Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has quickly shown his ruthless side – and his talent at recruiting.
Firing all of Charlie Weis's coaches bar running backs coach Tony Allford was an expected move, but nonetheless marked Kelly as a man with a mission, utterly unafraid to ring the changes. For a while there, all the kumbaya, touchy feely stuff that Kelly lathered on after he arrived at South Bend had me a little worried.
He may well be about to turn the Irish into Cincinnati at South Bend, because Jeff Quinn, his chief assistant at the Bearcats, is still likely to join him. Quinn has been interviewing but so far no cigar and after the Sugar Bowl could well join his former boss.
Meanwhile another Cincinnati prospect, Andrew Hendrix, the high school star from the area who Kelly coveted, has again made his commitment to the Fighting Irish clear after wavering when Weis was fired. It is a big relief, given that Dayne Crist has been injured and is by no means a surefire starter until he proves his fitness.
Meanwhile just over the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Austin Collinsworth, son of renowned Bengals player turned TV broadcaster Cris, made Notre Dame his final answer when it came to picking a college. The running back and wide receiver was heavily recruited but the Kelly hiring from near his local neighborhood probably made all the difference.
ESPN scouts certainly like the 6 footer. "Collinsworth is a tall and physically impressive, skilled athlete. He has good size in terms of height but needs to put on some overall strength and bulk. A long strider that doesn't have great lateral agility or shiftiness, but does kick it into gear and demonstrates excellent playing speed."
If he has anything like the engine his old man had he will be a keeper at Notre Dame. If he has his father's quirky personality and quick wit he may become a standout.
Either way it is a good start for Coach Kelly who, on the debit side lost top Texas recruit Toney Hurd.
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