Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 12, 2016

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

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6 SEPT. 12, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED EVOLVING STRATEGY Recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach Mike Elston sees a bright future for Notre Dame's pursuit of talent Elston believes that Notre Dame's deal with Bleacher Report for behind-the-scenes access in 2016 will offer the Irish a unique advantage in recruiting. PHOTO BY ANDREW IVINS BY DAVID MCKINNEY A ny job requires balance. No matter what a person does for a living, they're going to be challenged and, at some point, that all too common office cliché of "being swamped" occurs. Therein lies the necessity of balance. A job comes with tasks, and prioritiza- tion is key to success. And in no pro- fession is your success, or lack thereof, more scrutinized then in coaching, especially at the college football level. Enter Mike Elston, Notre Dame's linebackers coach and recruiting co- ordinator. Elston is not only judged season by season on how well his po- sition group performs, but also the strength of each year's recruiting class. Recruiting is an around-the-clock business, like coaching. Elston, who has been on head coach Brian Kelly's staff since Kelly started at Central Michigan in 2004, said he's been able to prioritize the two important tasks that come with his job titles. "Coach Kelly has put together a heck of a staff," Elston said. "In the recruiting office, we've done a great job of detailing out who is going to do what, so I don't feel myself stressed with that part of it, where I have to spend a ton of time on recruiting and then fall short in linebacker play. "My players that are on this campus take precedence over anything. If [ju- nior linebacker] Nyles Morgan comes up and knocks on my door, I stop what I'm doing. That's never really an issue for me." Lending Elston a huge hand in the recruiting arena is Bleacher Report, which inked a deal with Notre Dame for behind-the-scenes access to the Irish football program for the 2016 season. Bleacher Report noted that it will use that access to produce "com- pelling human drama pieces, player interviews, features, scripted humor skits and powerful social visuals." Elston said the publicity from Bleacher Report will offer the Irish a unique advantage in recruiting. "No one else is doing Bleacher Re- port," Elston said. "That is a product of recruiting. We are going to get ex- posure on Bleacher Report that no one else in the country is going to get. It's over 50 million viewers every single day seeing what we're putting out. "You're going to see practices and fun stuff we are doing so people can see us in a different light." This is the second season in a row Notre Dame has drawn back the cur- tain for a media outlet. Last year, the Irish were featured on Showtime's "A Season With." The program played well with fans, but according to a poll of recruits, it didn't draw in that de- mographic like Notre Dame imagined it would. "We actually asked about 75 guys and about 48 of them responded," Elston said. "I am talking about guys that didn't commit also. We sent them to the families, too. It was a very small percentage that watched it. It was less than 10 percent. It did surprise me. "Even out of the committed kids, they didn't have Showtime. Even kids that I am recruiting now, I am talking about the Showtime series and they are like crickets. The Showtime series was incredible, but it wasn't hitting our demographic for recruiting." Hopefully, Elston said, the Bleacher Report partnership will have more of an impact on potential prospects. UNDER THE DOME

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