013 class, and Corey Long looks at four-star running back Ryan Green (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg Catholic), an Irish prospect. Both players are among Tom Luginbill's biggest risers.

Our team is chatting here until 4 ET, so be sure to join them and fire away any questions you have.

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