Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Notre Dame football.

Monday, April 30

Walker Should Have Stayed

Darius Walker was rewarded for his decision to enter the NFL draft a year early with, well, nothing.

The Notre Dame running back was not drafted by anybody. That makes his decision to skip his final year look even worse than it already did, and it looked bad when he first announced it.

He eventually signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Bears.

The news was better for cornerback Mike Richardson. A guy who wasn’t even invited to the NFL Draft Combine in February wound up getting selected by New England in the sixth round.

“I try to keep a positive mindset through the whole process and hope for the best,” he said.

Richardson had sympathy for quarterback Brady Quinn, who was a projected top-three pick before falling to No. 22 with Cleveland.

“It’s tough to watch someone you have been close to go through something like that,” he said, “but we knew he would end up in a place that really needed him and where he wanted to go.”

Five other Irish were drafted, but only one got the news on his way to Dairy Queen -– offensive lineman Ryan Harris. He went in the third round to Denver and when the waiting got to be too much, he needed some fresh air.

And, as it turned out, a Blizzard. He never got it because Denver called, which is fine with him.

“I always felt that Denver would be the perfect fit for me,” he said. “I’m versatile. I can play guard or tackle. I’ve got speed and coming from a pro scheme, that will help.”

Also drafted were defensive end Victor Abiamiri (second round by Philadelphia), defensive tackle Derek Landri (fifth round Jacksonville), offensive lineman Dan Santucci (seventh round by Cincinnati) and defensive back Chinedum Ndukwe (seventh round by Cincinnati).

The seven Irish players drafted was the most since 10 went in 1994.

And so you know, the draft consisted of seven rounds and 255 players.

Friday, April 20

Irish Land Another QB Standout

So what’s with all these elite quarterbacks coming to Notre Dame? Isn’t anybody afraid of competition anymore or worried about holding clipboards rather than throwing footballs?

Apparently not. Coach Charlie Weis, it seems, is too good a recruiter, too good at developing quarterbacks.

Notre Dame isn’t a bad school, either.

And so high-profile prep star Dayne Crist has orally committed to the Irish. Already there is high-profile prep star Jimmy Clausen, the No. 1 high school player in the nation. Both, in fact, are from Southern California. Both were heavily recruited by USC. Both are good friends.

No matter. They will battle it out for future playing time, along with Demetrius Jones, Zach Frazer and Evan Sharpley. Sharpley was considered the nation’s No. 15 pro-style quarterback coming out of high school. Frazer was No. 9. Jones was the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback.

As you can see, that’s a lot of competition. A less confident guy might pass on that, but confidence is not something Crist lacks.

How good is Crist? Good enough to throw for 17 touchdowns and three interceptions in just seven games (injury limited his playing time). Good enough to rank among the top three prep quarterbacks in the nation.

He is also 6-5 and 221 pounds, so he has NFL caliber size, and if you don’t think pro possibilities entered into the decision, then you don’t understand college football these days.

Notre Dame, by the way, now has eight commitments. That includes Bishop Dwenger receiver John Goodman. Most of those are expected to attend Saturday’s spring game.

The commitments aren't binding until they sign a national letter of intent, which can't happen until next February.

Wednesday, April 18

Notre Dame QB Update

Okay, we now have the starting quarterbacks for Saturday’s Notre Dame spring game and if you think this is a big deal, then you must really be intrigued by coin tosses.

Yes, Jimmy Clausen and Zach Frazer will start, with Demetrius Jones and Evan Sharpley as the backups.

So does this mean we now know who the leaders will be heading into August’s preseason camp? Not even close.

Clausen and Frazer get to start because they won a coin toss. That’s it. Don’t read any more into it than that.

In fact, what this means is that Clausen and Frazer will quarterback the odd-numbered offensive series, while Jones and Sharpley will run the show during even-numbered series.

Coach Charlie Weis reiterated that the coaching staff won’t start evaluating everything until late May. Figure a decision will be made by early June. Even then, that decision will be who are the No. 1 and No. 2 candidates entering preseason camp. The actual starter will be based on performance in the weeks leading up to the season opener against Georgia Tech.

So now you know.