Will Kelly’s talk with Philly damage recruiting?
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix III capture the emotion of just about everyone who follows the Fighting Irish with a simple tweet: “Didnt see that coming!”
News that coach Brian Kelly had interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles one day after the Irish were thoroughly beaten 42-14 by Alabama in the BCS title game caught just about everyone by surprise.
The job, after all, has not traditionally been a springboard to the NFL and is viewed by many – at least by Notre Dame fans – as a destination job at a deep-pocketed program with one of the most storied histories in college football. And why would anyone leave after coming so close to the national championship?
Nix, who already announced he was skipping the NFL draft and returning to Notre Dame next season, told his followers he wasn’t concerned about Kelly’s interview.
“Im not worried and you shouldnt be either,” he tweeted.
The early reaction from Notre Dame recruits indicated they are still committed to the Irish.
“If Kelly leaves!!!!!,,,,, I’m still a domer S/O to my ND fans,” linebacker Jaylon Smith tweeted.
Cornerback Devin Butler expressed similar feelings, tweeting: “I committed to a program and school.. Not a coach.” He then added: “But I doubt he leaves.”
Still, the interview alone could prove costly. Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports says Notre Dame was on track to possibly have the top recruiting class this year, but said some recruits will get antsy if Kelly doesn’t announce his intention soon. He said other schools probably started calling recruits shortly after the news broke.
“There will be kids looking at other schools now. I don’t see that happening unless Kelly’s telling them he’s not leaving,” Lemming said.
Kelly, who was believed to be out of the country, originally signed a five-year contract three years ago at a reported $2.5 million a year and was given a two-year extension a year ago. Athletic director Jack Swarbrick told reporters Sunday he had planned to talk with Kelly about extending his contract.
Swarbrick did not respond to messages left by The Associated Press at his office or on his cell phone seeking comment.