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Damage control for the Irish

ND looking at damage control.
Posted on Jan. 10, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 10, 2013 at 9:25 a.m.

Three days after Alabama inflicted its BCS damage on Notre Dame, the school is in damage-control.

Wednesday night’s media reports that head coach Brian Kelly interviewed for the vacant Philadelphia Eagles job in the NFL have the college football scene turned upside down again.

Two days before the BCS national championship game, Kelly was asked about the NFL.

“When I took the job at Notre Dame, I think I said it was a dream job,” Kelly said at ND’s BCS Media Day press conference. “But I never went around day to day anything about being the Notre Dame head coach, because the job that I had in hand was what I was thinking about.

“And I think that’s the same thing with the NFL. I think from my perspective I’ve got the best job in the country, NFL, college, high school, whatever. I just look at the place that I’m at and thankful for the opportunity that I have.”

Now, with other high-profile college coaches being linked to NFL searches, Kelly’s name has taken off like a brushfire on Twitter and Facebook. With the No. 1 incoming freshman class, according to ESPN Recruiting, the Fighting Irish are faced with answering a lot of questions in the coming days.

And the first national letter of intent signing date is Feb. 6 and early enrollees hit the campus this weekend. According to ESPN, nine of Notre Dame’s 22 recruits are in the top 150 of the incoming national class, the same as Alabama.

Jaylon Smith of Fort Wayne, a prized ND recruit and the No.2-rated linebacker in the nation, posted on his Twitter account Wednesday night that he’s in for the long haul.

“If Kelly leaves!!!!! ... I’m still a domer (shoutout) to my ND fans,” tweeted Smith, who helped Luers to a fourth straight IHSAA Class 2A state title in November.

Manti Te’o and Theo Riddick lead the seniors who will graduate and coveted tight end Tyler Eifert announced Monday night that he will not return for 2013.

Kelly said that the NFL “is not an option” on Saturday, but he didn’t exactly slame the door closed, either.

“For me to say I’ll never coach in the NFL, I have no idea,’’ he said during an interview session at Sun Lite Stadium. “I’m not trying to be evasive. It’s the truth of the matter. It’s all about timing

“This is the biggest game that I’ve ever been involved in, so my focus is 100 percent on this football game. All that other stuff, that happens when you’re winning football games. I’ve been through this a lot in my career. It’s flattering if there is interest, which I don’t know that there is. But again, that is such a secondary topic for me right now. It’s all about this game.”




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