Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2021

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

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Page 14 of 39 FEBRUARY 2021 15 UNDER THE DOME 40 Years Ago: Feb. 13, 1981 In his first two months on the job as Notre Dame's head coach, Gerry Faust takes the college football re- cruiting world by storm by signing what is considered the unanimous No. 1 class in the country. The 27-man haul features an un- heard of 13 Parade All-Americans, which in days of yore were deemed the five-star recruits of today. Alphabetically, the 13 Parade All- Americans were: tight end Mark Ba- varo, fullback Mark Brooks, tight end Robbie Finnegan, defensive linemen Mike Gann and Mike Golic, safety Joe Johnson, quarterback Ken Karcher, linebacker Mike Larkin, flanker Van Pearcy, defensive lineman Tony Pic- cin, linebacker Tom Roggeman, tail- back Chris Smith and offensive line- man Larry Williams. Brooks and Larkin both were from Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller High, which Faust had made into the nation's top high school football program while producing a 174-17-2 (.907) record from 1963-80, and 70-1 his last six seasons. The nation's top recruiting maven at the time, Joe Terranova, indicated that one eastern legend who knew quarterbacks said Karcher could be "the next Joe Willie [Namath]." Meanwhile, Terranova noted that running back Smith "may be the only player in American to compare favorably with [Georgia superstar] Herschel Walker [from a pure strength standpoint]." Williams is rated the best offensive lineman in California, while Jay Underwood and Mike Kiernan were selected as Linemen of the Year in their respective states of Virginia and Kentucky. "The incoming linemen have such enormous size that if they hold out their left arm they may well be mistaken for a railroad crossing," Terranova wrote. On paper, it is classified as maybe the greatest recruiting class in college football history. 35 Years Ago: Feb. 12, 1986 Unlike five years earlier, the first recruiting class under new head coach Lou Holtz, the successor to Faust (30-26-1 from 1981-85), arrives with a little less fanfare. Ten of the 22-man haul are from the Chicago area, with five alone coming from St. Laurence High. The top three recruits from that high school are linemen Paul Glonek, Jeff Pearson and Mike Harazin, while another offensive lineman — Tim Grunhard — is not as highly ranked. The fifth, running back/ athlete Stan Smagala, is reluctantly accepted by Holtz only because Faust already had promised him a scholarship. (Grunhard and Smagala would become three-years starters during a school-record 23- game winning streak, and future pros.) Headlining the top-15 class are linebacker and USA Today Defensive Player of the Year John Foley from Chicago St. Rita and Woodruff, S.C., quarterback Tony Rice, an option wizard and Parade All- American. The Irish also sign local product Anthony Johnson, a running back/linebacker from South Bend Adams, and tap into Louisiana by inking linebackers Michael Stonebreaker and Rod West. 15 Years Ago: Feb. 1, 2006 In his first full season as a recruiter, head coach Charlie Weis and his staff land what Weis bills "a killer class" that is ranked as high as No. 3 nationally by Tom Lemming. The 28-man harvest is the most in volume since the 30 in 1987. That number is allowed because three early enrollees — a first in school history — are applied to the previous year's record-low 15- man haul. The trio features running back James Aldridge, offensive lineman Chris Stewart and receiver George West. Despite the numbers, the Irish fall short along the defensive line. The haul is highlighted by a six-man offensive line led by five-star tackle Sam Young, who edges out quarterback Tim Tebow as Florida's Gatorade Player of the Year. — Lou Somogyi Anniversaries In Notre Dame Athletics History: February Defensive lineman Mike Golic was among 13 Parade All- Americans signed by the Fighting Irish in 1981. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS NOTRE DAME NOTRE DAME AUTO MATS AUTO MATS *PLEASE ADD SALES TAX IN IN, MI, AND NC Mats are shipped direct from manufacturer. Please allow time for processing and delivery. Returns not accepted unless item is damaged. BLUE AND GOLD ILLUSTRATED PO BOX 2331 • DURHAM, NC 27702 800-421-7751 #6503 - 2pc Vinyl Front Mat Set $49.95 + FREE S&H #6504 - 2pc Vinyl Utility Mat Set $37.95 + FREE S&H #6518 - 4pc Vinyl Front & Utility Mat Set $74.95 + FREE S&H Front Mats 18"x27" • Utility Mats 14"x17" 31"x31" VINYL CARGO MAT $59.95 + FREE S&H CHOICE OF LOGO DESIGN: ND Logo (Item #6519-ND) Leprechaun Logo (Item #6519-LEP) VINYL AUTO MATS Available in 2-pc or 4-pc Sets Logo Choice: ND or Leprechaun

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