Notebook: Notre Dame's Brian Kelly picks up Stallings Award as honors pour in for Irish

Nd Insider Staff Report
ND Insider

Another day, another national honor for Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly.

On Thursday, the ninth-year Irish head coach was named the Stallings Award winner, presented by Dr Pepper. Since the 2011 season, the award has been presented annually to an NCAA Div. I college football head coach in recognition of humanitarian contributions in addition to achievements on the field.

Since 2008, Kelly and wife Paqui have raised and donated more than $4.6 million to charitable causes through their Kelly Cares Foundation.

On Wednesday, Kelly was named Home Depot Coach of the Year. He picked up the award in Atlanta on Thursday night during ESPN’s awards show.

All-America love for Love

ND junior cornerback Julian Love and senior defensive tackle Jerry Tillery were named first-team All-Americans Thursday by Sports Illustrated.

Irish senior tight end Alizé Mack was named to the second team.

Later Thursday, Love was named to the Walter Camp Foundation All-America first team. That's the first of the big five All-America teams to be released this month that count toward consensus and unanimous All-America honors. The others are those put out by the Associated Press, the  American Football Coaches Association, The Sporting News and the Football Writers Association of America. 

Love lost out on a Thursday sweep, when Georgia cornerback DeAndre Baker was named winner of the Jim Thorpe Award, as the nation’s top defensive back.

Love and LSU cornerback Greedy Williams joined Baker as finalists.

• Garrett Bradbury of NC State on Thursday was named the Rimington Trophy winner, given to the nation’s best center. Notre Dame grad senior captain Sam Mustipher was in the final three considered for the honor.

Gilman in the running

Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman on Thursday made the cut to five finalists for Polynesian College Football Player of the Year.

The other finalists are Iowa defensive end AJ Epenesa, Oklahoma offensive guard Dru Samia, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Hawaii wide receiver John Ursua.

Since 2014, the award has been presented annually to the most outstanding college football player of Polynesian ancestry that epitomizes great ability and integrity. Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley was the 2015 winner.

This year’s winner will be announced next Thursday, Dec. 13.

Williams, Mack in Senior Bowl

Notre Dame running back Dexter Williams and tight end Alizé Mack this week accepted invitations to play in the Senior Bowl, Jan. 26 in Mobile, Ala.

The Senior Bowl, and the practices leading up to the all-star game itself, have long been the premier showcase for NFL Draft hopefuls.

Mack had a fifth-year option to return to ND in 2019 that he’ll leave on the table.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick and Irish coach Brian Kelly celebrate after ND’s 24-17 win over USC, Nov. 24 in Los Angeles.