Clearing out the pipeline with a number of recent ND-related stories...
In the corner stands a safety
Zbikowski finally managed to get back into the ring in the form of a charity event in Chicago's south side. Many Irish fans were on hand to watch him dispatch his opponent in a 2nd round TKO. Check out a few clips of the fight here and a few pictures here. With rumors that Zibby is going to turn pro as a boxer for a June undercard fight at Madison Square Garden, it might not be your last time to check him out. But next year could be the final year to see him in a Notre Dame uniform. A highly recommended read in the South Bend Tribune details the fight night and Zbikowski's plans for next year.
"Coach Weis is the best in the business," Zbikowski said, "so whatever he suggests, I'll follow. It's smarter to plan for an early departure and have the option to stay than plan to stay and then change your mind and somehow miss out on getting your degree. I'm still not sure if I'll use my fifth year. I'm going to graduate in December and take it from there.
Cotton Bowl Bonzana
The Cotton Bowl was added to a Irish non-BCS bowl possibilites list that already includes the Gator, Sun, and Houston Bowl. Each non-BCS option only gets to choose the Irish once every four years. The Houston Bowl doesn't look too appealing, but keep in mind that for ND to end up there, the Irish would have to miss out on the BCS for four straight years. And as Eric Hansen details in the South Bend Tribune, the path to the BCS won't be quite as hard as in year's past.
The BCS bowls have first dibs on the Irish, and with a fifth bowl being added to that lucrative lineup, ND's path got a little easier. The Irish automatically qualify with a top 8 finish in the BCS standings, where a top 6 standing was the old standard.While we're monitoring the bowl picture landscape, Jason Kelly's skewering of the Kevin White's reaction to the revised bowl alliance is also worth a read. Can't say I remember such a upfront and direct article on ND's AD.
Red Tag Sale
Much to the glee of NFL owners and the chagrin of Notre Dame fans, the Bob Davie era at Notre Dame turned the once proud program into a veritable Filene's Basement for NFL teams looking for top quality talent on the cheap. But the days of the low, low prices and draft day steals are now officially over. Recently, a troika of Davie era players were able to cash in on the production that in at least one case far outweighed their original draft positions.
Leading the charge was David Givens who signed with the Tennessee Titans to a tune of $24 million over five years and a $8 million signing bonus. Also picking up a hefty chunk of change was defensive end Anthony Weaver who signed with the Houston Texans for $26.5 million dollars over five years and a $12 million signing bonus spread over two years. Last but not least was Rocky Boiman who moved on to the Dallas Cowboys and signed a very respectable three year deal that can reach as high as $5 million including incentives and includes a $1 million signing bonus.
ND Pro Day
As the NFL draft looms closer, ND held its own Pro Day earlier in March. Here are the results according to nfl.com.
The players ran indoors on FieldTurf. Twenty-five teams were represented, and a number of position coaches were there. Charlie Weis addressed all the NFL people before the activities began, and as one would expect from Weis, the day was well-organized.
Anthony Fasano: TE Fasano (6-4 3/8, 250) ran his 40s in 4.74 and 4.71 seconds. He looked very good in the position drills.
Maurice Stovall: WR Stovall (6-4 3/8, 218) ran his 40s in 4.54 and 4.57 seconds. He also had a 32½-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-4 broad jump.
Matt Shelton : WR Shelton (5-11 3/8, 180) ran his 40s in 4.54 and 4.41. They tried to get him to run a third time due to the discrepancy, but he didn't want to. Shelton added a 30½-inch vertical jump, 9-foot-7 broad jump, 4.20 short shuttle, 6.77 three-cone drill and had 16 lifts.
Dan Stevenson: OL Stevenson (6-5¼, 300) worked out at Combine and worked out again. He ran 5.34 twice in the 40-yard dash, had a 4.55 short shuttle and a 7.33 three-cone drill.
Mark LeVoir : OL LeVoir (6-6 5/8, 316) had a 30-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-7 broad jump and 20 lifts. (ed. note. message board posts suggest LeVoir did 29 reps, not 20)
Rashon Powers-Neal: FB Powers-Neal (6-2¼, 240) ran his 40s in 4.61 and 4.65. He had a 4.25 short shuttle, 6.96 three-cone drill, 31½-inch vertical jump, 9-foot-8 broad jump and 19 lifts on the bench press.