Blue and Gold Illustrated

June July 2018

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

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Page 12 of 63 JUNE/JULY 2018 13 UNDER THE DOME Six Notre Dame players — three on offense and three on defense — were named to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.'s early positional rankings for the 2019 NFL Draft. It is categorized by top five se- niors and top five underclassmen at each position. • Fifth-year seniors Alex Bars (guard) and Sam Mustipher (center) were pegged as the No. 2 play- ers in the nation at their respective positions in the senior class. • Senior Alizé Mack — who is considered a red- shirt junior by Kiper — was listed as the No. 5 "underclass" tight end. • Senior Jerry Tillery is categorized by Kiper as the No. 2 senior defensive tackle — an especially impressive ranking considering how loaded the defensive line is across the nation in 2018, includ- ing several first-round prospects at Clemson alone. • Senior linebacker Te'von Coney began the 2017 season as a rotation player coming off the bench. By season's end he had emerged as a starter and led the Irish in tackles (116) and tackles for loss (13). He is starting to get more and more national attention, and Kiper has him ranked as the No. 3 outside linebacker in the senior class. • Junior Julian Love is rated the No. 3 underclass cornerback in the country. Love ranked second in the country in passes broken ups (20) and passes defended (23) a season ago. During the Brian Kelly era, which enters its ninth season in 2018, Notre Dame has produced 33 total draft picks — 19 players in the first three rounds and eight first-round draft picks. The eight first-round selections are particularly notable because in the 17 drafts from 1995-2011 the Irish had only four (or half in double the time): defensive lineman Renaldo Wynn (1997), offen- sive tackle Luke Petitgout (1999), center Jeff Faine (2003) and quarterback Brady Quinn (2007). Among Notre Dame's 2018 opponents, open- ing-game foe Michigan leads the way with eight players making Kiper's lists, which includes kicker Quinn Nordin. Particularly noteworthy is Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson, declared eligible by the NCAA to play at Michigan in 2018, is No. 3 on the underclass quarterback board. Stanford (Sept. 29) is next with six players. Heis- man Trophy candidate Bryce Love ranks No. 1 on the senior running back board, while punter Jake Bailey ranks No. 1 in the senior specialist rankings. USC has five players on the board, with Cameron Smith the No. 2 senior inside linebacker and Tyler Petite the No. 2 senior tight end. Florida State, which lost a host of players who turned pro early after last year's disappointing 7-6 campaign, has only three players on the board. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ranked Sam Mustipher as the No. 2 center nationally among seniors in his initial positional rankings for the 2019 NFL Draft. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL Six Notre Dame Players Make ESPN's 2019 NFL Draft Rankings BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED PO Box 2331 Durham, NC 27702 1-800-421-7751 DELIVERY LIMITED TO CONTINENTAL U.S. PLEASE ADD SALES TAX FOR ITEMS SHIPPING TO: (NC 7.5%, IN 7%, MI 6%) GRILL MAT $49.95 + FREE S&H Available in 2 Styles: ND or Leprechaun (Item #6622-ND or #6622-LEP) (Item #6621) CUSTOM GRILL COVERS Hand-made in the USA using the finest commercial grade vinyl. Mold-resistant, breathable vinyl with drawstring bottom. Logo printed with UV-resistant ink. AVAILABLE IN 2 SIZES & 3 LOGOS: Small: 60" wide x 36" tall x 21" deep $51.95 + $15.00 S&H Large: 72" wide x 36" tall x 21" deep $54.95 + $15.00 S&H Please allow up to 2 weeks for delivery. Grill covers are made to order and shipped direct from the manufacturer.

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