Thursday, February 15, 2007

Your 2007 Dogbook: Defensive Skill Positions

At long last, here is part three of the Class of 2007 Dogbook.

Your Class of 2007 Dogbook: Defensive Skill Positions

Brandon Walker, K/P, Findlay, OH

62", 190
Anagramaticus Says:

"Warn Dark Noble"
HRB Angry Drunk Viking Rating:

Five Angry Drunk Vikings and two bucking Mules.
The Lowdown: Proving Newton's Law of Conservation of Walkers, Notre Dame locked up a replacement Walker weeks after Darius announced he was heading for the NFL. Granted, Brandon's skillset isn't exactly the same as young Darius', but he has an opportunity to contribute at a kicking position that is wide open going into 2007.

Walker was a bit of a curious pickup. A late acquisition after he decommitted from Louisville after Bobby Petrino left for the NFL, a lot of Irish fans were curious about the logic behind giving another kicker a scholarship after Ryan Burkhart was signed last year. The instant speculation is that Burkhart hasn't developed as planned in his first year in South Bend, and having another kicker, if for no other reason than to provide more competition for the position, is important to maximizing the productivity in the kicking game.

In 2007, Walker will have a shot to compete for the placekicking duties, and after Geoff Price leaves next year, he'll have a shot at the punting duties, too.

Bonus YouTube Footage: Walker Texas Ranger beating somebody's ass. Chuck Norris doesn't sleep, he waits.

Brian Smith, ILB, Overland Park, KS

6'2", 230, 4.7
Anagramaticus Says:

"Bash in Trim"
HRB Angry Drunk Viking Rating:

Seven Angry Drunk Vikings, a soybean, and a Wheel of Pain.
The Lowdown: Brian Smith is a great example of how a change in defensive philosophy makes an immediate change in the value of prospects. The son of a Notre Dame football player and a lifelong Notre Dame fan, Smith was not offered a scholarship by the Irish due to the lack of a clear role for him to play in Rick Minter's 4-3 defense. Smith accepted a scholarship to Iowa in the meantime and was a vocal recruiter for the Hawkeyes during his commitment. However, with the hiring of Corwin Brown and the change to a 3-4 defense, Smith's stock suddenly jumped in the eyes of the Notre Dame coaching staff, as his size and abilities project very nicely to an inside linebacker position in a 3-4. A few phone calls and an official visit later, Smith pledged to the Irish and set the Wheel of Pain into motion.

With an increased importance on the linebacker position, Smith will have a great opportunity to compete for playing time early and make a difference in the new, revamped Irish defense.

Bonus YouTube Footage: Cheer up, Brian. Always look on the bright side of life.

Harrison Smith, S, Knoxville, TN

6'2", 205, 4.45
Anagramaticus Says:

"This Rash Minor"
HRB Angry Drunk Viking Rating:

Eight Angry Drunk Vikings, a Jar of Corn, and a Handfull of M&M's.
The Lowdown: Tennessee has always been a difficult state to lure top talent out of, what with the in-state Volunteers being such an overpowering force in the state. However, Smith and his fellow Tennesseean Golden Tate both both spurned the fat man to play for another fat man a few states over.

Harrison Smith is a great prototype of a rangy safety, as he has blazing speed in additioni to a hefty build that equates to terrifying, concusscion-inducing hits while playing centerfield. Yes, he's white, which has caused obligatory comparisons to John Lynch, Tom Zbikowski, and a bigger, faster, football-playing Eminem (the House Rock Built's standard retort to oversimplified comparisons drawn solely on racial stereotypes).

Smith is a great addition and appears to have natural ballhawking instincts that will make him a welcome upgrade in the secondary when his time to play comes.

Bonus YouTube Footage: Harrison Ford... selling Japanese beer. Head, meet explode.

Gary Gray, CB, Columbia, SC

5'11", 165, 4.55
Anagramaticus Says:

"Gray Gary"
HRB Angry Drunk Viking Rating:

Eight Angry Drunk Vikings and two cockfighting roosters.
The Lowdown: Gray is another big pickup to fill in the needs of a Notre Dame defense trying to find an identity: a shutdown corner. One of the top prospects out of South Carolina, Gray was originally committed to Spurrier and the Gamecocks, but changed his mind early in the season and never looked back. While he's a bit on the smallish size (165 pounds? Get that boy an ice cream sandwich, stat!), Gray has the speed and polished coverage skills to become a great lockdown cornerback.

If you want the full story on Gray beyond what I can muster up in a few paragraphs, read this article, which tells in great detail the long road that Gray has walked down in his quest to become a college athlete.

Bonus YouTube Footage: The pride of Gary, IN... the Jackson Five.

Steve Paskorz, ILB, Allison Park, PA

6'2", 220, 4.5
Anagramaticus Says:

"Spank Over Zest"
HRB Angry Drunk Viking Rating:

Six Angry Drunk Vikings, a rhinocerous, and a spicy kielbasa.
The Lowdown: Paskorz was another early commitment, pledging to the Irish way back in May. He seems like another player who would have been a "tweener" in the old 4-3 defense, but can find a much more prominent role as a linebacker in a 3-4. A running back in high school, Paskorz mowed over the competition and racked up some pretty impressive credentials, although his talents are much more suitable for linebacking at the college level.

Hopefully, he'll be able to bring his hard-hitting mentality to the other side of the ball.

Bonus YouTube Footage: Allison Park, Allison Road. Allright, it's a thin excuse to play some Gin Blossoms.

Aaron Nagel, LB, Lemont, IL

6'1", 215, 4.52
Anagramaticus Says:

"An Anal Ogre"
HRB Angry Drunk Viking Rating:

Six Angry Drunk Vikings, a motorcycle, and a nail gun.
The Lowdown: Nagel, just like Paskorz, is a hard-hitting high school running back who will be playing linebacker in college. Another early commitment, Nagel has been in the fold with the Irish since March after a long interview with Weis on a junior day camp.

His last name is German for "Nails", which is about as hardcore as you can get. Also, he's a 4.0 student who is currently ranked third in his graduating class.

Bonus YouTube Footage: "88 Lines About 44 Women" by The Nails. The only YouTube I could find was this vaguely NSFW Anime clip. It's weeeeird.

My god, it's finally over.

Labels: , , , , , , ,