Irish safety Tommy Z showed his athleticism in a brief TKO of OSU-fan Robert Bell at Madison Square Garden this past weekend in his pro debut, which netted him $25,000. For the record, that is the equivalent of about $1.8 million per hour.
Irish WR Jeff Samardzija was drafted in the 5th round of the MLB draft last week by the Chicago Cubs, and will likely get 1st round money for signing, as the Cubs picked him with their 2nd overall pick (they had no picks in rounds 2-4).
It is amazing how different the entire aura surrounding the Notre Dame football team is between this summer and two summers ago (before my 1st year at law school).
This year, ND is being picked by many as having the best shot at a National Championship this year, as well as the leading candidates for the Heisman and Biletnikoff trophies. They also have legitimate shots at the Nagurski, Doak Walker, and Outland trophies.
Before the ink was dry on the first top 5 Irish recruiting class in over a decade, the Irish got a verbal commitment from the best QB to come out of California since John Elway in Westlakes Christian High School QB Jimmy Clausen. The momentum of this year's class has many predicting that the Irish will have the best class in the country this year.
The Irish have two of their current players not only go pro in their other sports, but despite awesome pressure to the contrary, they both have publicly commited to play for the Irish in football this year to pursue a national championship.
Where were we two years ago at this time?
Notre Dame had just suffered through one of the worst seasons in history, going 5-7, and losing games to Purdue, Boston College, and Michigan State. We got completely blown out of games against Michigan, USC, and Florida State, losing by a combined 120-14. Our final loss of the season was to a mediocre Syracuse team, when it appeared that the team had all but given up on the season.
That summer, the Irish were unranked. By everyone. There are always going to be a couple of disreputable preseason mags who will throw the irish into the bottom of the Top 25 to sell some copies, but nobody seriously gave the Irish much of a shot going into the season.
Our recruiting had been underwhelming, with the Irish having inked a class ranked around the mid-30s, with 0 5-star athletes and only a couple of 4-star athletes. We did luck out on a player that turned out to be much better than ranked in Darius Walker, but DW is the only player that really has been a star (Maurice Crum has done pretty good).
What difference does a coach make?
A big one. Really big. I mean we are talking huge.