Five Wide Fullbacks: Freshman All-Americans and Fieldturf

Loyal One Foot Down readers gather round. The hour is late, but this week's Five Wide Fullbacks is here.

Jack Swarbrick needs help scheduling a neutral site game with an opponent and he's able to sign up any team anywhere in the country, but he can't pull the trigger. Who do you put on the Irish schedule and where is the game being played?

Give me Boise State in the Coeur d'Alene National Forest. Boise State. The new kid on the block. The plucky upstart. David. The new innovator, what with the funky offenses and blue field, and what have you. Boise State is like ND before all of the national championships. Of course the Boise National Forest is the obvious choice for a venue, but that would be too much like a home game for the Broncos. Just clear cut a 200-by-200-yard swath in the rugged Coeur d'Alene, line a field and play ball. The Irish. The Broncos. A football, some uprights and a field. Just play ball, Mystery, Alaska-style. We could even turn the clock back and go with leather helmets, no facemasks, and cotton shoulderpads.

Aaron Lynch was a freshman All-American in 2011 after putting together a fine first season in South Bend. Give me your top 3 candidates who could also be a freshman AA in the 2012 class, and pick your most likely winner.

1. Davaris Daniels-I saw him dunk in a high school basketball game, so of course I'm assuming that he'll be a dominant receiver in his first year of game action. I also hope that a guy with his athletic abilities who's been in the program for a year will be ready to step up and make a big contribution. We need him to.

2. Deontay Greenberry-I'm going to stick with receiver because with Michael Floyd's departure is going to leave a depth chart chasm the size of the hole in Johnny Ringo's soul, and because no one that played in 2011 showed any sign of being able to sniff Michael Floyd's level of production.

3. Tee Shepard-We're also pretty thin and pretty young at corner, and many Irish fans have already tabbed Tee Shepard the day-one starter. Far be it from me to buck conventional wisdom so I'll just agree. Everyone likes a yes man. Tee and Deontay are probably 2 and 2a here, but I think we'll play far more 3-wide-receiver sets than nickel sets. I also anticipate that the third defensive back to see the field will probably be a safety in most instances, so for me, the real DGB edges his cousin Tee.

There are some rumors that Notre Dame will be installing the 3% artificial Desso GrassMaster playing surface like what is used at Green Bay's Lambeau Field and Denver's Mile High Stadium. Discuss whether you think switching to DGM is merely a band-aid and if the program should install completely artificial FieldTurf, whether DGM is the perfect solution, or if the natural Kentucky Bluegrass should be kept.

The playing surface at Notre Dame Stadium has been an open, festering, gangrenous wound for years now, so a band-aid cannot hurt. I support any efforts to improve the turf in ND Stadium, whether that measure is stopgap 3% artificial turf or full-on artificial surface. Coach Kelly is recruiting the type of athleticism that will afford the Irish a speed advantage over 90% of the teams that enter our stadium, so while we absolutely need a durable playing surface, we should also consider installing a faster playing surface to capitalize on the speed advantage that Kelly is developing. I've said it before and I'll say it again-winning the right way is the only tradition that matters at ND. The Stadium is not Augusta. We don't enter it to marvel at the beautifully-manicured grass-remember, it IS just grass. We do it achieve excellence.

Give us your wish list for National Signing Day. Give us your probable list.

Wish List: Agholor, Neal, the Armsteads, Reggie Bush, The Gipper, Lawrence Taylor, Bobby Boucher, Paul Krewe, Omar from the Wire, Bunk from the Wire, Secretariat-excellent long speed, but short speed, route running, and ball skills require refinement-and a Swiss Army Knife-great utility player. After what this staff pulled off last year, I wouldn't be shocked if they got me my wish list.

Probable List: Again, I believe in this coaching staff's ability to pull off an 11th-hour recruiting coup, but I have no idea who will be coup-ed. Some of the foregoing names would provide the much-desired gravy-or butter-for the biscuits that are the current stable of commits, but none of them seem likely to be Irish. Let's assume that we'll get none of them, and we'll presently surprised with whatever Lagniappe comes our way on National Signing Day.

With National Signing Day approaching, wax philosophical on your feelings towards college football recruiting.

On the one hand, National Signing Day has been the National Champtionship Game for Irish fans for the better part of twenty years. On National Signing Day hope springs eternal. The Fighting Irish are undefeated and have a shot at the Recruiting National Championship, or at the very least a much higher ranking than they held at the end of the regular season. On the other hand, college football recruiting has become a cesspool of solicitation, oversigning, street agents, bag men, and crazy uncles, to say nothing of the inherent creepiness of a bunch of 25-to-75-year-old men fawning over 18 year olds on a scale not seen since the time of Socrates. So to paraphrase The Preeminent 20-th Century Bards Messrs. Seinfeld and David, it is a loathsome, offensive thing, yet I can't look away.

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