May 2, 2012

Notre Dame Signing Day 2012

While I was away from the blog my job assignments got a bit more interesting. On February 1, 2012 I, along with twelve other producers were sent to colleges around the country to produce sixteen hours of National Signing Day coverage for ESPNU. As a college football fan I was elated. I realized I could mark that off my college bucket list. It was a place I'd never been and never had a reason to go.

As a producer most of my work is done before the shoot. I landed in South Bend on Monday to map out my plan for the Wednesday shoots. Tuesday Bob and I met with the SID Brian Harden and Head Coach Brian Kelly. Both men were gracious and gave us important information leading up to signing day. On Wednesday morning the coaches weren't expecting any surprises and had high hopes for their class. My morning began with a 6:00 am crew call to feed shoots of Notre Dame scenics back to ESPNU. Around 7:00am we were allowed access into the war room where Coach Kelly and his assistants were being contacted by players committing to Notre Dame. Then the coverage began. The 16 hour show was accented by live shots at 13 different schools. As the day went on they would come to Bob and I over headset and he would tell them the vibe of the schools and what recruits had committed.

 The Notre Dame Fighting Irish fared well in the process, grabbing 16 commitments from some top talent around the nation. Despite missing out on wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Deontay Greenberry, the Irish still managed to rake in the top 25 class in the nation. The biggest surprise of the day was Greenberry who chose Houston on Wednesday morning. Notre Dame's 17-man class seemed all but set entering the day, but Greenberry changed that with the last-minute decision. Having his cousin, Tee Shepard, already enrolled at Notre Dame certainly made that more surprising. Greenberry was the state of California's best wide receiver and somebody the Irish were counting on to play early and often with the departure of Michael Floyd. All was not lost as Notre Dame managed to pull in the number two overall player and Columbus (Ind.) quarterback Gunner Kiel and Greenberry's cousin, cornerback Tee Shepard. While disappionted with Greenberry's decicion Kelly remained upbeat and dedicated to the players he did sign. "It is hard for me to feel disappointed about something I have never had, or someone I have never coached," Kelly said. "I'm more excited about the 16 who did sign."

This 16 includes the aforementioned Five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel and top 100 cornerback Tee Shepard, as well as receivers Chris Brown and Justin Ferguson, along with the five defensive backs added at a need position.

Overall my experience at Notre Dame was awesome. The live shots went well, the weather was great for February in Indiana, and the Irish were wonderful hosts. Hopefully I can return for an actual football game.

***In March it was announced that Tee Shepard was no longer enrolled at Notre Dame and had returned to Fresno, CA.***