Brian Kelly on Irish’s QBs: ‘I’d take our two over Ohio State’s’


This certainly has the potential to end well in the comments section — and by “end well” I mean “be a train wreck.”

As everybody knows, one of the biggest storylines in college football throughout the offseason has been Ohio State’s three-headed quarterback competition, which won’t commence in earnest until summer camp rolls around in August. And not only will it be a three-man battle, it will include what may well be the most talented collection of quarterbacks ever assembled on one team at the collegiate level: Cardale Jones, the hero of the Buckeyes’ postseason run viewed as one of a handful of preseason contenders for the 2015 Heisman Trophy; J.T. Barrett, the 2014 starter who led the Buckeyes to the cusp of a Big Ten title and spot in the College Football Playoff before fracturing his ankle in the regular-season finale against Michigan; and Braxton Miller, the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year who was one of the favorites for the 2014 Heisman before reinjuring his shoulder during summer camp last August and missing the entire season.

With that as a backdrop, and as relayed by our own JJ Stankevitz for his main gig at CSNChicago, Brian Kelly was asked during a Wednesday press conference which unit’s depth on his Notre Dame squad has pleased him the most. Unprompted, the Irish head coach brought up OSU’s quarterback situation in pumping up his own group of signal-callers, Everett Golson and Malik Zaire.

“At the quarterback position, maybe other than Ohio State, I would take our two quarterbacks,” Kelly said. “And I would take our two over Ohio State’s. In terms of depth, I don’t know if anybody has a better situation than we do in terms of the two quarterbacks we have.”

The fact that Kelly pumped up his own players publicly isn’t a surprise as coaches all across the country do it on an almost daily basis, especially in the spring. The fact that Kelly, unsolicited, brought up OSU and claimed he’d take his guys over Urban Meyer‘s, though, is head-scratching and chuckle-inducing to say the least.

While Golson/Zaire are far from middle school-level talents, they’re also far from the Jones/Barrett/Miller triumvirate when it comes to on-field production and success — 38-3 with that starting trio the past three years, three division titles, one conference championship, one national championship. Granted, Golson helped lead the Irish to the 2012 BCS title game, but still, there’s not a coach in the country who, if he’s being honest with himself, wouldn’t trade his situation depth-wise for the Buckeyes’.

It’s interesting to note that Kelly’s very public praise comes amidst rumors that bubbled yet again to the surface that Golson may be considering a transfer. Maybe it’s merely a coincidence, but maybe it’s Kelly’s way of publicly telling Golson that he does indeed want him in South Bend — and, in the process, leaving him more than one viable option at the position heading into the new season.

Western Kentucky’s Joel Iyiegbuniwe declares early for draft

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There’s a new leader in the clubhouse for “Early Entrant With the Most Vowels in his Surname.”

On his personal Twitter account over the weekend, Joel Iyiegbuniwe announced that he is leaving Western Kentucky early and making himself available for the April NFL draft. The linebacker, a native of Bowling Green, Kent., stated that he came to his decision “[a]fter much thought, prayer and discussion with my family, coaches and advisors.”

This past season, Iyiegbuniwe led the Hilltoppers in tackles with 117, tackles for loss with 11.5 and forced fumbles with three. He was named first-team All-Conference USA following the regular season.

Including last season, Iyiegbuniwe had started 27 straight games at outside linebacker for the Hilltoppers.

Today is the deadline for draft-eligible players to inform the NFL of their intentions.

Kent State announces signing of ex-Auburn QB Woody Barrett

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One day after Woody Barrett announced that he has found a new college football home, the school has confirmed as much.

Kent State sent out a press release Monday evening acknowledging that Barrett has signed with the football program. After spending the 2017 season at a Mississippi junior college, the quarterback will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.

Counting this coming season, Barrett will have three years of eligibility remaining.

“We’re excited about Woody’s potential, his ability and his raw tools both throwing and running the football,” new Golden Flashes head coach Sean Lewis said in a statement. “And we’re excited to have him on campus to be training with our team as we get ready for spring ball.”

A four-star member of Auburn’s 2016 recruiting class, Barrett was rated as the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback in the country that cycle. He took a redshirt as a true freshman, then opted to transfer from the Tigers in May of last year, ultimately ending up at the JUCO level.

At Copiah-Lincoln Community College this past season, Barrett passed for 1,294 yards and eight touchdowns in nine games, adding another 485 and six on the ground.

Michigan confirms hiring of Sherrone Moore as TEs coach

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One hole on Jim Harbaugh‘s coaching staff has been filled.

The football program confirmed Monday that Sherrone Moore has been hired and will serve as Harbaugh’s tight ends coach. Moore will replace Greg Frey, who moved on to a job on Willie Taggart‘s staff at Florida State.

The 31-year-old Moore — he’ll turn 32 in early February — spent the past four seasons coaching tight ends at Central Michigan. This past season, he added the title of assistant head coach as well as taking over as the MAC program’s recruiting coordinator.

Moore began his coaching career as an offensive graduate assistant at Louisville from 2009-12. He was promoted to tight ends coach in 2012, spending that season as well as 2013 in that role.

NC State QB Jalan McClendon puts his name on graduate transfer market

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Ryan Finley announced earlier this month he will return to NC State for his senior season, which means his backup is leaving. Jalan McClendon revealed Monday he will pursue his options elsewhere for his final season of college football as a graduate transfer.

“I’ve enjoyed every bit of this university,” McClendon said in a statement. “My teammates and coaches, the fans, the atmosphere, even the food! I appreciate everything that NC State has done for me and I wouldn’t take it back for anything.”

McClendon appeared in 20 games as a member of the Wolfpack, completing 26-of-47 passes for 262 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions while adding 46 carries for 223 yards.

“Jalan has been phenomenal throughout his career,” head coach Dave Doeren said in a statement.  “He’s been a great leader and a great teammate and has done everything we could’ve asked a young man to do. We wish him the best and will always consider him an important part of the Wolfpack family.”

McClendon was a 3-star recruit out of West Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte.