Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2018

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

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8 FEBRUARY 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Former Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic wing D.J. Harvey was the lone player signed by Notre Dame in the 2017 class. Head coach Mike Brey mentioned multiple times during the offseason that the Irish staff would need the former top-60 recruit to be a contributor off the bench this season. During the team's 13- g a m e n o n - c o n fe r e n c e schedule, the freshman averaged 5.5 points and 2 . 4 re b o u n d s i n 1 6 . 5 minutes per contest. He essentially served as the sixth man, playing the m o st m i n u te s o ff t h e bench. BGI: What's the adjust- ment been for you this first half of the season? Harvey: "How demand- ing the college game is. A lot of aches and pains. The season is a lot more grueling than high school and making the adjustment of icing more. Days off are actually very crucial — you can't just all the time come in here and work out on off days. Also, the pace of the game and style of play and physicality. I feel like I'm coming along nicely. "I never had to ice or anything like that [in high school]. It was definitely an adjustment for me. Just ic- ing a lot more and feeling like an old man." BGI: What do you feel you've learned in the first half of the season that can help you during ACC play? H a r v e y : " C o n f i d e n c e . My teammates really in- still confidence in me and Coach Brey is a confidence giver. " O f f e n s i v e l y, m o v i n g without the ball. I feel I can get a lot of buckets because of the way we move and play off each other." BGI: What do you think you've done well so far? Harvey: "I feel I've taken advantage of my op- portunities when I've been in being aggressive and making plays. I think I need to work on my off-ball defense and rebounding. "Going into ACC play, it can't just be the four and five getting rebounds. I have to contribute some type of way." BGI: Is there any pressure being the only freshman and taking on that scoring role off the bench? Harvey: "I kind of put a lot of pressure on my- self. The guys and the coaches are always telling me to just go play and not to put pressure on myself. I feel it a little bit, but they say I don't have to worry about that and go out and play and let my play do the talking. "… [Playing at DeMatha helped] going against D-I talent since my freshman year of high school. Most of them came to the ACC and that defi- nitely helped me." BGI: How has life at Notre Dame been so far compared to your expectations coming in? Harvey: "The academic side was definitely an adjustment I had to make. Also, just the style of play and moving without the ball. I didn't really have to do that in high school because I always knew it was coming back to me. "I think I'm making those adjustments well." — Corey Bodden Five Questions With … NOTRE DAME FRESHMAN WING D.J. HARVEY December Should Work Well For Notre Dame By Lou Somogyi Entering the unknown can be unsettling, but the inaugural early signing period in college football Dec. 20-22 was beneficial at Notre Dame. Prospects who commit to Notre Dame know at least 95 percent of the time what they want from a school. There are always those who might have a change of heart (although there were none in the 2016 cycle) or some who might not meet academic stipulations, but Notre Dame generally has a good feel for its target audi- ence, and vice versa. Even in December 2016 when there was massive up- heaval in the Irish football offices after a 4-8 season, 15 were going to stick with the Fighting Irish, for better or worse. Alabama head coach Nick Saban had a different stance. "I see more players getting pressured by some schools to sign early so that they do not get an opportunity to get an offer from maybe a bigger school later, which I don't think is in the player's best interest," he said. Translation: this makes it more difficult for us to swoop in and get someone at the 11th hour in case some of our top prospects don't choose us. Every school has its own approach, but by December a school and a pros- pect should pretty well know what they want. And if they don't … there still is February to decide. Leave August through November to just play high school football and continue recruiting buzz that is good for the sport, and then finish most of recruiting for that cycle in December. Signing In September Would Be Better By Bryan Driskell While I am pleased with the early signing period, I do think it can be im- proved upon some. The Dec. 20-22 timing of the early signing period creates some issues for college programs. Louisiana Tech, SMU, Temple, Florida Inter- national, UAB, Ohio, Central Michigan and Wyoming all had to play games during the early signing period, while Texas Tech, South Florida, San Diego State, Army, Appalachian State and Toledo all played a day after the period ended. Preparing to play a game during the final week leading up to the signing period is a major challenge — and so is trying to build a class just two weeks after getting hired, which happened with several programs that made coach- ing changes. The early signing period provides protection for student- athletes by forcing schools to make final decisions about sending them letters of intent. It also allows student-ath- letes who are certain of their decision or desire to get the process over with a chance to end their recruitment even earlier than before. That is why a strong case could be made for the signing period to even more resemble the basketball model, which actually happens before a student-athlete's senior season. The earlier you land a player the greater chance there is for an evaluation mistake by a coach, but it does provide greater protection for the student-athlete. An even earlier signing period would provide student-athletes with the op- portunity to focus on their final season of high school without having to deal with college coaches constantly contacting and making their recruiting pitch. Point ✦ Counterpoint: SHOULD THE NEW EARLY SIGNING PERIOD BE MOVED UP EVEN MORE? Harvey averaged 5.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per outing during Notre Dame's 13 non-conference games. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS BRIAN KELLY

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