Notre Dame notes: Looking ahead to the fall and beyond

Notre Dame notes: Looking ahead to the fall and beyond
April 29, 2013, 2:30 pm
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Notre Dame's first two road games will be under the lights, with 7 p.m. CST kickoff times announced for the Irish's Sept. 7 and Sept. 14 contests at Michigan and Purdue, respectively. Both games will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.

The Sept. 7 meeting will be the second night game in Michigan Stadium history, with the first being that epic 2011 meeting with Notre Dame. The Irish also played Purdue under the lights in 2011, drubbing the Boilermakers 38-10.

[More: Notre Dame announces start times for home games]

The future of the Notre Dame-Michigan game is sealed, as the final scheduled meeting of the series is in 2014. The future of the Notre Dame-Purdue series, which has been played every year since 1946, is less clear.

Purdue wants to keep the game on its schedule, netting them a home date and likely sellout at Ross-Ade Stadium every two years. But with the Big Ten going to a nine-game conference schedule in 2016, the future of the Irish-Boilermakers series is in doubt.

“I don’t think either one of us (Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick) is eager to lose the rivalry,” Purdue AD Morgan Burke told the Lafayette Journal and Courier. “He has issues. I have issues. We’ll see if we can work them out. If we can, I know we will. I know there’s an interest on his part and my part to see if we can make it work.

“If it turns out we have to have a short break, we’ll have a short break in order to get on the right rotation. I don’t think we’re in a situation where Notre Dame and Purdue will never play. The issue is whether we can come up with a rotation that works for both sides.”

Future Notre Dame-Michigan State games are also in doubt with the Big Ten's new schedule.

The Irish are slated to meet the Spartans in East Lansing in 2016, but with a nine-game conference slate and date with Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Michigan State is balking at such a rigorous slate.

Irish land verbal commitment from 5-star recruit

Notre Dame landed a major verbal commitment from five-star athlete Elijah Hood, Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated reported Sunday night. Hood, rated as the No. 1 athlete and No. 12 overall player in the class of 2014, is the first five-star commit to Notre Dame's recruiting class of 2014, which currently stands at eight. He's the highest-rated (by Rivals) running back to commit to Notre Dame since 2001.

"We've done a lot thinking about it already," Hood's father, Vee, told Irish Illustrated. "Obviously he wants to be with the best. I can't turn him away from that. There's no way. You just don't turn down Notre Dame."

Looking ahead

A few draft prognosticators have already taken a way-too-early look at next year's NFL Draft, and while plenty can happen between now and next April, it's worth noting two-thirds of Notre Dame's defensive line are expected to be top-15 picks.

For example, the Big Lead's Jason McIntyre has defensive end Stephon Tuitt going No. 7, and defensive tackle Louis Nix going No. 10. Surprisingly, McIntyre has Ishaq Williams going No. 32 -- Williams has an immense amount of talent, but has yet to assert himself as a force within Notre Dame's defense. SB Nation's Dan Kadar has Tuitt and Nix being selected with the Nos. 8 and 15 picks next April, respectively.

[More: Notre Dame's 2013 success hinges on class of 2011]

And while we're looking way ahead into the future, ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach has Notre Dame at No. 10 in his early top 25 for next season. 2013 Irish opponents Stanford (No. 5), Michigan (No. 9), Oklahoma (No. 17) and USC (No. 23) also made the cut.

Toma, others earn camp invites

As plenty of his former teammates signed on as undrafted free agents Saturday evening, ex-Notre Dame wide receiver was left out in the cold.

"I'll find a way," he said in two separate tweets, "I controlled what I could...Lord it's all in your hands now!!!"

Toma, though, will get his shot at the NFL, as the 5-foot-9 receiver earned an invite to Baltimore's rookie minicamp. He'll get a chance to try out for the Ravens, as opposed to, say, Braxston Cave, who signed as an undrafted free agent with Cleveland.

[More: Wood, expecting mid-round call, slips out of NFL Draft]

Wide receiver John Goodman signed with Cincinnati as an undrafted free agent, while long snapper Jordan Cowart earned an invite to Washington's rookie minicamp. Former Irish quarterback Dayne Crist also earned an invite Kansas City's rookie minicamp.