Notre Dame's McDaniel helps healing process back home

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Notre Dame's McDaniel helps healing process back home

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Cam McDaniel could have kept his game ball, the one he earned in Notre Dame's biggest win in a decade. He could have kept it, and looked at it as a testament to the hard work he's had to do in the face of a difficult position change and loaded depth chart.
That game ball didn't make the trip back north with McDaniel.
After receiving it, he wrote the date and score of Notre Dame's win over Oklahoma on the ball and signed it with a dedication to the family of Jacob Logan.
Logan was a sophomore when McDaniel was a senior at Coppell High School outside of Dallas. Two years later, Logan -- a wide receiver -- starred for an outstanding Coppell squad alongside McDaniel's brother, Gavin, a running back.
On a warm mid-October day, Logan, McDaniel and a few teammates went to a lake house about 80 miles outside Forth Worth. Cliff diving was a pretty standard activity at the lake, and Gavin McDaniel and Logan jumped in.
McDaniel went first, and Logan leapt in right after him.
"My brother came up, and he didnt," Cam McDaniel said.
It took five days before dive and search teams found Logan's body. He was 17.
"Its been a very, very hurtful, grieving time for this community, especially the athletics family," Coppell coach Joe McBride said. "Jacob was a lot like Cam, he was such a great kid, great leader and great player. And when you lose a guy out of the community, unexpectedly like that, the backlash was just so painful."
Football, though, has played an important role in the healing process. In Coppell's first game after Logan's death, Gavin McDaniel broke off a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game, celebrating in the end zone by signing "21" with his hands. That was Logan's number.
And that was Cam McDaniel's number on Saturday in Oklahoma.
McDaniel normally wears No. 33, but went to coach Brian Kelly and asked if he could wear No. 21 to honor his former teammate. Kelly gave him his blessing, but McDaniel still had to talk to the guy with 21 as his number to go through with it.
Jalen Brown was going to have plenty of family make the three-hour drive from the Dallas area to Norman for Notre Dame-Oklahoma, so switching numbers could have been a headache.
"I knew that was going to be even a tough position for him to be in," McDaniel said. "But he was just awesome about it. He was a great friend and understood the situation and was more than happy to switch jerseys for that week. Big shout-out to Jalen there."
McDaniel called McBride in the middle of last week. The former Coppell star and current Coppell coach talked about McDaniel's possibly-increased role against OU -- McDaniel knew he was going to play cornerback and explained how he would be returning kicks if George Atkinson wasn't feeling better. Then, McDaniel informed his coach about the number switch.
"I told him to tell coach Kelly we appreciate him allowing him to do that," McBride said. "It meant a lot to a lot of people here."
So when McDaniel took the field for Notre Dame's biggest game of the year, he was honoring Jacob Logan. He returned four kicks for 77 yards and recorded a tackle while working as a cornerback, helping give Notre Dame's offense field position and hold OU's offense to just 13 points.
McDaniel's had some impressive games at his natural position of running back -- he carried 11 times for 55 yards and a touchdown against Miami, and nine times for 60 yards and a touchdown against Navy -- but those largely came well after Notre Dame's first-stringers put the Irish by a wide margin. So McDaniel's performance against Oklahoma had a lot more riding on it for Notre Dame.
But it also had plenty riding on it for the community of Coppell.
"He just gave a little bit more healing, he gave a little bit more, for lack of a better word, he just continued a bit of the healing process just getting his teammate to be continued to be honored down the road," McBride said. "Every time we can do something to keep him in our forethoughts and memory and still make him a part of our lives, it makes everybody really excited."
But McDaniel didn't honor Logan with just his jersey.
McDaniel left the game ball with his brother, Gavin. And Gavin delivered it to the Logan family. McDaniel gave up a prized possession to help the healing of a grieving family over the loss of their son, and his friend.
"It was a powerful thing," McBride said.

Will Cubs add another ace? Report says North Siders interested in Yu Darvish

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USA TODAY

Will Cubs add another ace? Report says North Siders interested in Yu Darvish

It's been a little more than a week since the Cubs altered the state of their pitching staff for years to come with that blockbuster crosstown swap that brought Jose Quintana to the North Side.

But are the Cubs looking to make another massive upgrade to their starting rotation before the trade deadline?

According to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, the Cubs are interested in Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish.

Now it might not make too much sense at first blush for the Cubs, who dealt away their top two minor leaguers in the trade for Quintana, to acquire another frontline starting pitcher, especially one who unlike Quintana will become a free agent at the end of the season. After all, if the Cubs do want Darvish in the long term, they can wait a few months and go after him in free agency, losing no assets but money in the process.

The Cubs' rotation, once Kyle Hendricks returns from the disabled list, also looks pretty set with Jon Lester, Quintana, Jake Arrieta, Hendricks and John Lackey the presumed quintet for the remainder of the regular season, barring any other injuries of course.

[CUBS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

But Morosi makes some points, even if they might be speculative ones, that make a trade for Darvish seem not so ridiculous. After all, the Cubs did so much for their future in acquiring Quintana that a rental like Darvish to power a second straight run to the World Series might not seem so risky.

And while the Cubs' rotation is looking good right now with the team winners of six straight since the All-Star break, it was perhaps the team's biggest problem during that sub-.500 first half. Arrieta and Hendricks both failed to replicate the consistency that made them two of baseball's best last season. And Lackey has struggled mightily, still the owner of 5.04 ERA and a guy who's given up the 25 homers, the second most in baseball.

If the National League Central race remains as tight as it is entering play today, with four teams within four and a half games of each other, perhaps adding an extra dominant starter would assure the top spot in the division, which could be the team's only path to the playoffs. Even after a six-game winning streak to start the second half, the Cubs are five and a half games back of the Colorado Rockies for the NL's second wild card spot.

There's no doubt Darvish has been very good this season for the Rangers, with a 3.45 ERA in 20 starts and 131 strikeouts in 125.1 innings pitched. He's a four-time All Star in his five-year major league career. Adding that to Lester and Quintana at the front of the rotation would make the Cubs a terrifying force for opposing teams.

But at the same time, what would it take to get him? Giving up zero major league talent was part of what made the Quintana trade so terrific for the Cubs. Losing a major league player would perhaps hurt the team's chances at a World Series win this season, which would be the whole point of acquiring Darvish in the first place.

It's trade season, so let the rumors keep flying.

35 Days to Kickoff: Grayslake North

35 Days to Kickoff: Grayslake North

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we’ll unveil the @CSNPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: Grayslake North

Head coach: Sam Baker

Assistant Coaches:  Andy Strahan, Jim West, Collin McKillip, Brian Johnson, Brian Horn, Scott Kapchinksi, Karl Jennrich, Jon Sawyer, Greg Geiger, Tim LaBrie

How they fared in 2016: 8-3 (5-2 Northern Lake County Conference), made the Class 6A state playoffs and defeated Lakes then lost to Cary-Grove in second round action.

2017 Regular Season Schedule:

August 25th @ Willowbrook

September 1st vs Sycamore

September 8th vs Lakes

September 15th @ North Chicago

September 22nd vs Round Lake

September 29th @ Wauconda

October 6th vs Grant

October 13th at Grayslake Central

October 20th vs Antioch

Biggest storyline: Can the Knights make a return visit to the IHSA state playoff field?

Names to watch this season:  Senior QB Austin Martineau Senior WR/DB Bret Lila

Biggest holes to fill: The Knights will need to reload on the offensive line with just one starter back in senior OL/DL Ryan Bernstein.

EDGY's Early Take: Grayslake North had a strong year in 2016 and with 14 starters returning (6 offense 8 defense) look to be right back in the hunt both in the Northern Lake County conference and in Class 6A.The Knights however will have plenty of challenges since the Northern Lake County conference is shaping up to be strong again this fall.