Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2017 Issue

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 12 of 63 MAY 2017 13 UNDER THE DOME On April 6, sophomore rover Spen- cer Perry announced via Twitter that he would be transferring from Notre Dame. The 6-2, 209-pounder posted the following message: " Thanks to The University of Notre Dame for opportu- nity to pursue my education and play football. All the best to my advisors, professors, rector, teammates, coaches and the Fighting Irish fans. At this time, I am electing to transfer and continue my educational goals and football ca- reer elsewhere." The former three-star prospect in the class of 2016 played in six games on special teams as a freshman after en- rolling early in January. The Newhan, Ga., native attended Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy. This spring under new defensive coordinator Mike Elko, Spencer was shifted to the hybrid rover position, which is considered part safety, part linebacker and an integral position in the overall scheme. Senior captain Drue Tranquill and junior linebacker Asmar Bilal are slated to get the lion's share of action there. Per analyst Bryan Driskell, Perry felt more comfortable at safety, but the two-deep there also appeared to be rounding into form with junior Nick Coleman and sophomore Devin Studstill (who started nine games last season) at strong safety, while sophomore Jalen Elliott and 2017 early enrollee Isaiah Robertson were at free safety. With the departure of Perry, Notre Dame is still, by our count, at 86 scholarship players for 2017, or one over the NCAA limit of 85, which it will need to be at by August. Here is the current breakdown: • Three fifth-year seniors (offensive linemen Mike McGlinchey and Hunter Bivin, and tight end Durham Smythe). • 18 fourth-year seniors, including Michigan receiver and graduate transfer Freddy Canteen, who will join the Irish in the summer after graduating from U-M. • 22 juniors. • 22 sophomores with the departure of Perry. • 21 incoming freshmen. Notre Dame actually is "ahead of schedule" from last year. After National Signing Day 2016, Notre Dame's scholarship number stood at 87. Yet by the start of the season, it was down to 83 — and that was after adding sophomore walk-on receiver Chris Finke to the scholarship chart, plus the return of tight end Tyler Luatua, who had been planning before the spring to transfer to Brigham Young but changed his mind. That 's because the Irish lost six players from February through Au- gust for various reasons: seniors Corey Robinson (wide receiver) and Doug Randolph (defensive end) had medi- cal issues that precluded them from playing, thereby transferring their football scholarships to a university-paid medi- cal expense. Another senior, starting guard Steve Elmer, opted to graduate after three years and move on to a career beyond football. Reserve defensive end Grant Blankenship, suspended from football activities at the time, decided to transfer to Oklahoma. Finally, safe- ties Mykelti Williams (now at Syracuse) and Max Redfield were dismissed from the team. Perry, a former three-star prospect according to Rivals, played in six games on special teams as a freshman. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA Irish At 86 Scholarship Players After Spencer Perry Transfers 2018 NOTRE DAME COMMIT BRADEN LENZY BLAZING IN TRACK On April 19, Notre Dame 2018 verbal commit Braden Lenzy from Portland, Ore., broke the state record in the 200 meters during a dual meet with a time of 21.10. Or at least for a few hours he did. Upon further review the ensuing day, the time was dropped to the sixth fastest in state history (21.34) after meet officials discovered the starter did not reset the automatic timing but- ton. As of April 20, Lenzy's 10.88 time in the 100 meters is the third best in the state. He also was part of a school-record 4x400-meter relay team as a freshman — and has recently participated in the 300-meter hurdles and long jump for the first time. Even though he's still only a junior, this might be Lenzy's last chance to break the state record in the 200 meters because his plan is to graduate in December so he can enroll early at Notre Dame in January and go through winter conditioning and spring drills. "I'm not sure we're going to have that window," Tigard track coach Shane Kessler (also the defensive coordinator) told The Oregonian of a senior track year next season for Lenzy, "but I do feel confident that the record is going down this year." SCOTT PAGANO CHOOSES OREGON Clemson graduate transfer defensive tackle Scott Pagano announced April 14 that he will play his fifth and final season at the University of Oregon instead of Notre Dame. The 6-3, 295-pound native of Hawai'i took an official visit to Notre Dame the week- end of March 3-5 and cancelled slated trips to Oklahoma and Arkansas before se- lecting the Ducks, who posted the same 4-8 record as the Fighting Irish last season. Pagano received his degree in sociology last December and rotated along the defensive line for the national champion Tigers, finishing with 31 tackles, 4.5 stops for loss and two for sacks. At Clemson he still would have been a rotational player behind a couple of top NFL prospects at tackle, but at Notre Dame he might have been considered the best defensive lineman on the 2017 roster had he enrolled. Not only did the Irish finish 72nd last year against the run (182.4 yards allowed per game), but the linemen re- corded the fewest sacks (three) among Football Bowl Subdivision Power Five teams. All three were by Isaac Rochell and Jarron Jones, who have exhausted their college eligibility and might have NFL careers in front of them. From head coach Brian Kelly's perspective, there is no place to go but up for the line, and under new defensive coordinator Mike Elko he stated prior to Pagano's decision that is where the Irish will be going. "I think we have a lot more along the defensive line than many people think," Kelly said. "We have some edge players with athletic ability. I think we're physical inside. "There is a lot more than what people have made out that our defensive line can be."

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - May 2017 Issue