Four-down territory: Fruitful Junior Day for Notre Dame
Let's take a look at what's happening across the nation on this Monday afternoon...
• As my NFP colleague Greg Gabriel details in his Golden Dome Report, Notre Dame had a strong weekend on the recruiting trail following its Junior Day. Head coach Brian Kelly and his staff received four non-binding verbal commitments over the weekend, including three quality offensive linemen. The Irish have placed a premium on building the team from the inside out, and that's exactly what Kelly is doing in the early stages of assembling his Class of 2013. The fourth and final commitment could be the most intriguing, however, as it's quarterback Malik Zaire, an Ohio native who was being recruited by Ohio State, Alabama, Wisconsin, Arizona and Pittsburgh. He's one of the nation's top dual-threat signal-callers, and he likely would not have committed to the Irish if he didn't think he'd have a chance to start in 2013. Gunner Kiel may be in South Bend as an early enrollee, but his competition will get even fiercer next season.
• Replacing David Wilson's production will be a difficult task at Virginia Tech. But redshirt freshman Michael Holmes arrives at spring practice with the best chance to establish himself as the heir apparent at the position. While Frank Beamer won't decide on a starter until the fall because the Hokies have so much talent from the Class of 2012 arriving this summer, Holmes is an intriguing 5-11, 212-pound talent. He was a two-time Virginia player of the year, and he’s Harrisonburg High School's all-time leading rusher after gaining 2,877 yards and scoring 41 touchdowns as a senior. True freshman J.C. Coleman is enrolled early, so he will test Holmes this spring. And Drew Harris, Chris Mangus and Trey Edmunds will look for carries as true freshmen when they arrive in fall camp along with former fullback Martin Scales and Tony Gregory, who is recovering from offseason knee surgery.
• Losing Orson Charles was a big loss for the Georgia offense, but Jay Rome could be ready to emerge as the next star tight end in Athens. While Artie Lynch could become the starter early because of his time spent in the system, Rome is a rare athlete -- he was a member of Georgia's basketball team this past season -- who can bring another dimension to the offense as long as he completes his blocking assignments. The Bulldogs could also employ both TEs in certain formations, and Lynch has reportedly received reps at fullback during spring drills.
• Will we ever see Texas and Texas A&M compete against each other in nonconference play? As Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News writes, the Longhorns and the Aggies will not be playing any time soon with A&M off to the SEC.
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