Why is Notre Dame's Kelly interested in the NFL?

980033.png

Why is Notre Dame's Kelly interested in the NFL?

Brian Kelly has called Notre Dame his dream job, and last week said he has the "best job in the country." So why, exactly, would he consider a leap to the NFL?

That's a question most of Notre Dame nation is trying to answer right now, but with nothing concrete beyond reports of "mutual interest" with the Philadelphia Eagles and interest from the Chicago Bears, everything is mere speculation at this point. Kelly could stay in South Bend, or he could leave for football's highest level. The waiting game isn't easy, but that's what will be played for the coming days and weeks.

From Kelly's hypothetical point of view, his stock has never been higher. If his ultimate goal is to coach in the NFL, he'd be foolish to not ride the momentum of Notre Dame's 2012 season into a job offer from the pros.

RELATED: 4-star LB Anzalone decommits from Notre Dame following Kelly interview

What Kelly's intentions are from his meeting with the Eagles are up for some debate. But, as plenty have pointed out, Kelly doesn't exactly need leverage to earn a loaded contract extension from Notre Dame. He's the first truly successful coach to grace the sidelines of Notre Dame Stadium since Lou Holtz, and one who appears to have all the pieces in place for an extended run in South Bend.

Perhaps Kelly is just dipping his foot in the water with no intentions of jumping in. He may never be as hot of a commodity as he is now, and even if he has no desire to leave Notre Dame it'd still be worth it to see what the NFL has to offer -- especially in case the opportunity arises down the road.

Or maybe Kelly really is ready to move on to the next level, just as he did at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and Cincinnati. Kelly has reached the top of college football -- maybe not the very top, but close enough to it to where any move would essentially be lateral. The next step, if this is Kelly's line of thinking, would be to tackle a new slope, the being the NFL.

If the rumblings are accurate, though, this may be a case of Kelly just seeing what the NFL has to offer. CSNChicago.com Bears Insider John 'Moon' Mullin relayed Thursday the leading candidates for the Eagles' job are Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Seahawks offensive coordinator Gus Bradley. CSNPhilly.com columnist Reuben Frank also said yesterday the Eagles "don't expect" Kelly to leave Notre Dame despite coming away impressed with his interview.

We'll probably know more on Kelly's situation in the next few days, and ultimately it'd be a shock if he were to leave Notre Dame for the NFL this year. But he'd be doing himself a disservice if he didn't at least see what the league had to offer, no matter what his ultimate intentions are.

Northern Illinois adds running back Fotis Kokosioulis

niu.jpg
USA TODAY

Northern Illinois adds running back Fotis Kokosioulis

Northern Illinois University added it's fourth known verbal commitment today in its growing Class of 2018.

Maine South junior running back Fotis Kokosioulis (5-foot-8, 165 pounds) added an offer from the Huskies on Tuesday after making a spring practice visit, and today he gave head coach Rod Carey his verbal commitment.

"I chose NIU because it's been a school that I've liked for awhile now," Kokosioulis said moments ago. "I like the facilities at NIU, the stadium and everything else they have to offer. I also really like all the coaches at NIU. I felt that even if I got more offers I would've still chose NIU over other schools. I know that there are bigger school and programs but I feel that I just fit in well at NIU, so I committed."

Kokosioulis, who was an All-State performer for the Class 8A state champion Maine South Hawks in 2016, is now the fourth known in-state verbal commitment for Rod Carey and the Huskies and the fifth known commitment overall. Kokosioulis joins Andrew defensive end Mike DeHaan, Plainfield East defensive end Jack Sullivan and Danville tight end Julian Pearl in the NIU Huskies in-state Class of 2018.

High School coaches 'leave no stone unturned' in helping players explore next level

final-enterprise-1038x576.jpg
Photo at top: Loyola Academy assistant coach Paul Pryma extends his hand toward a Steinmetz High School player during pregame introductions on Feb. 21. (Andres Waters/MEDILL)

High School coaches 'leave no stone unturned' in helping players explore next level

By Andres Waters
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

After Loyola Academy held off rival New Trier 43-40 to win the 2017 Zion-Benton regional championship, Ramblers head coach Tom Livatino had a special message for his players.

"That's the best celebration that I have ever been a part of," Livatino said. "Because everybody was completely about love. You guys love each other and we all can tell. I'm really, really proud just to be one of our coaches."

While the speech was a powerful way for Livatino to tell the players of his appreciation, he and other high school coaches engage in something much bigger to show players how proud they are: college recruiting.

In addition to time spent planning and practicing, coaches also sacrifice countless hours each week helping their players find opportunities to play at the next level.

"It's a really long part of the process, but to be honest, it's a part of the job that I absolutely love," Livatino said. "We demand so much of our players in every aspect. And, from a basketball standpoint, the least I could do is everything in my power to help them out."

Less than 48 hours after the Ramblers completed their season with a loss to Evanston Township in the Waukegan Sectional semifinal, Livatino was back in his office holding individual meetings with each player.

Starting with the 10 departing seniors, Livatino discussed the factors that go into choosing a college for high school athletes.

His conversations with the two players who already committed, senior guards Ramar Evans and Matt Lynch, focused on how they felt about their next steps. With the others, Livatino asked whether they wanted to play at the next level and, if so, which schools they wanted to attend that shared an interest in them. The conversations held with the Ramblers' juniors are very similar.

"I wasn't just looking for basketball, I was looking for a fit academically and socially," said Lynch, who committed to Division III St. Norbert College. "[Livatino] said St. Norbert would be the best fit for me. It fit everything I was looking for."

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.