There was a lot more stuff that happened yesterday on day two of the 2015 version of The Opening. Around about twelve more hours of stuff to be exact.
That's a lot of football to pack in one day and that meant there is plenty to talk about regarding Notre Dame commits and targets. Here's some of my observations from yesterday's action:
- Tommy Kraemer was not allowed to wear pads even though almost all of the other linemen were (boo!) due to a rule that has to do with him being from Ohio (more boo!). He did still get some work in during the one on one pass rush session, though, (yay!) and he looked impressive. His technique might be the best out of any of the offensive linemen in attendance in terms of his balance and ability to re-set when he faces a counter move from a rusher. He did well against Ohio State commit Jonothan Cooper, probably the best edge rusher in attendance, and was able to win his reps against him. There is no lunging with him. He's just solid all the way around.
I wish I got to see him run block today, but I have no concerns with him in that area in the future at Notre Dame. Today I feel I got a better idea that he could project to left tackle, even if the right side might be his best fit. Heck, he looked pretty good at guard when he took a couple of reps there as well. Making the Final 5 may be out of reach for him because of the no pads issues, but he certainly lived up to what I thought he was going to be so far.
- It was a bit of a weird day for Parker Boudreaux. He didn't take a lot of reps, although there were plenty to go around in a nearly three hour practice. Maybe he was nursing an injury? I'm not sure what the case was.
When he did take reps yesterday in run blocking drills and pass rush one on ones, it was a little bit more of what I expected from this week. He struggled against 5 star defensive tackle Derrick Brown and his pad level seemed to be too high for most of the day. When facing this defensive tackle group, which is far better than last year's group and I thought last year's group was very good, it's not a surprise that there are going to be some bad reps. When your technique isn't on point, you're going to get beat. He didn't shine yesterday, but today is new day and hopefully he bounces back.
- I'm sure everyone will be excited if wide receiver Chase Claypool commits to Notre Dame tomorrow and this is me telling you that you are allowed to get even more excited. His 7 on 7 team is loaded with talent, so he didn't see the ball a ton, but he made a couple of spectacular catches where he went up and high pointed the ball and showed what a tough matchup he can be for smaller cornerbacks. The thing is, every cornerback is going to be a lot smaller than Claypool. He is a "dude". Every site that has him as 3 star probably won't have him as a 3 star for too much longer after the completion of this camp.
- Running back commit Tony Jones Jr. was not supposed to shine this week, but I really like what I saw from him today catching the football. He got open a lot against some athletic linebackers today and he showed very good hands. Yes, he's a power back. He's showing he can also can be a potential weapon in the passing game for Notre Dame.
- I liked linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch a lot as a prospect coming into this camp and it's awesome to hear he has a serious interest in Notre Dame. He made a great catch on an interception that showed what kind of ball skills he has in coverage. This kid is even better when they put the pads on and is an absolute thumper as a tackler.
- Speaking of putting the pads on, back to the linemen and what seems like everyone's dream defensive line target in this class: Oluwole Betiku. He still has so much room to improve, but the spectacular flashes he shows are awesome to watch. He pretty much had the most violent push pull move I have ever witnessed in person when he actually hurt 2017 5 star offensive tackle Calvin Ashley. Linemen get hyped all the time when they see something crazy like that, but what he did was something I had never seen before. I hope that Ashley ends up being okay and can participate today, but I have to admit it was kind of amazing to watch. The defensive line coach in me wanted to knock over the chains and run over and congratulate Betiku.
- Caleb Kelly is fluid, athletic, and can definitely run well, but he is a bit different than some of the other outside linebackers here. He is physically more mature and plays like it. You know the whole concept of having a Sam who plays more versus running teams and a Sam who plays more versus spread teams? Kelly is the guy who can do both. He was very physical with tight ends with his jam when I saw him and for good measure he also had a pick six in his team's final game of the day.
He can play Sam or Will and I think be a great fit at either position.