Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 31, 2016

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 7 of 55

8 OCT. 31, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Five Questions With … SENIOR GOLFER BLAKE BARENS Foster Sarell Provides Critical Need And Star Power By Corey Bodden The Irish are looking to add at least one more offensive lineman in the class, and it wouldn't get much better than landing Graham (Wash.) Kapow- sin five-star tackle Foster Sarell. Notre Dame has an uphill battle to earn Sarell's signature, but he is intrigued by what Notre Dame can offer on and off the field. Not only would Sarell boost the young talent on the Irish offensive line, it would also be a big victory over Stanford off the field. The Irish and Cardinal often collide off the field given their unique situations academically. The Cardinal came out on top in one key battle for Santa Ana (Calif.) High four-star wide receiver Osiris St. Brown, who is the younger brother of Notre Dame sophomore wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. Sarell is a consensus five-star across the four major recruiting services and is ranked among the overall top five by three. He has the size and long arms coaching staffs are looking for in tackles, and complements those gifts with good technique and quickness off the snap. While adding a talented playmaker in the secondary is another major need for the Irish, securing one of the top players in the country, regardless of posi- tion, would be a major win for Notre Dame on and off the field. Especially when you consider the number of current targets on the offensive line board is much shorter compared to the secondary. Amari Carter Can Help Upgrade The Defense By David McKinney Notre Dame could definitely stand to grab some safety help in this class, and Amari Carter could be it. At 6-2 and 180 pounds, he is a complete safety that can land devastating hits in the defensive backfield. Notre Dame has had to dip into the fresh- man class early in 2016 to help a depleted and ever-thinning secondary, so the more defensive backs the Irish can bring in to build depth for the future, the better. Carter, a Florida product who holds offers from several top programs, visited Notre Dame for the first time for Irish Invasion in June, and returned for the Stanford game to get a second look and to let his mom check out the campus. The weekend was the last chance for the Irish coaching staff to make an impression on Carter, as he will announce his commitment one week after his visit, Oct. 22 during a ceremony at Palm Beach Gardens High School. Miami is the perceived leader for Carter, with Notre Dame running a close second. The coaching staff needed to pull out all the stops during the visit in an attempt to sway Carter from the Hurricanes. He's an underrated player, who would just need to put on a little bit of weight once he gets to South Bend. After that, it's certainly possible that Carter could come in early and make an impact, or at least add a factor of depth, to a struggling Irish defense. Point ✦ Counterpoint: WHICH RECRUIT VISITING FOR THE STANFORD GAME IS MOST CRUCIAL TO NOTRE DAME'S 2017 CLASS? FOSTER SARELL AMARI CARTER Barens notched his first collegiate victory at the annual Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic Oct. 9‑11. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS Senior Blake Barens recorded his first career indi- vidual victory with a 9-under-par 201 (66-67-68) at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic Oct. 9-11. In August, he qualified for the 2016 U.S. Amateur at Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where he advanced to the round of 64 after a posting a 1-over 141 (69-72) in the stroke play portion of the event. BGI: What was going through your mind when you realized you won the tournament? Barens: "At first, it was a bit of a shock. To be honest, I was more focused on the team because it was com- ing down to the wire whether or not we would win the team title as well. It turned out we lost by one. I guess that was my main focus. "After that, it all just started to sink and it felt really nice. It felt great to win on my home course." BGI: What went well during the tournament that led to the victory? Barens: "I was pretty much firing on all cylinders. I was really striking the ball well and I made a lot of putts early on in the tournament. "I was able to hold on coming in and maintain that ball striking throughout." BGI: You went into the final round with a lead — how did you combat the urges to look ahead and get too far ahead of yourself before the tournament was over? Barens: "It's hard to do. It was definitely in my mind. At the same time, I was just trying to focus on one shot at a time as 18 holes is a lot of golf and a two- shot lead at the start of the day is really nothing when the guy [who was in second] shot 65 [in the second round] and I know he is playing well. "I knew I had to play my best golf in order to win. In order do that I knew I had to focus on one shot at a time. Those thoughts of it would be great to hoist the trophy were definitely going through my mind, but once I was stepping up to my shot I was focusing on that one shot." BGI: What does this victory do for your game as you continue your senior season? Barens: "It's a great confidence boost knowing I can win at the collegiate level. Hopefully I can carry that momentum going forward [this fall] and into the spring season." BGI: Was your performance at the U.S. Amateur the confidence boost you needed in your game for this season? Barens: "It was definitely a big confidence boost over the summer. It gave me the confidence going into this fall knowing I can play with the top guys in the country. "It was a nice boost, which I think played a part in this week in being prepared and knowing how to close it out." — Corey Bodden

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Oct. 31, 2016