Notre Dame comes to visit Philadelphia for an Oct. 11 date with Temple at Lincoln Financial Field in 2014, assuming the Mayan calendar is wrong. And the biggest loser that day could be Penn State.
In the press release announcing the three-game series with Temple, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said: “We’re looking forward to bringing the Fighting Irish back to Philadelphia and providing our strong East Coast fan base another opportunity to see its team in person.”
What he really meant was: “We are ecstatic that we will be able to tell our top-shelf recruits from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland that you can get as many tickets for your family to watch you play.”
Last month, Notre Dame assistant coach Charley Molnar visited Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster, setting up meetings with top 2012 recruits Colin Thompson, Desmon Peoples, Frank Taylor and Brandon Arcidicano and invited them to Notre Dame’s Junior Day on Feb. 26.
Notre Dame will be aggressively recruiting prime Penn State real estate. The big prize could be Allentown Central Catholic star quarterback Brendan Nosovitch, who had 602 total yards in the Pennsylvania Class AAA 49-27 win over Wood, running for 182 yards and passing for 420. He had five TD passes and ran for two more.
And recruiting will be key for Temple, too, because the key players in the games that will be played in 2013 (tentative) 2014 (definite) and Sept. 26, 2015 (in South Bend) will be new coach Steve Addazio’s first crops. He came late on the scene this year, trying desperately to keep those who had already committed to Temple before coach Al Golden left for Miami.
Addazio did well, with only one top lineman leaving, but he was so good that he went with Golden to become a Hurricane.
Not everyone is sure how good a head coach Addazio will be on the collegiate level, and he struggled at times as offensive coordinator at Florida last year (just ask Penn State). But if anyone saw him at the Philadelphia Sports Writers dinner on Jan. 31, they sure know one thing. He can get you pumped up in a hurry. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was so impressed, he had a hard time following him at the microphone, but sources say he is out of eligibility anyway. Comedian Joe Conklin, who brought the crowd to tears of laughter with his impressions of Manuel and Allen Iverson, no doubt is working up his Addazio right now. But Addazio and his crew will have to take it up a few notches because his star players are heading to the NFL Combine this week (Muhammad Wilkerson, Peanut Joseph and Jaquan Jarrett).
However, it is Penn State’s recruiting base just got invaded by the crew that somehow talked stud linebacker Ishaq Williams from leaving his Brooklyn home (I wonder how far away he lived from where JoePa grew up) and skip a final visit to State College, instead giving an oral commitment to the Irish. A few days later, he was enrolled in school in South Bend.
So the stakes just got raised for Penn State. Notre Dame is in the house, Joe Paterno isn’t making house calls and Steve Addazio just got someone he doesn’t even know to do 25 one-armed pushups while listening to Temple’s fight song. (Parts of the preceding sentence were facetious.)
Maybe Penn State will get its share of players from Archbishop Wood. Maybe Brendan Nosovitch will battle Rob Bolden for the starting QB job in 2013. Maybe Tom Bradley won’t interview for any more head coaching jobs. But one thing seems certain, Brian Kelly may not be a great game coach, but his staff sure can recruit.
And at Happy Valley, it will déjà vu all over again, all over again.