Kelly: 'I'm committed to Notre Dame'

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Kelly: 'I'm committed to Notre Dame'

Nearly three weeks after rumors began to fly about Brian Kelly meeting with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, the Notre Dame coach characterized those discussions as a lot less serious than initially thought to be.

Kelly, speaking on a teleconference with reporters Wednesday morning, said the Eagles contacted Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick soon after firing Andy Reid. Swarbrick and Kelly agreed to not address the matter until after Jan. 7's BCS Championship game.

From there, the discussions Kelly had with the Eagles were "more about intrigue on my part" as opposed to actual interest, the coach said.

"I had always been in the college game and really did not have a good grasp of the NFL setup," Kelly said. "And so, for me, my head said let's be more informed, as it relates to the NFL, but my heart is in college football and with Notre Dame."

Kelly added he was flattered and appreciative of the Eagles' interest in him, but relayed what he's been telling recruits for the last three weeks:

"I tell the up front that I'm committed to Notre Dame," Kelly said. " But it's not what I want to do. I want to be a college football coach."

While Kelly has since affirmed his commitment to the college ranks, players were left in the dark regarding his intentions as various reports had Kelly seriously considering the NFL. Blue-chip linebacker Alex Anzalone decommitted from Notre Dame and bolted to Florida following the report, and members of the team were left in limbo for a few days, awaiting Kelly's next move like everyone else.

But despite not knowing anything during the process, Kelly said no players expressed concern to him about his future. Kelly met with his team Sunday night to address the Eagles matter.

"From their perspective, they just wanted to know that I'm going to be their coach, that I'm going to be their coach for some time," Kelly said.

Personnel notes

A few quick hits on various players with various statuses for spring practice and the 2013 season, via Kelly's teleconference:

-- Notre Dame is still working on the appeal process with safety Jamoris Slaughter, who was recently denied a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. Slaughter, who tore his Achilles' tendon Sept. 15 against Michigan State, is still enrolled at Notre Dame and working through injury rehab. Kelly said he hopes to hear an answer from the NCAA by the end of recruiting -- signing day is Feb. 6 -- but isn't optimistic about getting an answer by then.

-- Cornerback Bennett Jackson and linebacker Dan Fox are expected to miss spring practice, as each underwent shoulder surgery a few weeks after the BCS Championship.

-- Cornerback Lo Wood, who ruptured his Achilles' tendon last August in preseason camp, has been getting nothing but positive news regarding his recovery, Kelly said.

-- Safety Austin Collinsworth is expected to get a green light for spring practice after missing the entire 2012 season following June shoulder surgery and back surgery sometime during last season.

-- Center Matt Hegarty, who according to various outlets suffered a stroke in November and underwent heart surgery in December, has adapted well to his medication and may be cleared soon, Kelly said.

-- The outlook isn't as positive regarding reserve tackle Tate Nichols, whose future Kelly described as "uncertain." The junior may wind up on medical hardship.

Saturday on CSN: Bradley vs. Nevada; Illinois State vs. New Mexico

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USA TODAY

Saturday on CSN: Bradley vs. Nevada; Illinois State vs. New Mexico

CSN will have two quality college basketball matchups on Saturday as two Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge games will be featured live.

Bradley (4-3) has Nevada (6-2) in town for a 7 p.m. game Saturday on CSN while Illinois State (3-2) will host New Mexico (5-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday on CSN+.

The Braves have alternated wins and losses all season as they hope to build momentum off of a road win over Eastern Illinois.

Freshman guard Darrell Brown paces Bradley at 15.3 points per game on 48 percent three-point shooting while junior guard JoJo McGlaston is putting up 12.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest.

Nevada enters this one winning four of their last five games as senior guard Marcus Marshall is averaging 20.0 points and 3.9 assists per game. Sophomore forward Cameron Oliver has been generating some pro buzz as he's averaging 16.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while shooting 44 percent from three-point range.

In the second contest, Illinois State is hoping for a key non-conference win against a quality opponent. Senior forward Deontae Hawkins is doing some solid damage as he's averaging 16.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while junior forward MiKyle McIntosh is at 14.2 points and 7.2 rebounds a game.

Proviso East product Paris Lee is also having a good year at guard for Illinois State.

New Mexico is led by a former area product as Homewood-Flossmoor graduate Tim Williams is averaging 19.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the Lobos. Junior guard Elijah Brown, the son of former NBA coach Mike Brown, is also playing well for New Mexico as he's putting up 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

Preview: Northern Iowa takes on George Mason tonight on CSN+

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USA TODAY

Preview: Northern Iowa takes on George Mason tonight on CSN+

Northern Iowa looks to snap a two-game losing streak as they host George Mason tonight. You can catch this game live on CSN+ at 7 p.m.

The Panthers (3-2) have lost both games to Xavier as Northern Iowa matched up with the top-25 team for the title in the Tire Pros Invitational in Orlando before losing to them on the road less than a week later.

Northern Iowa does own some solid wins over Oklahoma and Arizona State as they're led by senior Jeremy Morgan, who is averaging 16.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game -- which all lead the team. 

Junior forward Klint Carlson has also been strong for the Panthers as he's put up 12.2 points per game while shooting 44 percent from three-point range.

George Mason (3-2) has won three consecutive games -- with two of those wins coming by four points or less. The Patriots haven't played anyone as good as Northern Iowa yet as they beat Kent State, Bradley and James Madison.