Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 42 of 47 FEBRUARY 2019 43 IRISH IN THE PROS going to expand the NFL and United Way's digital charter education pro- gram (Character Playbook) and the other to a charity of their choice. The other 31 nominees will receive a $50,000 donation in their name for Charter Playbook and $50,000 to the charity of their choice. THE IRISH WILL BE WELL REPRESENTED IN THE PRO BOWL On Dec. 18, the National Football League announced the rosters for the 2019 Pro Bowl, which will be held Jan. 27 in Orlando, Fla. Notre Dame is set to be represented on both the AFC and NFC teams. For the fourth straight season, Min- nesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith was selected to the all-star game after he racked up 84 tackles and three interceptions. Smith also is in a position to be- come a two-time All-Pro after earn- ing that honor last year. "There are a lot of guys that do different things, but he's just a re- ally good football player all around," Minnesota defensive backs coach Jerry Gray told "He can get the ball out of the air, he can make tackles, he can play close to the line of scrimmage and he can be in the middle of the field. "He's the standard of being an all- around player. A lot of guys can't do that because they don't have the range or the ball skills or the smarts. They are good football players, but he's a guy that can separate himself. "He's set a standard. … Young guys are looking up at the level he plays." In the 2018 NFL Draft, the India- napolis Colts selected former Irish star guard Quenton Nelson at No. 6 overall. He has not disappointed the organization, becoming the first rookie offensive lineman to be se- lected to the Pro Bowl since Cowboys guard Zack Martin did the same in 2014 after departing Notre Dame. Throughout the year, Pro Football Focus ranked the rookies across the league. After 15 games, the service had Nelson at No. 9 with a grade that put him among the top 10 at his position in the en- tire NFL. "Nelson's overall grade of 73.0 is good for sev- enth among all offensive guards this year, while his 81.8 pass-blocking grade ranks 14th," PFF noted. "After a relatively average start, Nelson has come on and produced some tre- mendous pass-blocking performances this year. "He's produced pass- blocking grades of at least 70.0 in 12 of his 15 games as a pro so far, and he's s u r re n d e re d p re s s u re on just 3.4 percent of his pass-blocking snaps on the year, which is tied for the 10th best mark among guards and all the more impressive when you consider the fact that he's played a colossal 644 pass-blocking snaps this year, the third most among all offensive guards." The guard has been a major part of an improved Indianapolis offensive line that helped the squad reach the playoffs. Meanwhile, Martin will be in his fifth straight Pro Bowl for Dallas. ✦ M A R K E T P L A C E Vintage Notre Dame Memorabilia Augie's Locker Room ND Stadium Items, Jerseys, Helmets, Autographs and One of a Kind Rockne Items. COME INTO THE STORE TO SEE OUR RARE NOTRE DAME HELMET DISPLAY, 1900 - PRESENT!! Voted Best Notre Dame Collectables in the Country! 1811 South Bend Ave. South Bend , I n 46637 574-277-NDND (6363) FACEBOOK.COM/AUGIESLOCKERROOM NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL GAMES on VHS or DVD for sale, from 1928 to present. Contact Peter Rahas at 7700 Golden Filly St., Las Vegas, NV 89131 or call 1-702-395-2974 NOTRE DAME IN THE NFL: WEEK 17 HIGHLIGHTS • TJ Jones (Played at Notre Dame from 2010-13), WR, Detroit Lions: Put together the finest game of his four-year NFL career, catching three passes for 40 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-0 win over the Green Bay Packers. • DeShone Kizer (2014-16), QB, Green Bay Packers: Completed 16 of 35 passes for 132 yards with an interception after taking over for Aaron Rodgers, who went down with an injury, during the 31-0 loss to the Lions. • KeiVarae Russell (2012-15), CB, Cincinnati Bengals: Recorded six tackles and one pass defended in a 16-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. • Stephon Tuitt (2011-13), DE, Pittsburgh Steelers: Made three tackles, including half a sack, in the 16-13 win over the Bengals. Guard Quenton Nelson became the first NFL rookie offensive line- man to make the Pro Bowl since fellow Notre Dame grad Zack Martin in 2014. PHOTO COURTESY INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 2019 ND FOOTBALL BUY * SELL * TRADE 800-925-2500

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