Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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54 AUGUST 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED The talent-versus-production argu- ments were a hot topic leading up to the draft, and Kizer ultimately fell to the second round where the Cleve- land Browns made him the No. 52 overall pick. Kizer left behind an interesting leg- acy at Notre Dame. He put up good numbers and had some brilliant mo- ments, and without him emerging in 2015 the Irish don't make their run to the Fiesta Bowl. Kizer, though, finished his career with a 12-11 record as a starter and left the program before maximizing his immense gifts. Still, Notre Dame's draft news was more good than bad. Most notable was fifth-year senior offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey and senior left guard Quenton Nelson opting to return to South Bend for the 2017 campaign, de- spite both being projected as possible first- or second-round draft picks. Their return has given the Irish of- fense the opportunity to field one of the best lines in the country in 2017. Lindy's has the Irish offensive line ranked the third-best in the nation, behind only Alabama and Oklahoma. MORE SUCCESS ON THE HARDWOOD Notre Dame's lack of success on the football field didn't carry over into the winter, when both the Irish men's and women's basket- ball programs once again thrived. The women's team won its fourth straight ACC regular season and tournament championships. Notre Dame's undefeated record in ACC Tournament play gives the program an astounding 74-2 record against league opponents during that stretch. The Fighting Irish finished the sea- son with a 33-4 record, but the season ended in the Elite Eight with a 76-75 loss to Stanford after having built a double-digit lead in the season half. Perhaps the biggest heartbreak or "what if" of the sports year at Notre Dame was when 6-3 All-American Top Five Female Rookies 1. Jemma Yeadon (Volleyball) She helped lead quite a revival in her sport, with the Irish improving from 7‑25 to 22‑10. Yeadon started 29 of the 32 games and led the team in total kills (318) and points (377) to earn ACC All‑Freshman Team and ACC All‑Academic Team honors. 2. Emily Stinebaugh (Rowing) Named the ACC Freshman of the Year while helping the varsity eight to a second‑place finish in the conference. 3. Savannah Buchanan (Lacrosse) The first‑year player started 18 of 19 games, tallying 19 goals, leading the team with 26 caused turnovers, scooping up 34 ground balls and winning 45 draws. 4. JACKIE YOUNG (Basketball) Health setbacks limited her to 7.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game, but she flashed the skills to become a future All‑American. 5. Katie Smith (Swimming) The freshman was one of nine Irish women to qualify for the 2017 NCAA Championships, tying a school record for a program that ranked among the top 25. Top Five Male Rookies 1. Ariel Simmons (Fencing) He received first‑team All‑America acco‑ lades with a third‑place tie in epee for the national champions. 2. Tommy McCabe (Soccer) Last fall the defenseman started all 21 games and became the first Irish freshman in his sport to play every game. Ranked 10th in the postsea‑ son TopDrawerSoccer Freshmen Top 100 ratings, he also was on the All‑ACC Academic Team. 3. Bryan Costabile (Lacrosse) The freshman started all 15 games and fin‑ ished fifth on the team with 17 goals. He was an ACC All‑Tournament Team pick. 4. JULIAN LOVE (Football) The eight‑game starter displayed remark‑ able versatility for his age, while lining up at cornerback, nickel and even safety. He fin‑ ished with 45 tackles and an interception. 5. Kevin Stepherson (Football) His 18.5 yards per his 25 receptions (five touch‑ downs) was more dynamic than Love's data, but his teammate was a steadier figure play after play. Still, not many freshman receivers in Irish history had numbers like Stepherson's. Honorable mention: Safety Devin Studstill started nine games, basketball's T.J. Gibbs pro‑ vided good defense and ball‑handling support off the bench, and hockey d e fe n s e m a n A n d r e w Peeke tallied four goals and 10 assists during a solid rookie season. Jackie Young displayed flashes of skill as a scorer, rebounder and defender during a 33-4 season. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND Julian Love was one of several freshmen who had to start for a secondary that was severely hurt by attrition before the season. PHOTO BY RICK KIMBALL

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