Notre Dame hosts North Texas recruits during game in Arlington

Posted Sunday, Oct. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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As much as North Texas’ Notre Dame fan base wants to believe the Fighting Irish traveled to AT&T Stadium to play Arizona State on Saturday as a tip of the cap to them, that wasn’t the main reason.

The game served the same purpose as the clean, all-white uniforms the Irish sported for the first time — recruiting.

Around 25-30 North Texas recruits who have Notre Dame’s attention attended the game, with tickets provided by the Fighting Irish athletic department, a person with IrishIllustrated.com told the Star-Telegram.

“Certainly getting some recruits locally to come to the game, you know, we certainly can’t see them but we can provide tickets,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “A bump would probably be a good word. Is it going to seal the deal for us in a lot of these instances? Probably not, but it certainly helps to have the kind of exposure there.”

The neutral-site contest was considered a home game for Notre Dame, enabling it to provide tickets to recruits.

Since the game was away from South Bend, coaches could have no contact with local recruits.

Those present included Dallas Bishop Dunne defensive back Payton Hendrix and Plano West running back Soso Jamabo.

The Irish coaching staff caught a few North Texas high school football games, including Bishop Dunne’s 27-21 loss to Plano Prestonwood, which Kelly himself attended.

“I certainly think that any time that you’re able to — well, for example, we’ll be able to go down there on Friday and get out and see some games with our coaches, so certainly being able to get down there will help us in that perspective,” Kelly said.

Return home

Notre Dame running back Cam McDaniel, a former Coppell High School standout, returned home and saw significant time as one of the Irish’s clock drainers in the second half.

The junior had 82 yards on 15 carries. His longest run came in the fourth quarter on a 29-yard scamper that set up a 33-yard Irish field goal.

McDaniel’s rushing also set up Notre Dame’s fourth-quarter, 25-yard field goal to give the Irish a 30-27 lead with 3:03 left in the game.

McDaniel entered the game as the Irish’s No. 2 rusher, with 194 yards and two touchdowns on 48 carries.

McDaniel last played in North Texas in the final game of his high school career when Coppell lost a heartbreaker to Euless Trinity in the Class 5A playoffs.

In that game, then-Trinity quarterback and current TCU wide receiver Brandon Carter ran in a last-second touchdown for the win in front of a sold-out crowd at Southlake’s Dragon Stadium.

Par for the course

Tim Brown, the former Notre Dame and Oakland Raiders receiver, was in attendance to cheer on his Irish near his hometown. Brown, the 1987 Heisman Trophy winner, played for Dallas Wilson.

Brown will become a TV star this week, as he took part in The Golf Channel’s Big Break NFL series, pairing former NFL players with aspiring professional golfers to win $50,000 for charity. Brown is listed as a 3 handicap.

“The thing that was the same is it was like going through training camp,” Brown said. “Because training camp is every day and you know you have to do it. I’d never been that way before in golf, up at 5:30 in the morning and on the range by 6:30.

“So that’s what I tried to relate it to. The saving grace is, you know you’re going to hit bad shots and the other guy will, too. The skills challenges were the toughest things. You only get one shot.”

Briefly

• Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza tied the AT&T Stadium college record with a 53-yard field goal with 10:02 left in the third. Nebraska’s Alex Henery kicked a 53-yard field goal in the 2010 Big 12 Championship.

• The state was well-represented in a game that featured 17 Texans on both schools’ rosters.

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