Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 31, 2016

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

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Page 52 of 55 OCT. 31, 2016 53 Stepherson could be here in a few years. Tight Ends: Derek Brown (Merritt Island, 1988-91) and Oscar Mc- Bride (Chiefland, 1991-94) The 6-7 Brown was Parade's Player of the Year as a high school senior and became a program-changer. Virtually no one thought he would leave the state and go to a program way up north that had been floun- dering. His enrollment prompted the move of incumbent tight end Andy Heck to left tackle (where he became an All-American and first- round pick), while Brown became a starter as a freshman for the 1988 na- tional champs and provided a huge impact. Brown became a first-round selection. We'll go to a double tight end set with the 6-5 McBride, who was primarily a blocker but was good enough to play in the NFL a couple of years. Offensive Linemen: Mike Heldt (Tampa, 1987-90), Jeff Faine (Sanford, 2000-02), Gene McGuire (Panama City, 1988-91), Sam Young (Coral Springs, 2006-09) and Brennan Curtin (Palm Beach, 2000-02) Heldt is the center after never miss- ing a start there in his three seasons, highlighted by the school-record 23- game winning streak in 1988-89. Faine also was a three-year starter at center, receiving second-team All- America notice in 2002 en route to becoming a first-round pick in the NFL Draft, but we can move him to guard. McGuire began his career at center behind Heldt, started at left tackle in 1990 and moved back to center after Heldt's graduation — so we like his versatility at the other guard spot. The 6-8 Curtin and 6-8 Young pro- vide range at tackle. Young, who was awarded Florida's Gatorade Player of the Year honor over Tim Tebow as a high school senior, stepped in as the starter in game one and never missed answering the bell with 50 career starts. Curtin started at left tackle in 2001 and right tackle the following year. Defensive Linemen: Louis Nix III (Jacksonville, 2011-13), Ian Williams (Altamonte, 2007-10), Karmeeleyah McGill (Clearwater, 1989-92) and Jeff Kunz (Palm Beach Gardens, 1984-87) Nix, a third-round pick, was the prototype anchor in the middle. Wil- liams stepped into the starting lineup by the end of his freshman year at nose guard. McGill came into his own as a senior on a 10-1-1 team with his 54 tackles and a team-high eight QB pressures off the edge. Kunz was a four-year regular who could play in- side or on the flank. It was tempting to include 2011 freshman All-American Aaron Lynch (Cape Coral), but we opted for four- year regulars over the one-year won- der who transferred to South Florida. Linebackers: Courtney Watson (Sarasota, 2000-03), Mike Whittington (Miami, 1977-79) and Maurice Crum Jr. (Riverview, 2005-08) Watson was a centerpiece of Notre Dame's surprising 8-0 start in 2002. The second-round pick had 294 ca- reer stops with 39 for lost yardage, and picked off seven passes, return- ing two for scores. Crum was a four-year starter who made 306 stops (23 for lost yardage) and forced seven fumbles. Whittington had 197 tackles and later played four seasons with the New York Giants. Defensive Backs: Tom Carter (St. Petersburg, 1990- 92), Pat Terrell (St. Petersburg, 1986-89), Zeke Motta (Vero Beach, 2009-12) and John Covington (Winter Haven, 1990-93) Carter is the lone true corner, but free safety Terrell's speed probably could enable him to more than hold his own there. Carter picked off five passes each of his last two seasons before becom- ing a first-round pick after his junior year. Terrell provided a monumental boost at free safety for the 1988 na- tional champs after playing receiver a year earlier. His interception return for a TD and deflection of a two- point pass in the 31-30 victory versus Miami are immortalized. Motta was such a stalwart dur- ing the 12-0 regular season his se- nior year, he was awarded Defensive MVP while linebacker Manti Te'o was Team MVP. Covington, who started at outside linebacker as a sophomore, produced 185 tackles, 14 passes broken up and five intercep- tions during his career. Specialists: John Carney (West Palm Beach, 1984-86) and Ben Turk (Davie, 2009-12), Clint Johnson (Altamonte Springs, 1991-93) and Jordan Cowart (Plantation, 2009-12) One of the greatest kickers in NFL history, former walk-on Carney holds the Notre Dame record for ca- reer field goals made with 51. Turk started four seasons at punter. Speedster Johnson scored on a kick- off return in the 48-42 win at Hawai'i in 1991 and averaged 40.9 yards on his 10 returns in '93, highlighted by a TD at Stanford. Cowart started four years as the long snapper. ✦ M A R K E T P L A C E Call 877-630-8768 to advertise in Blue & Gold Illustrated! 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