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Sep 13, 2010

Film Review: The Atkinsons

In addition to sustaining ND's recruiting presence in California, Sunday commitments from twin brothers Josh Atkinson and George Atkinson III provided a bright spot a day after Saturday's painful loss.

Josh is a prep running back and cornerback, and he definitely projects as a corner in college. Josh compensates a lack of elite speed and burst with a smooth backpedal, 6-0 size, and press coverage technique, as shown in his junior highlights. He is comfortable defending WRs man to man with no help. While Josh uses his frame to jam WRs at the line, he wasn't as strong a tackler as I expected. Luckily, ND defensive backs coach Chuck Martin seems to be able teach sound tackling. Fellow commit Jalen Brown is a more ready-made option at this stage, but Josh can also play early, and he gives ND the benefit of sliding Eilar Hardy or Matthias Farley to safety.

While Josh meets a specific skill and dramatic need, George has 'big skill' versatility. In his run-heavy film, George receives hand-offs both as a tailback and a WR in motion. The frequency of end arounds and sweeps clouds George's value as a college RB. Opposing teams in the highlights didn't challenge George to do much other than get to the corner and take off. Given that the style George played in high school will rarely work in college, the tape is more entertaining than evaluative, such as when George breaks 4 tackles at the 1:56 mark:

Nonetheless, credit George for top-shelf speed (10.59 100 meters) and fluidity. He is less polished as a WR than as a back, but that's a product of his high school's basic passing attack. Long arms, a slender 6-2 frame, and ability to get downfield make George an outside receiver instead of a tailback in college. He is a game breaker and a constant threat for YAC chunks. Atkinson's open-field ability will challenge the Wood-Riddick return duo from day one.

Atkinson III is a playmaker more in the mold of Golden Tate than Michael Floyd. Like Tate, this all-around athlete with a high ceiling might take a year learning the system and the position. However, Kelly has been unsatisfied with the WR corps he inherited and has played only 4 true WRs, including Theo Riddick, for 3 spots. Floyd's possible early exit could make George a freshman starter. Although he has neither of TJ Jones' built-in advantages (playing in a high school spread and enrolling early to get acclimated to BK's work volume), George is probably more athletic than Jones. His impact is only a matter of time, and he's a future star in Kelly's offense.

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2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule

2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule
DateOpponent / EventLocationTime / Result
09/01/12vs. Navy Dublin, IrelandW, 50-10
09/08/12vs. PurdontNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-17
09/15/12at SpartyEast Lansing, Mich.W, 20-3
09/22/12vs. SkunkbearsNotre Dame, Ind.W, 13-6
Shamrock Series
10/06/12vs. Da UChicago, Ill.W, 41-3
10/13/12vs. TreesNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-13 (OT)
10/20/12vs. BYU Notre Dame, Ind.W, 17-14
10/27/12at Oklahoma Norman, Okla.W, 30-13
11/03/12vs. Pittsburgh Notre Dame, Ind.W, 29-26 (3OT)
11/10/12at Backup College Chestnut Hill, Mass.W, 21-6
11/17/12vs. Fake Worest Notre Dame, Ind.W, 38-0
11/24/12at U$C Los Angeles, Calif.W, 22-13
1/7/13vs. AlabamaBCS CHAMPIONSHIP
(Miami, Florida)
L, :(