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"Notre Dame sacking Michigan"
Photo Credit: AP

Eli Manning took home MVP honors in the New York Giants' Super Bowl XLVI victory over the New England Patriots, but former Notre Dame defensive end Justin Tuck ('05) was the subject of much post-game publicity, and rightfully so.

The Kellyton, Ala. native had an impact on the game from the first defensive snap, pressuring Tom Brady in the end zone and forcing him to throw the ball away. The ensuing intentional grounding penalty resulted in a safety and gave the Giants an early 2-0 lead.

Tuck also sacked Brady twice, including an important play on the game's final possession that forced the Patriots to convert a 4th-and-16, just to keep their slim hopes alive.

Hundreds, if not thousands of fans tweeted that Tuck should earn MVP honors, and although the Giants' quarterback was ultimately awarded the recognition, the defensive end's impact on the game did not go unnoticed.

Here's a look at some of the coverage surrounding the Giants' defensive captain and former Irish standout:

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"Tucking is the new Tebowing"
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This weekend at the Loftus Sports Center, the Notre Dame track & field team will host the 25th annual Meyo Invitational. The Meyo Invitational is known around the country as one of the premier track meets of the indoor season, and this year is no exception.

The meet kicks off today with the long jump at 4 pm, before the 60m hurdlers hit the track at 5 pm. Other highlights from tonight's competition include the 5,000m, distance medley relay, men's pole vault and women's high jump.

The action resumes at 10 am on Saturday morning, beginning with the 3,000m run. The women's triple jump is the first field event for Day 2, and it is scheduled to begin at 11 am.

There will be countless exciting races throughout the weekend, but the meet's biggest draws are a pair of distance events on Saturday afternoon - the Meyo Mile and the Ryan Shay men's 3,000m run.

If you can only make it to a couple of events, these are the two to watch, as each attracts some of the nation's best collegiate distance runners. Head on over to Loftus right after the conclusion of the men's basketball game against Marquette to catch the mile at 3 pm, and stick around for the 3,000m at 4:25 pm.

Three Notre Dame runners - J.P. Malette, Jeremy Rae and Jordan Carlson - highlight the field in the men's Meyo event, which also includes competitors from Arkansas, Iowa, Windsor (ON), Butler, Tulsa, Michigan State and Kent State.

The women's race features Notre Dame's Alexa Aragon and Kelly Curran, as well as 13 other runners from schools across the Midwest.

The four-minute mile was once thought to be an unattainable mark, until 1954, when England's Roger Bannister became the first to break the barrier. While the sub-four minute mile is not held on the same pedestal that it once was, it is nevertheless, an outstanding accomplishment for any runner and for running fans, there are few things more exciting than seeing a sub-four mile in person.

If past history is any indication, don't be surprised to see one or more runners achieve this feat on Saturday.

One of the most memorable races in recent history came in 2003, when Notre Dame's Luke Watson won the Meyo Mile in a school-record time of 3:57.83. Watson's victory highlighted an event in which the top five runners all finished under four minutes.

Two years later, four runners broke the four-minute mark, including two Notre Dame athletes, sophomore Kurt Benninger, and Watson, running as an unattached competitor.

At last year's meet, Rae, then a sophomore, won the Meyo Mile in 3:59.62. Michigan's Kevin Sullivan holds the meet record, an impressive 3:55.90 mark set in 1995.

Ten years after Sullivan's record-breaking performance, Lindsey Gallo, also a Michigan Wolverine, ran a 4:37.97 in the women's Meyo Mile.

The other main event is named in honor of 2001 Notre Dame graduate Ryan Shay, who tragically passed away in 2007 following a massive heart attack while running the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in New York City.

Shay is the most decorated athlete in Notre Dame track & field history. In addition to his 2001 NCAA title in the 10,000m, Shay was a nine-time All-American and nine-time BIG EAST champion.

Last year, Terefe Ejigu of Eastern Michigan won the 3,000m race (equivalent to 1.86 miles) in 8:08.58. The junior will look to defend his title on Saturday at 4:25 pm against 24 other runners, including Notre Dame's Joe Miller and Kelly Lynch.

Of course, there will be no shortage of excitement in the various sprint events either, and those events may be even more compelling if you are also a Notre Dame football fan.

After competing in last weekend's Indiana Relays, sophomore Bennett Jackson and freshmen Josh Atkinson and George Atkinson III will each make their first home appearance on the track squad. Jackson will run in heat 6 of the 60m hurdles, which begin at approximately 5:25 pm this evening.

All three will compete in the 60m dash at 6:10 pm today. Josh Atkinson is set for heat 1, while his brother George will be in heat 3. Jackson is scheduled for heat 6.

The Atkinson brothers will also hit the track tomorrow at 2:05 pm for the 200m dash. Look for Josh in section 6 and George in section 8.

To fans of traditional team sports, track & field might not seem like the most exciting spectator activity. However, the Meyo Invitational attracts some of the sport's best talent from around the country, and I can promise you that if you are in the South Bend area this weekend, the trip to Loftus Center will be well worth it.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

Kelly Chats With ESPN & CBS On Signing Day

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"It's a 40-year decision."

Signing Day: By The Numbers

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With 13 national letters of intent signed today, as well as three early enrollees and one USC transfer arriving in South Bend last month, the Notre Dame football team has added 17 student-athletes for the 2012 season.

These include: DB Nick Baratti, WR Chris Brown, LS Scott Daly, DL Sheldon Day, WR Justin Ferguson, OL Mark Harrell, DL Jarron Jones, QB Gunner Kiel, RB Will Mahone, LB Romeo Okwara, DB C.J. Prosise, RB KeiVarae Russell, DB Tee Shepard, DB Elijah Shumate, OL Ronnie Stanley, DB John Turner and transfer RB Amir Carlisle.

In total, there are eight defensive players (five defensive backs, two defensive linemen and one linebacker), eight offensive players (three running backs, two wide receivers, two offensive linemen and one quarterback) and one specialist (long snapper).

Looking at the bios from UND.com's Signing Day Central, here's a "by the numbers" look at the Class of 2012 (including Carlisle). Keep in mind that many of these bios focus on a student-athlete's junior and senior seasons, and may not include every statistic from their high school careers.

Receptions: 280
Receiving Yards: 4,662
Receiving TDs: 68
Rushing Yards: 13,356
Rushing TDs: 180
Passing Yards: 9,320
Passing TDs: 67
Kick Return TDs: 14
Punt Return TDs: 1
Defensive Interceptions: 43
INT TDs: 5
Forced Fumbles: 9
Fumble Recoveries: 10
Fumble TDs: 4
Tackles: 732
Tackles for Loss: 58
Sacks: 52
QB Pressures: 18
Pass Breakups: 32
Blocked FGs: 4
Basketball players: 4
Track athletes: 5
Tae Kwon Do Black Belts: 1

Most of these future Notre Dame student-athletes will arrive on campus in June, but you can get your first glimpse of Kiel, Day, Shepard and Carlisle on April 21 in the team's annual Blue-Gold Game.

There are only 79 days until the spring game, and 212 until the real fun begins in Dublin, Ireland. Get excited...

- Josh Flynt ('11)

It's Like Christmas, But for Fax Machines

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Wake up, wake up, wake up ... it's the first of the month.

Biggest day of the year for fax machines. We're ready to roll. Join us here to get your Notre Dame Football Signing Day fix. You'll thank us.

Student. Athlete. Irish.

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The New Lou (Part II)

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6_160670.jpg ND.edu - (Editor's note) When the Brian Kelly era began two years ago, it got Ted Mandell ('86), Notre Dame professor of Film, Television and Theatre, thinking. The more he thought about Notre Dame's 29th head football coach, the more he thought he saw the second coming of Lou Holtz. Now, last week's announcement that Kelly had been offered and had accepted a two-year extension of his contract through the 2016 season has triggered another Mandell epiphany.

I saw that BK got a two year extension, and I thought, Hmmm, after two seasons is he still the New Lou?

Well, let's see ... Brian Kelly has the exact same record after 26 games as Lou Holtz (16-10).

At the conclusion of Holtz's second season (1987), the greatest receiver in ND history (Tim Brown) finished his ND career on the sideline during the fourth quarter of a bowl game loss against a top defensive foe.

At the conclusion of Kelly's second season (2011), the greatest receiver in ND history (Michael Floyd) finished his ND career on the sideline during the fourth quarter of a bowl game loss against a top defensive foe.

Timothy Brown and Michael Floyd both have exactly 12 letters in their names.

Louis Holtz and Brian Kelly both have exactly 10 letters in their names.

After two years, Holtz replaced his defensive coordinator with a position coach on staff and hired a new offensive line coach.

After two years, Kelly replaced his offensive coordinator with a position coach on staff and hired a new offensive line coach.

Notre Dame finished the 1987 season 8-4.

Notre Dame finished the 2011 regular season 8-4.

In 1987, Notre Dame beat #17 Michigan State 31-8, highlighted by two kick returns for touchdowns by Tim Brown, future Oakland Raider.

In 2011, Notre Dame beat #15 Michigan State 31-13, highlighted by a kick return for a touchdown by George Atkinson III, son of a former Oakland Raider.

In 1987, Notre Dame beat Navy 56-13.

In 2011, Notre Dame beat Navy 56-14.

In 1986 and 1987, Notre Dame had 10 losses by a total of 90 points.

In 2010 and 2011, Notre Dame had 10 losses by a total of 88 points.

In 1987, Bon Jovi's "Livin on a Prayer" spent two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Charts.

In 2011, Jon Bon Jovi spent two minutes on the field at Notre Dame Stadium as the ND Band played "Livin on a Prayer."

The live recording of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" was first released in 1987.

The studio recording of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" was first played live inside Notre Dame Stadium in 2011.

And just in case you're wondering for season three ...

In 1988, Notre Dame defeated four teams ranked in the Coaches' Poll Top 10.

In 2012, Notre Dame plays four teams ranked in ESPN.com's preseason Top 11.

Meet the New Lou ... same as the Old Lou.

Q&A With Tim Brown

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NCAA.com - Tim Brown, the 1987 Heisman Trophy winner, set two single-game, nine single-season and eight career records during his time at Notre Dame and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009. The nine-time Pro Bowl selection was drafted sixth overall in the 1988 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles (Oakland) Raiders. Brown serves as the national chairman and spokesperson for Athletes and Entertainers for Kids and 9-1-1 For Kids. Each year, Brown hosts the Tim Brown Charity Golf Classic to benefit 9-1-1 For Kids, and the Mentor Mini Camp at the Raiders' headquarters for fatherless boys.

The Silver Anniversary Award honors former student-athletes and distinguished individuals are recognized on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletics careers. Brown and fellow recipients Doris Burke, Kevin Johnson, Sean Payton, Amy Perko and David Robinson were honored Jan. 13, 2012, during the NCAA Convention in Indianapolis.

Q: What would you say was your top academic achievement at Notre Dame?

Brown: ...The one thing I love about Notre Dame is the fact that we didn't stay in the athletic dorms, we lived with the other students. I have to tell you I learned more from the students there.

One of my best friends ended up being a kid from China, Tony Lee. We are still best of friends today. I don't think I would have gotten that anywhere else...There was only one other athlete in the whole dorm that I was living in so I think from that standpoint, yes, we talk about the education and what a great academic school, but for me what I took away from it was all the different relationships from people all over the world literally. I'm just so thankful that I had that experience.

Q: What was life like on campus for you as a student-athlete?

Brown: ...We were literally student-athletes there. We were required to sit in the front rows of classes. There was never a situation where it was okay for us not to go to class or it was okay if we did [bad] on tests or anything of that nature. Your freshman year you were required to get tutoring; after that it's if you need it. After my freshman year I didn't need any more tutoring by the time we finished practicing.

We had no special anything there besides a training table and they had to feed us, right? Everyone was already done with dinner by the time we finished practicing. Besides that we really had nothing on campus that set us aside and the great thing about that is you don't walk out of there thinking somebody owes you something, or looking for somebody to give you something. Everything that you earn in life, you are going to earn in life. That's what they teach you there. When something goes wrong, you can't go pointing fingers at other people. It's all about you.

Q: While you were at Notre Dame how you did find a balance between sports, your studies and community involvement?

Brown: It's just a part of the atmosphere; it's how it is...When I won the Heisman I can remember Jim Nantz interviewing me and he asked some questions. He said, "A lot of people think that because you went to the University of Notre Dame, it helped you get to this position of possibly winning the Heisman Trophy." [They were interviewing the candidates before.] I said to him, "Jim, I didn't go to the University of Notre Dame to win the Heisman Trophy. I went there to get a great education; if it helps me win the Heisman Trophy than that is just icing on top of the cake for me."

Q: What expectations does Notre Dame hold for student-athletes?

Brown: If you are student-athlete at the University of Notre Dame, you are expected to do great things. Not good things, you are expected to do great things. You go to that university because you have all these contacts and all these things that are accessible to you and it's up to you to utilize them in the proper way. The great thing about what the university does, it doesn't put you in a position where you are going to walk away from that place used to people handing you stuff...

Q: Why is giving back important to you?

Brown: You're in a position for a reason...God put you in a position for a reason and you have to give back. I was on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 1996 for athletes and celebrities who had given back. Not for how many touchdowns I've caught, not for the Heisman Trophy, but for celebrities who are doing philanthropic work. I told her, and it's what I say all the time, "At the end of the day I sleep a lot better at night because I know I tried to change somebody's life in a very positive way."

Q: How did you get involved with Athletes and Entertainers for Kids?

Brown: ...I went to a miniature golf tournament for at-risk kids in Southern California and that was it. That was 1992. I took over the next year in '93. We did a couple of miniature golf tournaments and then for the last 18 years we've done [we still count the miniature golf tournaments], but we've done a full golf tournament for 18 years. We expanded from that to 9-1-1 Kids, teaching kids proper use of 911. Then we expanded from that to the Tim Brown Mentor Mini Camp and that's really my baby. The Mentor Mini Camp. That's the one event that I have opportunity to [I have 150 to 175 fatherless boys out there] and I get a chance to really put my hands on them, rub 'em on the head, shoot 'em a couple of elbows and let them know somebody cares for them. It's only one day. I understand that, but we try and hook them up with mentor dads in hopes that those mentor dads will keep in touch with these kids. That's a program that I can't wait for every year because that's the one that, like I said, I really, really feel good about.


Folllowing Flynt - It's Official

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In the crazy world of college football recruiting, it's impossible to trust what you hear, read or see, until the first Wednesday in February.

Only then, do "verbal commitments" actually carry any weight, as players sign their name on the dotted line and letters start pouring into the football office.

Such is the case for most recruits, except the small percentage who decide to enroll early.

As was announced earlier today, Notre Dame has added four players to its roster for the spring semester. For those that follow recruiting, the arrival of two of these student-athletes on campus might come as little surprise. Defensive lineman Sheldon Day and defensive back Tee Shepard expressed their plans to come to Notre Dame several months ago (click their names for their YouTube high school highlight videos).

Day, who is from Indianapolis, was a second-team selection on the SI.com High School All-America team and runner-up for 2011 Indiana Mr. Football award (more on that award later).

Shepard, a Fresno, Calif. native, had to sit out his senior season after transferring high schools, but finished with 10 interceptions in his career and was rated third-best cornerback in his class by Scout.com, as well as the number-36 player nationally by MaxPreps and Tom Lemming.

On Jan. 7, the eventful day in which the Notre Dame men's and women's basketball teams, as well as the hockey team, knocked off top-10 opponents, Irish football fans also learned some big news. Running back Amir Carlisle, a freshman at USC, announced he would be trading Los Angeles for South Bend, enrolling for the spring semester along with Shepard and Day.

But the final addition to Notre Dame's roster is where the story truly gets interesting. Quarterback Gunner Kiel, a Columbus, Ind. native, had twice previously announced his college decision. First, last summer that he would join the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington, and more recently, that he would be heading south for Baton Rouge, La. and the LSU Tigers.

Over the past couple of days, rumors began swirling that Kiel was not on LSU's campus when the rest of Coach Les Miles' early enrollees arrived. In 2012's ever-changing landscape of news and journalism, it was on Twitter (obviously) where the story really took off, with several recruiting sites and college football message boards tweeting that Kiel was in fact having second thoughts about his decision to join the Tigers.

When I woke up today, I saw a report from The Observer, confirming that Kiel would be enrolling at Notre Dame this week. Not to second-guess the credibility of our student newspaper, but I was skeptical of the news. My doubt had nothing to do with the fact that I'm a former Scholastic guy (Notre Dame's student magazine), but rather the reality that the only thing more unpredictable than college football recruiting is Brett Favre's retirement status.

However, upon my arrival at work this morning, it was not long before I saw the Kiel family walking around the halls of the Gug and talking to members of the football staff. Shortly later, director of football media relations Brian Hardin issued a press release on UND.com, and the news was official. It was then that Twitter really started to take off, and only then when I could share the news with the friends and family who have been just as curious as I have over the past 36 hours.

Kiel, one of the nation's top-ranked quarterback recruits, beat out his future teammate (Day) for the 2011 Indiana Mr. Football award chosen by the Indiana Football Coaches Association. He was also named the Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year and he passed for 7,175 yards in his high school career.

Each of these four players brings a different skill set and unique character to the Fighting Irish and only time will tell how Shepard, Day, Carlisle and Kiel will fare during their time at Notre Dame. For better or worse, the pure craziness of Kiel's commitment to Notre Dame will make the 6-foot-4 quarterback an instant celebrity on campus, and more importantly, it adds competition to what should already be a heated quarterback race during spring practice and training camp.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

Timmy!

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Former Notre Dame football player and 2012 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award Honoree Tim Brown shares how his experience as a student-athlete helped developed his passion for serving others.

The Silver Anniversary Awards recognize distinguished former student-athletes on the 25th anniversary of the end of their intercollegiate athletics eligibility.

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