Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Brian Kelly takes the blame for Notre Dame’s struggles last season

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Notre Dame wrapped up spring football with the Irish’s annual spring game on NBC Sports Network on Saturday afternoon in South Bend and front and center was not surprisingly head coach Brian Kelly.

While fans of the team were probably most interested in how quarterback Brandon Wimbush looked, Kelly did go into detail about what the offseason has been like after last year’s disappointing 4-8 campaign. While the coach has been known to be a bit defensive when it comes to the team’s struggles, he did open up during a sit-down interview and was transparent in taking the blame for the way 2016 went.

“When you have a losing season, you have to look at yourself first,” Kelly told NBC Sports’ Jac Collinsworth. “I’ve always felt like there isn’t a bad football team but there is bad leadership and I don’t think I provided the kind of leadership (last year). It starts with yourself.”

Kelly goes on to discuss the significant changes to the Irish coaching staff, how this team is very much a work in progress and how Wimbush is handling taking over as the starting signal-caller.

The Gold team ended up winning the spring game 27-14 over the Blue team behind a strong defensive performance. If Saturday’s outing was any indication, Notre Dame should be much improved this upcoming season and that seems to start from the top on down.

Clemson grad transfer Scott Pagano opts for Oregon over Oklahoma

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We already knew the two schools a prominent graduate transfer would move on to. Now we know which one specifically.

On his Instagram account Friday, Scott Pagano announced that he has decided to transfer to Oregon for his final season of eligibility.  The 6-3, 295-pound defensive tackle had confirmed earlier in the week that he would be committing to either Oregon or Oklahoma.

To My Family, Friends and Supporters: I want to thank all of you who supported me and my decision to transfer over the last few months. When I announced my intentions, I didn’t know how people would react.  Thankfully almost everyone was respectful of my decision and wished me well on my journey. I’m very appreciative of that and it definitely speaks volumes of the class and character of my Clemson Family.  After taking several visits, I can honestly say there is no place like Clemson. A part of me will always miss Clemson and the relationships I have built here. I’ll definitely be back to visit. After much thought and deliberation, I have decided to transfer to the University of Oregon for my final year of eligibility and to pursue a Sports Management Master’s. This was a tough decision because of all the great programs that expressed interest in me along with having to leave Clemson. I want to thank all the coaches that took the time to get to know me during this process. However, Oregon is where I felt most at home and it is a great fit for me both on and off the field. I can’t wait to get to Eugene to start making new friends and playing for and learning from one of the best DLine coaches in the country. Last but definitely not least, I have to thank my mom, dad, sisters and the rest of my family for supporting me through this process and my entire football career. I know these past few months were not easy on you. I want you to know that I am thankful and feel blessed to have a family who is willing to make sacrifices day end and day out so that I can pursue my dreams. Mahalo and Go Ducks!!!

A post shared by Scott J Pagano Jr. (@scottpagano56) on Apr 14, 2017 at 9:03am PDT

Pagano had previously taken official visits to both Oklahoma and Oregon.  Arkansas, Notre Dame and Texas were also among the lineman’s five allotted official visits in his second round of collegiate recruiting.  Cal and Nebraska were also a part of the process.

Pagano graduated from Clemson in December.  Two months later, the defensive lineman decided to transfer from the reigning national champions.

Coming out of high school in Hawaii as a four-star 2013 recruit, Pagano was rated as the No. 24 tackle in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state. He started 13 games the past two seasons, four of which came in 2016.

Spencer Perry uses Twitter to announce transfer from Notre Dame

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Another day (hour?), another FBS transfer.

This time the personnel movement involves Notre Dame, with Spencer Perry confirming on social media that he has decided to move on from the Fighting Irish. “At this time, I am electing to transfer and continue my educational goals and football career elsewhere,” Perry wrote in a note posted to his Twitter account this week.

As a true freshman last season, the defensive back played in six games. Perry participated in nine of the practice sessions this spring before making the decision to transfer.

Perry was a three-star member of Notre Dame’s 2016 recruiting class, and was an early enrollee who took part in spring practice last year.

Successful appeal will allow Louisville transfer Shaq Wiggins to consider Mississippi State

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At least a little bit of fairness and/or common sense has cropped up in The ‘Ville.

Friday, Shaq Wiggins, who revealed earlier this offseason that he would be leaving Louisville as a graduate transfer, confirmed that he had been barred by head coach Bobby Petrino from signing with five schools — Kentucky, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Purdue and Western Kentucky.  Kentucky and Purdue on the U of L’s 2017 schedule, so that pair makes some semblance of sense.

The most curious of the off-limit quintet is Mississippi State.  The Bulldogs are not on the Cardinals’ upcoming schedule, although their former defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham, left this offseason for the same job at MSU.

Wiggins admitted that MSU would be high on his to-do list were it not for Petrino’s head-scratching restriction.  As it turns out, Starkville will be an option as, because of a successful appeal, Wiggins will be permitted to transfer to MSU if he so desires.  The restrictions on the other four schools remain in place.

In addition to MSU, Wiggins will also consider a couple of other SEC schools in South Carolina and Tennessee.  The Bulldogs, though, would seem to be the prohibitive favorite based on his relationship with his two-time coordinator.

In early May of 2014, Georgia announced that Wiggins had decided to transfer from the Bulldogs; later that month, he followed Grantham to the U of L.

Wiggins started at corner for the Cardinals in 2015, earning honorable mention All-ACC honors. Injuries plagued him throughout the 2016 season, and he announced in January that he would be transferring a second time.

Shaq Wiggins barred by Louisville from transferring to five schools

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We don’t yet know to where Shaq Wiggins will transfer.  We do, though, know a handful of places where he won’t.

Speaking to ESPN.com‘s Edward Aschoff, Wiggins confirmed that, in addition to other ACC schools, he has been by barred by Louisville from transferring Kentucky, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Purdue and Western Kentucky.  Kentucky and Purdue are on the U of L’s schedule this season, the other three are not.

It appears MSU is on the list because Todd Grantham, the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator the past three seasons, left Bobby Petrino‘s coaching staff to take the same job with the Bulldogs earlier this year.  It was thought that the Grantham connection could lead Wiggins to Starkville, a fact that, amidst his befuddlement, the cornerback confirmed.

“When [Petrino] said Mississippi State, I was like, it had to be deeper than what it seems to be because Louisville doesn’t play Mississippi State,” Wiggins told Aschoff. “It just so happened to be Mississippi State on there, once Coach Grantham left.

“I really don’t know what’s his state of thinking or why he chose to put Mississippi State on there. It’s something personal, but I have no idea why. It’s really not fair. …

“It would make sense for Mississippi State to be a part of one of my options.”

As for schools that are not on his no-go list, Wiggins, who said he will appeal the restrictions, confirmed that he’s strongly considering South Carolina and Tennessee.  A graduate transfer, Wiggins will be eligible to play immediately in 2017 at whichever school he ultimately chooses.  He hopes to make that choice in June or July.

In early May of 2014, Georgia announced that Wiggins had decided to transfer from the Bulldogs; later that month, he followed Grantham to the U of L.

Wiggins started at corner for the Cardinals in 2015, earning honorable mention All-ACC honors. Injuries plagued him throughout the 2016 season, and he announced in January that he would be transferring a second time.