Notre Dame DT Sheldon Day headed to Jacksonville

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Carol Boyd’s battle cry probably shook the Indianapolis skyline, reverberating in waves from Indiana to the Florida border. Her enthusiasm is as persistent as her son’s motor; every game he played, she was there, and she was yelling.

On Saturday afternoon, Sheldon Day’s three-day wait finally ended. Notre Dame’s 6-foot-2, 285-pound defensive tackle was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 103rd pick in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

If you didn’t see the pick on television, chances are you heard it.

“That’s my baby!” Boyd undoubtedly roared.

In his senior season in South Bend, Boyd’s baby played like a man. Day knifed through offensive lines for 15.5 tackles for loss, the most by any Irish since Derek Landri matched that figure in 2006. He produced 45 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles — all career-highs.

Whether by imploding the interior or rushing around the edge, Day disrupted offenses.

“He does (fit our defensive scheme) because he’s an up-field, penetrating, disruptive player and his game is predicated upon quickness,” Jaguars assistant director of player personnel Andy Dengler said Saturday. “He had 15.5 tackles for loss this year, four sacks, has had a good career in regards to being a three-year starter there.”

Day started 32 games in his four seasons at Notre Dame, including all 13 in 2015. The two-time captain thrived in defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder’s 4-3 scheme — the same scheme he’ll soon adopt in the AFC South, the same division that includes Day's hometown team, the Colts.

“(The scheme) suits me well,” Day said. “It helps me use my explosive get-off. It helps me get up the field, penetrate and create havoc. So the 4-3 suits me well.”

Not so long ago, that get-off netted Day — a Warren Central High School standout — scholarship offers from a wide range of Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Pac-12 schools.

He disregarded flash in favor of academics and family.

“Pretty much everybody in the country (recruited me) but academics is really big to me,” Day said. “I felt like being down at Notre Dame and being around the players, they showed me that family (means) a lot and academics is important and they put academics first there. So it was the best option for me.”

When Day preaches academics, he isn’t simply toeing the company line. Boyd’s baby graduated with a degree in information technology, preparing for a future beyond the NFL.

“I’m the first one in my family to actually graduate college," Day said. "Just to see all the success I’ve had off the field has been tremendous and how much I’ve been able to give to the community. It’s definitely been a blessing.”

First, Day will work to fill a role with the Jacksonville Jaguars. That should primarily be as a defensive tackle, though he also possesses the versatility to occupy the edge.

“I definitely like to move around, show my versatility and get an edge on different types of players that I’m playing against,” Day said. “So moving me around is definitely one of my best attributes.”

“(We drafted him as a) three technique,” Dengler added. “Probably, if he had to crossover, he could play some nose (tackle), but we basically had him as a disruptive player up the field as a three technique.”

Day was Notre Dame’s seventh and final player to be selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, as well as the fourth of five consecutive defensive draft picks by the Jaguars.

Alongside the likes of cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Myles Jack, Day hopes to change Jacksonville’s defensive identity — and give Boyd more reasons to cheer.

“We’re definitely going to try to get after it and change everything about this organization,” Day said, “and try to make us continue to propel forward.”

Shel!!

— Romeo Okwara (@RomeoND45) April 30, 2016

My Boy Sheldon Going To The Jags

— FlexFor6 (@DexterW_22) April 30, 2016

PAD LEVEL, HAND PLACEMENT, FOOTWORK JAGS YOU JUST GOT THE BEST PLAYER IN THE DRAFT. LETS EAT SHELL!!!!!!

— BLESSED ONE (@STAY_TUNED11) April 30, 2016

Lets go! @SheldonDay_91

— Bennett Jackson Jr. (@B_Jax2) April 30, 2016

Congrats @SheldonDay_91#Duval#MyMomIsHypedhttps://t.co/eQ0CIV1VQL

— lOUIS NIX III (@1irishchocolate) April 30, 2016

Sheldon ALL DAY!!! It's been an honor coaching you for four years. I can hear the Auntie Carol cheers from here! pic.twitter.com/jW4XuTcWxv

— Mike Elston (@CoachMikeElston) April 30, 2016

Welcome to #DuvalCounty lil bro @SheldonDay_91#NotreDame#NDinTheNFL

— Jonas Gray (@jgray_ND25) April 30, 2016

The motor that Sheldon is going to bring to the Jaguars is unmatched!#NDinTheNFLpic.twitter.com/78d5Chl5hY

— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) April 30, 2016

Sheldon Day Has a non-stop motor and the heart and skill of a Champion. The Jag's just got better on and off the field. #NDinTheNFL#Momma

— Mike Denbrock (@MikeDenbrock) April 30, 2016

Notre Dame's Sheldon Day (91) tries to get fans to yell on a third down during the first half, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in South Bend. SBT Photo/BECKY MALEWITZ