Send three volleys of cheers on high for our Seniors! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hooray! As final exams end today, so begins your last week at Notre Dame. Be proud. Be gracious. Be generous. Be humble. But above all, be happy! For you have achieved something great. And you have achieved it together. When you arrived here as a herd of freshmen in 2009, did you think that in your Senior year you would see your classmates lead your football team to an undefeated season and a #1 ranking? Probably not. And so you have learned something – you have learned to believe. You see, we use football not just as a diversion, we use it as a teaching device. That’s the only way to be #1 on the field and #1 where we are now…graduation.
What, then, did you learn on the field and in the stands over the past four years? You learned that the only way to achieve victory is through very hard work, every single time. You learned that success is not instant – it is gradual and it requires both dedication and change. And you learned that to any goal which you ardently desire, you must devote your intelligence, your courage, and your strength.
In the classroom, which you have occupied far longer than the Stadium, and which you have shared not just with your classmates from the football team, but from every one of our tremendously successful teams, you have learned to think and to reason, to calculate and to deduce. In the classroom you learned to use your mind; in the stadiums and arenas, you learned to use your heart. And that is why, when you graduate, you wear a mortarboard on your head and a black robe across your chest. You are clothed in the uniform of achievement and victory.
But this cap-and-gown is really the Shamrock Series uniform of your life – it’s pretty funny looking, it’s comprised of a combination of odd colors, and you only wear it once. It also leaves out something essential…it leaves out your hands. You’ve learned to use your intelligence and your courage, your mind and your heart. But what about your strength? That’s in your hands. Hands that will write, compose, and design; hands that will care, heal, and cure; hands that will instruct, admonish, and encourage; hands that will pile up treasures and give away gifts; hands that will hold your children or be anointed with the oils of holy orders.
And it is onto your hand that is placed the most important symbol of Notre Dame graduation: The Ring. A beautiful ring that at graduation is taken off, flipped around, and put back on for the rest of your life. Our Lady’s Golden Dome on one side; Our Life, Our Sweetness, and Our Hope on the other; sprinkled throughout with the Irish symbol of blessing, the shamrock. It is not a symbol of graduation – it is a symbol of life.
Whenever you have the chance, look at the ring of an older alumnus. It is nicked and dinged, and there are chips missing here and there. So, too, will your life be marked by tests and trials, failures and losses. But these blemishes do not diminish the overall beauty of the ring; they make the ring unique to the wearer. And neither will these travails diminish the overwhelming beauty of your life; they will make it your life.
Whenever you have the chance, look at the ring of an ancient alumnus. It has been made smooth by age and years of hard wearing. All the sharp features are gone, along with all the scratches and scars, and it shines brightly all over. Let that happen to your life, too.
Make no mistake, your hands haven’t spent all of the last four years bent to work or folded in prayer. Your hands have caught footballs on the quad and held beer cans at parties. Your hands have clapped when your teams have won and when your friends have made fools of themselves in ridiculous situations. Your hands have stashed things in pockets, and executed pranks and dirty tricks. Your ring doesn’t somehow consecrate all these exploits, but it reminds you of all these good times that you’ve enjoyed under the Dome etched in its side – and in your hearts forever.
When you arrived here as a herd of freshmen in 2009, we said, “Welcome to Notre Dame!” As you graduate in 2013, we say, “Welcome to your lives!” No matter where you’re going, whether it’s across the country or around the world, you won’t be far. Because this place will always be here. And a good part of you will always be here…forever.
The 2013 NFL Player Selection Meeting a/k/a “The Draft” took place from last Thursday, and The University of Notre Dame did well. Six players were drafted over the course of seven rounds, with TE Tyler Eifert going first as the 21st pick overall and S Zeke Motta going “last” as the 244th pick overall. This was a very good draft for Notre Dame, the most since 2007 when a total of seven Irish got the coveted call. Here’s how it shook out:
First Round: Tyler Eifert was a lock to go in the first round. The only real questions were “when?” and “to whom?” After The Jets and The Vikings passed on him, the Cincinnati Bengals grabbed Tyler with the twenty-first pick overall. You can read more about Cincy’s newest “Ochocinco” here.
Second Round: Manti Te’o should have gone in the first round, but weighed down with questions about his fake girlfriend, he fell to the San Diego Chargers with the thirty-eighth pick overall. Actually, Te’o was never a consensus first round pick and the Chargers traded up to get him. You can read more about San Diago, which of course means “whale’s vagina in German,” and their newest, classiest linebacker here.
Sixth Round: Jamoris Slaughter ended a multi-round drought for Notre Dame when The Browns grabbed him with the one hundred and sevety-fifth overall pick. Coming off a season-ending Achilles injury against Michigan State and the disappointment of being denied a sixth season by the NCAA, Slaughter was surprised to get called. You can read more about his injury status and his draft experience here.
Sixth Round: Theo Riddick had to wait until the one hundred and ninety-ninth spot to get his call and it came from Detroit, but I am sure he will not let the pain of either hold him back for long. You know that Theoooooooooo did pretty much everything at ND, from returning kicks to catching passes in the slot, but did you know that The Lions’ number one pick sounds exactly like Dikembe Mutombo? And is a recent convert to football? You can listen to him, and learn more about Detroit’s thoughts on Theo, here.
Sixth Round: Kapron Lewis-Moore made it back-to-back Irish. True story, though, the last time Kap heard his name called on draft day, he got sent to Anzio. But, seriously, was there a better pair of draft day stories than Kap and Jamoris getting drafted after everything they had been through? Sure, EJ Manuel made a great story, but he wasn’t the only person in the Bills organization crying when they heard his name. Anyway, after shredding his ACL in the National Championship Game, KLM had every reason to pack it in or doubt himself. His selection is a massive credit to his performance and character over the years. You can read more about Baltimore’s newest Raven here.
Seventh Round: Zeke Motta was the last Notre Dame player selected in the 2013 Draft, going to Atlanta with the two hundred and forty-fourth pick. While getting drafted by The Falcons will condemn him to a first-contract’s worth of disappointment behind The Saints, Motta had a strong senior season and anchored a secondary that you, me, and your cousin thought would cost us at least two games last season. You can read more about Zeke’s new nest here.
UDFAs: Once, or, more accurately, AS the draft was going on, other Irish were getting calls that would ultimately lead them to signing free agent contracts. As of Sunday afternoon, four Irish signed as undrafted free agents: Braxston Cave, Mike Golic, Jr., Cierre Wood, and John Goodman. Obviously, it’s great that these men get to chase their dream for another day.
Analysis: So, that’s nine total players who signed on the dotted line in the most public and hyped “Match Day” in the world. The six draftees make this the second-best Irish class in the last decade. Still, compared to their peers, Notre Dame had a strong, but not superlative NFL Drat. Florida State saw ELEVEN players get drafted, while Alabama, LSU, and Florida had nine, each. Although D.J. Fluker may count for two. Anyway, good luck to all of them and Go Irish. (Author’s note: this post reflects “passerby”‘s correction in the comments section below.)
Last night marked the start of the 2013 NFL Draft. From the Notre Dame perspective, all eyes were on Manti Te’o and Tyler Eifert.
The Cincinnati Bengals took Eifert with their pick, 21st overall. Te’o, however, slide out of the first round completely. This shocked quite a few Irish fans, especially after Minnesota traded up to the 29th pick, their third pick in the first round. The seemingly ever growing home for NFL Domers decided to take Tennessee WR, Cordarrelle Patterson, instead.
Yes, it was definitely disappointing to watch one of Notre Dame’s favorite sons fall out of the first round; however, it shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise, nor is it the end of the world.
Personally, my draft predictions had Eifert as the only no-doubt first round pick, with Te’o possibly sliding into the second round. While the combine results certainly weighed heavily in my decision there were several other factors in play as well.
Firstly, just look at how the first round played out. Offensive and defensive linemen ruled the round, as the majority of the elite talent was found there. Usually, you would also see a few QBs and RBs taken as well, but no RBs were taken and the only QB taken was Florida State’s E.J Manuel (another huge storyline slightly buried by the Te’o slide was Geno Smith falling to the second round). What you do not see in this first round, nor in any first round, are LBs of any kind being taken in large numbers, especially inside LBs like Te’o.
The first LB taken in the draft was Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, an OLB that excels in pass rushing, at #17 by Pittsburgh. As a pass rushing LB, he fits perfectly into the 3-4 defense of Pittsburgh whom were looking for a new sack threat. Pass rushers are always at a premium in the first round, so it is no shock Jones found his way off the board in short order.
The only other LB taken was ILB Alec Ogletree (Gerogia) who was selected by the Rams at #30. Even before the combine, many draft experts had Ogletree above Te’o, and after, there was no doubt he was above Te’o on just about everyone’s draft board. Either way, realize that it took until pick #30, the third-to-last pick of the first round for anyone at Te’o's position to be selected.
It isn’t a huge knock on Te’o and Notre Dame fans don’t need to wonder what is wrong with teams that passed on him. The fact is that there are loads of ILBs still available and teams realize that. I expect that, when the dust settles, Te’o will still very likely be the second ILB taken in this draft and that’s nothing to be upset about in the least.
Yeah, it sucks that the payday won’t be as big, but I have a feeling someone of Te’o's character will be perfectly fine with having to play his way into a larger contract. Feel free to be disappointed, but don’t go into “what does this mean?”, “what did Te’o do wrong?”, “did the whole Leenay thing mess this up for him?”, or “what’s wrong with NFL teams?” mode — ESPN and the NFL Network more than enough of that for everyone.
RIP BCS — we now have a new, exciting playoff which is called…The College Football Playoff. Yes, this is a thing that a group of people sat down and decided, along with the title game’s location and all the other new playoff bowls.
Coaches can use Photoshop and Twitter to recruit, this will end well. Check that, this will end hilariously.
CAST DA FIRST STONE. Twitter is the perfect medium in which to admit an NCAA violation, especially when you can claim you were hacked after your PR team turns your brain back on for you.
Notre Dame continues to collect more of the last Big East titles. This time it was Women’s Golf, who took not only the team title, but also had two golfers tie for top individual honors. And yes, they are in the Roundup because I used to manage them back in the day. Good work, ladies!
Speaking of awesome Notre Dame female athletes…Skylar Diggins has inked a contract with Jay-Z’s new agency.
Make your travel plans now. Basketball has announced their new ACC schedule, with highlights being home games against Duke and North Carolina. All kickoff times for the 2013 football season have been announced as well.
Normally, I would try to make a joke for this story. However, Holly Anderson stole all the Bon Jovi puns and I simply need to tip my cap to her.
The Beer My Liver HATES Me Right Now
To recap, two weeks ago I was in Vegas. Last weekend I was at Notre Dame pretending like I was still in college. This weekend, I will be attending a bachelor party that will start at a ranch and then move into College Station.
The weekend will include far too much beer, a trip to the Dixie Chicken and visiting far too many shot bars for my own good.
Oh, and Cinco de Mayo is next weekend.
Forget suggesting a beer, someone donate a liver for a transplant. I need it.
Fourteen Notre Dame football players went through their last meaningful paces at the Loftus Center today when the Class of 2013 conducted its NFL Pro Day. While all (most of) the national press focused on the performance of Manti Te’o, Notre Dame’s erstwhile defensive field general, John Goodman, Mike Golic Jr., Braxston Cave, Theo Riddick, Robby Toma, Tyler Eifert, Cierre Wood, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Zeke Motta, Jamoris Slaughter, Manti Te’o, Ben Turk, Jordan Cowart, and Chris Salvi all sought to put their best effort forward in front of representatives from 27 NFL teams. Wrapped in familiarity’s embrace one last time, the fourteen did not disappoint.
Jack Nolan and UND.com’s whirlwind video hits the highlights:
Eric Hansen at the South Bend Tribune provides the most comprehensive run down of ND’s Pro Day here.
While Notre Dame does not give official 40 times, Manti’s definitely improved over his disappointing NFL combine 4.82. Running a 4.69 according to ND a 4.71 according to ESPN’s Todd McShay and a 4.75 according to Mike Mayock, Te’o said afterwards that he “felt good. I’m at home now, at a place where I’m comfortable, surrounded by people I know.” Most sources, including NFL.com, didn’t see Manti’s 40 time as improving his draft stock dramatically. Still, one-tenth of a second improvement is very solid for a middle linebacker.
Other notable performances included Robby Toma, who turned in a very solid 4.5/40 and fastest times in skills drills and the three cone drill. Braxton Cave and Mike Golic, Jr. put up big numbers on the bench press with 32 and 31, respectively, while John Goodman impressed in the long jump and the vertical, clearing 34 inches. Tyler Eifert eschewed the drills he completed at the combine, but still turned in a solid performance, putting him in position to achieve his self-stated goal of being the first TE drafted. Ben Turk put up 26 reps on the bench and jumped 32 inches vertically. Ben Turk, ladies and gentlemen.
Unfortunately, neither Cierre Wood nor Zeke Motta were able to add much zip to their plodding performances in the 40 at the combine, with Motta still unable to crack 4.70.
While neither Manti nor Tyler will be in New York for the draft, all fourteen players, including the rehabbing KLM and Jamoris Slaughter, will no doubt be watching the coverage and staring at their phones, intently.
Quick Word of Thanks: Today marks my one year anniversary writing for HerLoyalSons. I want to thank Biscuit and Tex for bringing me on and making me a part of this great community. I owe Tex a special debt of gratitude for showing me how to blog. Literally. yTex has to talk me through the magic spells needed to make the 1′s and 0′s do their thing. And I want to thank you, the Loyal Reader. Without you, we’d be nothing. I appreciate your readership and your commentary. I hope that I’ve made your unofficial ND blog experience a touch more enjoyable.
Welcome back to my series on beloved Notre Dame “parody” twitter accounts. This week I had a chance to sit down and talk with the ND Squirrel.
He’s a nervous guy, I mean squirrel. He loves Notre Dame sports, but the excitement and drama often gets to him so he has to burn off the nervous energy. He often sneaks into different venues … he’s always hiding somewhere in the stadium and will occasionally try to make his way to the visitors’ bench to cause trouble, but he’s never been successful. He’s been in Purcell Pavilion and in Compton.
His shining moment was calling for the TD pass to Tyler Eifert in the Stanford game. Just before the play, he tweeted “Paging Mr. Eifert … Mr. Eifert to the White Courtesy Telephone” and the next play was a TD to Eifert.
Here is my interview with the ND Squirrel and some further insight into what it’s like to reside on Notre Dame’s campus!
Q: I understand your family has a special connection to Notre Dame Football. Can you enlighten us?
A: “Yes, that’s right. The connection is through my Crazy Uncle Fuzzy. Back in 1999, Notre Dame was hosting Boston College. Late in the game, BC intercepted a Jarious Jackson pass to seal their win. Well, Fuzzy lost it and decided to try to take things into his own hands. With the teams at the south end of the field, Fuzzy scampered out onto the field from the tunnel heading toward the two teams on the field. By the time he got to midfield, I think he decided it just wasn’t worth it and turned back toward the north end zone. As he made his way, he realized the student body was cheering for HIM! So, he puts on a bit of a show – a few cutbacks, reversed his field a couple times then headed for pay-dirt. The closer he got to the end zone, the louder the previously silenced and disappointed student body became. The entire student section erupted into wild cheers as Fuzzy crossed the goal line, spiked an acorn, and bolted out through the tunnel before Cappy and his ushers could round him up. The only disappointment is that Fuzzy has not been awarded an honorary Monogram.”
Q: What is the best part of living on Notre Dame’s campus?
A: “Are you kidding me? This is Notre Dame! There can be no bad parts of living on this campus. Well, OK, maybe the long permacloud. Or in winter, when the ground freezes so hard that I can’t get to my buried acorn stash. Unfortunately, it always seems to freeze the hardest while the students are gone on break. Not many free snacks smuggled out of the dining halls to be had when no one’s around. Then again, there’s the visitors. Give a squirrel a stage and we’ll put on quite a show! Just ask Uncle Fuzzy.”
Q: As you watch the students go about their daily lives, what observations do you have?
A: “They’re the best. It’s fun to watch them grow up. As Freshmen, they don’t quite know what to make of the place or us squirrels. They even will act like they’re afraid of us. No, really! We’re not challenging you for the sidewalk, we just want to see if you have food for us! As Sophomores, they’re pretty consumed with their new majors and that’s when it gets dangerous for us. They forget we’re under foot and sometimes come awfully close to stepping on a tail. By the time they’re Juniors, though, they pretty much consider us family pets. They do seem to take things too seriously though. It’s hard to watch them during midterms and finals, or when they get bad news from home. That’s when we squirrels try extra hard to entertain them.”
Q: What is the nicest thing a student has ever done for you?
A: “Wow, that’s a hard one. They are so nice to us all of the time. They seem to know when it’s hard for us to find food and they always bring a little extra for us from the dining halls or the Huddle. They’re also good at holding a door open a little longer so we can sneak in to catch a game on TV. I do remember one time, during an awful freezing rain storm., one of the lads from Sorin came out with an umbrella and some peanuts. Must’ve fed me a dozen or so, all while holding an umbrella over my head. Pretty unusual for a Sorin guy … Oh, sorry.”
Q: Have you sat in on any ND classes? If you could get a degree, what would it be?
A: “I have not yet, although I will occasionally get some chemistry tips from Professor Emil T. Hofman, who always frequents a bench on my quad. He’s pretty good at teaching chemistry, but he keeps talking about the days of seven-points. For a while, I thought he was talking about the good times of ND Football, but he finally explained they were quizzes. But, I digress. If I could get a degree, I think it would be aerospace engineering. I understand I may have a famous relative from up north who could fly. Even got his own TV show. Really went to his head. What were we talking about? Oh, I remember. Since fly-overs have been banned, maybe I can help out by learning to fly and cruising the stadium airspace on game day. A well-placed acorn can do wonders on an opposing kicker’s field goal attempt.”
Q: What is the story with you and Father Sorin? You two seem to have a sometimes rocky relationship.
A: “You had to bring up that name, didn’t you. No, not Father Sorin … Rocky! Father Sorin, oh, he’s really a pretty neat guy. Early on, we’d spar a bit, mostly because he accused me of being fat. He tried to intimidate me by talking about needing more squirrel fur lining for his winter cassock or that I’d make a good stew. The truth is, I hear he actually did try to make a squirrel stew once. Asked the cooks to get the stove all fired up extra hot on a nice day late in the morning during April, 1879. I think we’ve seen the last of the squirrel stew attempts after that incident. I’m just kidding – that didn’t happen … I don’t think. Deep down he’s a pretty warm guy. And, I think he’s a shoe-in to fill in for any of the guys on Duck Dynasty.”
Q: How did you decide to use Twitter to communicate to the Notre Dame family? Are you surprised by your following on Twitter? Who are you most surprised to be followed by?
A: “There’s an old saying that goes “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and again” … I think it was a Zahm kid who had a bit too much to drink, said he put his iPhone on “airplane mode” and threw it. I ended up with the phone. Not being an SEC squirrel, Twitter wasn’t too hard to figure out and the phone’s touch screen works great with the tip of my nose. I never expected to have a big following. I mean, who’s going to believe a squirrel can use Twitter? I’ve got a long way to go to catch Miss Diggins, though (she might even be cuter than me!). Perhaps the most interesting follower wasn’t even a real person … yup, I was being followed by U’ilani Kekua. But, let’s not go there. NDSP (ND Cops) follow me … and steal my donuts! Heck, even Stephanie Gallo follows me (never sends me any wine, though). But, I’m most surprised to be followed by FirstDownMoses. I mean, who wouldn’t be surprised to be followed by a guy who, himself, was followed by an entire nation!”
Q: With all the players and people on the field at an ND game, aren’t you scared of getting trampled?
A: “That’s really not much of a problem. I stay pretty well protected during the games. It’s more of a risk to have one of the Irish Guard step on my tail as I sneak in with the band (oops, I shouldn’t have said that, I guess). The biggest threat during games are all the wires and cables. I get so nervous, I sometimes end up chewing on them. Accidentally bit into a power line during the BYU game. The next thing I knew, it was a couple hours later and I had singed whiskers.”
Q: What is your favorite kind of donut? And if students/faculty would like to leave you food donations, where should they leave them?
A: “I never met a donut I didn’t like, but my favorite are the cake donuts. They dunk well in my coffee and if they’re a bit stale, even better. I would strongly caution against leaving food donations for me .. especially donuts. As I mentioned earlier, the ND Cops (@NDSP) keep a close eye and they can’t be trusted around donuts. Leave a donut lying around and they’ll scarf it up pretty quick. It’s always best to hand-feed me. I won’t bite you and it’s a great opportunity to interact. If you’re shy, you can just put the food on the ground in front of me and I’ll take it from there (no pun intended).”