Tony Alford

Notre Dame reportedly to add Keith Gilmore, Autry Denson to coaching staff

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According to multiple reports, Autry Denson — Notre Dame’s all-time leading rusher — is expected to return to South Bend and join Brian Kelly’s coaching staff.

Denson is expected to be hired to coach Irish running backs, replacing Tony Alford — who took a position on Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State earlier this year. The 38-year-old was previously hired to coach South Florida’s running backs, but will apparently head to Notre Dame before doing much in Tampa.

Todd Lyght, who’s expected to be named Notre Dame’s defensive backs coach, took a similar path, joining the Irish staff after being hired by Vanderbilt earlier this year.

Notre Dame is also reportedly expected to hire UNC defensive line coach Keith Gilmore for the same position, with longtime Kelly assistant Mike Elston moving to coach outside linebackers and Bob Elliott taking a non-coaching position in the program. 247 Sports, Irish Illustrated and Blue and Gold reported those parts of the coaching shuffle.

Official announcements of these hires likely won’t be imminent given Notre Dame’s lengthy background check process.

Mike Weber puts his Ohio State recruiting drama behind him

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Ohio State-bound running back Mike Weber appears to be ready to turn a page with his recruiting process.

Weber expressed some disappointment after signing day when it was reported running backs coach Stan Drayton was leaving the Buckeyes to coach in the NFL with the Chicago Bears. Drayton had played a key role in Ohio State’s recruiting of the four-star running back out of Michigan. Drayton’s sudden departure was one of a handful of post-signing day coaching changes leaving some players at a loss of words.

Weber’s high school coach was a bit more vocal about the process, suggesting Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes did not show any respect toward Weber by intentionally withholding information regarding Drayton’s future. The Twitter firestorm followed shortly after that when a picture of Weber surfaced showing him working out while wearing a Michigan shirt. Judging by Weber’s recent comments on Twitter, fans should not be reading too much into the apparel decision.

Weber is right. He was not the one who took the picture of him wearing a Michigan shirt, nor was it ever his decision to have that image shared with the masses, thus going viral in college football and recruiting circles. This is just another example of one of the negatives that can come from social media over-sharing. Why anyone would share an image of a high school kid working out is sort of weird anyway.

The larger point of Weber’s state of mind was soon confirmed in another tweet, in which Weber expressed gratitude to Drayton and offered him best wishes at his next job. Weber also announced he is excited to start working with Ohio State’s new running back coach, Tony Alford. Alford was plucked from Notre Dame’s coaching staff soon after Drayton’s departure.

And now, life goes on.

Georgia HS coach rips college programs that lie during recruiting

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Recruiting in college football can, at times, get ugly. The past few days after National Signing Day have seen a handful of incidents that cast a dark cloud over college football recruiting.

Ohio State was accused of lying to Detroit Cass Tech and running back Mike Weber while recruiting the four-star running back to Columbus. Weber committed to Ohio State and a day later running backs coach Stan Drayton was on his way to the NFL. Ohio State lured Notre Dame running back coach Tony Alford to fill the vacancy, but the thought of Ohio State deceiving a Michigan recruit may not have gone without subtle comment from new Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh (which may have sparked yet another Twitter battle).

A similar tale has unfolded in Austin, where defensive tackle Du’Vonta Lampkin expressed some bitter feelings after Texas defensive line coach Chris Rumph left the Longhorns for Florida just two days after signing day.

Four-star linebacker Roquan Smith is also in the middle of a rather public stressful situation regarding his recruitment, but he is fortunate to not have submitted his official letter of intent just yet. Smith announced his commitment to UCLA on signing day, but he has held off on taking the next step to making his commitment official because UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich took a job with the Atlanta Falcons.

Criticized by many for stepping back from his UCLA commitment until he can make a decision he feels best for him, Smith’s high school coach,Macon County coach Larry Harold, has come out in his defense.

“If you’ve never played sports or anything like that, you are more than just a coach to these kids. You’re their dad, their mom, and their extended family,” Harold explained to Atlanta Journal Constitution. “You’re everything to these kids. So when they’re going to get recruited by the next coach, to find the person who is going to be charge of the next four years of their life, they are looking for the same things.”

The experience of Smith and other recruits that never get a chance to play for the coach that took the lead in recruiting them is a reality of the coaching game. Sometimes a better offer comes around, or an opportunity to be put in a more comfortable or secure position. This is essentially what America is all about in a sense.  It may be tough to handle on the end of the players and the high school coaches that stand by their sides through the process, but it is the reality of the sport and most everybody understands that.

That doesn’t mean it is any easier to accept.

“So how can these guys (college coaches) talk about the people and the relationships — and then you get these kids signed and then you bail on them at the first time you get the opportunity,” Harold asked. “You can’t tell me that these head coaches aren’t telling these assistants that they know are leaving – don’t tell anybody until after signing day and then we’ll announce it. That’s deception and that dishonesty. And, most importantly, it’s not fair to the kids.”

There is likely some insider information among the coaching staff at various college programs, and sometimes all of the information is not going to be shared. Again, this is part of the game.

It stinks, but it’s not changing anytime soon.

Reports: Irish’s Tony Alford plans to accept Buckeyes RBs job

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It appears that Urban Meyer has indeed got his man.

Friday evening, reports surfaced that the Ohio State head coach has his sights set on Notre Dame’s Tony Alford to fill the vacancy at running backs coach.  That vacancy, and the subsequent controversy, was created by Stan Drayton‘s departure for a job in the NFL.

Fast-forward less than 24 hours, and it’s indeed looking as if Alford is going to accept the OSU job.

Meyer and Alford have a previous relationship, albeit not a working one.  Meyer was an assistant at Colorado State (wide receivers coach) from 1990-95, a time frame in which Alford was a running back for the Rams.

If the reports come to fruition, the loss of Alford would be a significant blow as, in addition to running backs coach, he also served as the Irish’s recruiting coordinator.

UPDATED 12:21 p.m. ET: Ohio State may not be confirming Alford’s addition, but one of the best running backs in the country, Ezekiel Elliott, took to Twitter to do just that.

Report: Ohio State aims to poach Notre Dame RBs coach

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Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer isn’t wasting any time in his attempt to replace running backs coach Stan Drayton, who left Columbus for an opportunity with the Chicago Bears.

IrishIllustrated.com’s Pete Sampson reported that Meyer set his sights on Notre Dame’s Tony Alford to become Drayton’s replacement.

Despite never coaching together, Meyer’s interest stems from his time as an assistant coach with the Colorado State Rams when Alford was a running back for the team.

If Meyer is able to pry Alford out of South Bend, Ohio State will have its new running back coach in the fold and steal Notre Dame’s ace recruiter.

Alford also serves as Notre Dame’s recruiting coordinator. He was instrumental in Notre Dame’s 11th-ranked recruiting class, according to Rivals.com. This was Alford’s fourth class heading up Notre Dame’s recruiting department. All four were considered top 20 classes.

Prior to becoming a member of the Fighting Irish during Charlie Weis‘ tenure, Alford spent the 2007-08 seasons with the Louisville Cardinals. Previous stops also include the Iowa State Cyclones (two times), Washington Huskies, Kent State Golden Flashes and Mount Union Purple Raiders.

Alford could be the perfect hire for Meyer to solve some of the team’s recent issues with recruits after Drayton’s surprise move after National Signing Day.