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Founder, The Sports Court
Ian Book is just an undersized, three-star recruit, from El Dorado Hills that clawed and scraped his way to become Notre Dame’s all-time win leader and left South Bend as a legend.
Book, who led Notre Dame to two college football semifinals appearances, was picked up by Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints with the 133rd overall pick in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
After weeks of being on the practice squad, Book finally got called up to the active 53 man roster when injuries and COVID occurred to the Saints. New Orleans’ main man at the QB spot, Jameis Winston tore his ACL to start the season, then after leading the team to a respectable 7-7 record, QB pair Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill were both placed on the IR/COVID reserve list.
The next man in the pecking order is none other than Ian Book and he’s been given the green light to start in his first NFL game on Monday Night Football against the red hot Miami Dolphins led by Tua Tagovailoa.
Tua, who has had a resurgence in his second year, has led Miami to 6 straight wins. Meanwhile, the Saints are coming off of a 9-0 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in one of the most obscure games of the year.
Book will have a tall task to handle as Miami possess a good secondary who will be sure to try to trick Ian Book into making mistakes.
Luckily for the Saints, and unfortunately for the Dolphins, Book was known at Notre Dame for his good progressions and ability to escape the rush, two things vital in today's NFL game. Book’s speedy wheels and improvisation skills will come in handy in his first NFL game.
In addition to the quick feet of Ian Book, Sean Payton will make sure to have his running backs in Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram ready for lots of touches on Monday Night.
Miami has the seventh-best rushing defense in the league, so the Saints' offensive line will have some work to do to make sure that the players behind them can exploit holes and win the football game.
Book is filled with confidence and excitement heading into his NFL start, and the kid who was never supposed to make it is ready for his time to shine on Monday Night lights with America watching on.
CHRIS' THOUGHTS: I've seen every single second of Ian Book playing football from the time he stepped in at Notre Dame and made a miracle happen in the Music City Bowl. Book's toughness, leadership, and athleticism will do him well at the NFL level.
I expect Book to have a good game and make prove the many haters wrong. Book has all the tools to be a successful NFL quarterback, whether as a starter or reliable backup that hasn't been determined yet, but this game on Monday night is his chance, who are trying to get a Wild Card spot, that he's their guy.
And I believe he will.
Founder, The Sports Court
They came, they saw, the conquered: The legacy of Kyle Hamilton and Kyren Williams.
Kyle Hamilton and Kyren Williams walked into South Bend, Indiana as 4 and 3-star recruits, respectively.
The pair became two of the most explosive players in Notre Dame history, Hamilton lighting up on the defensive side of the game while Williams dominated on offense. The two now leave Notre Dame as potential first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Hamilton, who is considered a future top 10 pick and the best safety in the draft, spent his freshman season as a backup to Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliot. Despite being the backup, Hamilton still managed to record 41 tackles, 4 interruptions, and a touchdown.
It was in his sophomore year when Hamilton made his name known around the college football world. The kid from Atlanta recorded 63 tackles, 1 interception, and impressed Notre Dame fans with his versatility. Hamilton was anywhere and everywhere on the field.
Although Hamilton’s junior season was cut short due to an ankle injury in October, the highly touted recruit still managed to record 3 interceptions including two against Florida State, including an interception where Hamilton managed to run across the field from side to side to grab the interception.
Meanwhile, Kyren William’s quickness and consistency have been unmatched in his three years at Notre Dame. In his sophomore and junior season, Williams has tallied over 2,000 combined rushing yards and a total of 27 touchdowns.
Williams is also an efficient pass catcher, having 300+ yard receiving seasons the past two years.
Williams, ranked the fourth-best back in the nation by Mel Kiper, and second by TSC’s NFL Draft Player Rankings, has one of the quickest first steps and the ability to catch passes that NFL scouts crave for.
The two players, both captains as a junior, have both declared for the 2022 NFL Draft and will forgo the Fiesta Bowl. This also means the two will never have played a game under Marcus Freeman as a head coach.
Hamilton and Williams were integral pieces in Notre Dame’s College Football Playoff Appearance last season and have left their mark in Notre Dame history forever.
Notre Dame has adjusted to life without Kyle Hamilton, as he hasn’t played since October. However, the loss of Kyren Williams will be huge and the former fastest high school player in the nation, Chris Tyree, will have big shoes to fill for the Blue and Gold.
The impact the pair has made on the program is immense and now Marcus Freeman and co will have to adjust to life without two of their stars and the two foregoing the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State will put a dent in Notre Dame’s chances of winning.
CHRIS’ thoughts: As mentioned in the article, Kyle Hamilton has been out with an injury since October, so his impact of leaving won’t be felt as much as Kyren Williams’.
However, Chris Tyree is a star, and he will finally get the chance has been patiently waiting for since coming to South Bend. Tyree has learned from one of the very best to do it in Williams and he will have to have a big game against Oklahoma State.
While Notre Dame’s betting chances of winning will most likely go down, I still favor Notre Dame in this game. I predict the Irish will come away from Glendale with a win, 36-27.
Founder, The Sports Court
It’s the most electric atmosphere that Subaru Park has seen all year as Philadelphia Union play New York City Football Club.
The Union, plagued with a COVID-19 outbreak that have seen 11 players get placed on the COVID list. These players combined for a total of 17,312 minutes of total play throughout the season.
Yet, despite the lack of experience on the pitch, Philadelphia came out of the gates strong.
New York City FC knocked the ball around well however their chances remained dim. Meanwhile, Philadelphia made the most of their short time on the ball and generated the greater amount of chances amongst the two sides.
Andre Blake’s slipup when he massed into the middle was the biggest chance for either team during the first half. Union stepped up and won the ball, however a bad bounce went right into the hands of the Jamaican international.
As the second half rolled around, both teams finally settled into the game and the inexperienced Union fought hard, pressed high, and were able to win the ball in midfield multiple times.
Jose Martinez had a big showing, nearly going coast to coast only four minutes into the second half. Following that chance, the Union had a surge of momentum, and Andre Blake had to come up big on multiple occasions for NYCFC in order to keep them in the game.
The inexperienced, ‘B team’, had a chip on their shoulders and it was evident, NYCFC were not ready for the intense style of play that Philly had to offer.
Then, in the 60th minute, Kacper Pryzbylko scored a volley goal off of a lovely chip that put the Union B team 1-0 up. Shockwaves were sent around the stadium, Subaru Park was so loud you could feel the ground shaking as yellow towels were waving in all four sections of the stadium.
Union fans were on cloud 9, quite loudly in fact.
However, all good things must come to an end, and only two minutes later, NYCFC equalized and sent the game to 1-1 off of a second ball chance inside the box.
Just like that, all you could hear in the stadium were the scarce NYCFC corners in the back left of the stadium.
After that, the game was all NYCFC.
The Union had their chances, however all were either saved or went over the bar.
Then, in the 87th minute, NYCFC took the ball downfield on a counter attack and then the 19 year old Brazilian for NYCFC, a player that is seen as part of the next generation of not just the MLS, but soccer as whole, none other than Talles Magno, tapped in a cross that saw NYCFC take a 2-1 lead.
The crowd went silent once again as Union players layed on the ground, exhausted and mentally worn from knowing that the goal put a major dent in their chances of an MLS Cup, and they were right.
The final whistle blew soon after and as Philly mourned, NCYFC ran to the away section to celebrate with their supporters. Their celebration was long, energetic, and most importantly, a first. This Eastern Confernece Final win marked NYCFC’s first trophy as a club.
After the game, Union manager, Jim Curtin, talked about the impact the COVID protocols had on his team “I feel awful for the 11 players at home who were healthy and couln’t play tonight.”
Many Union fans critized Curtin for waiting until the final minutes to put in his subisitues, however, on the other hand, some fans argue he didn’t have many options.
Overall, the Union fell short yet again of their dream and goal of the MLS Cup, but with bright young talent such as Paxten Aaronson and Jack McGylnn, it’s looking very likely that they will bounce right back up next year.
As for NYCFC, they will travel to Portland, Oregon, for the MLS Cup Final where they will play the hottest team in the MLS, the Portland Timbers.
A writer who loves to learn and share.
All Editorials written by Chris Dailey