For the second time this summer, an early-enrollee won’t be suiting up for the Irish this fall.
Both IrishSportsDaily.com and IrishIllustrated.com report that safety Chris Badger will embark on a two-year religious mission beginning in August, putting off both school and football for two years. Badger joins cornerback Spencer Boyd as freshman who left the Irish roster before ever suiting up for a game.
Both ISD and II got confirmation from family members of Badger, with Irish Illustrated getting the quote of record:
“(Chris) talked to coach Kelly and Chris said he was extremely
supportive about it,” Troy Badger said to IrishIllustrated.com. “He really thought that it would
be a great experience for him and allow Chris to develop physically and
maturity-wise and be able to come back. From my perspective in talking
to Chris is there wasn’t a question of whether or not his sport would be
The loss of Badger for two seasons isn’t a gigantic one with safeties Jamoris Slaughter and Harrison Smith set to start and Zeke Motta and Dan McCarthy filling out the two-deep, but the loss makes the depth at safety perilously thin.
While word is that the Irish plan to start incoming freshman Austin Collinsworth at wide receiver, this might be the move that forces Collinsworth to the defensive side of the ball, if only to see the field quicker and provide some depth.
If you’re looking for some next level analysis on this, you’ve got to think that some wires were crossed in the recruiting process this year with the coaching transition, because the Irish lost their first two early-entry recruits since they instituted the practice with Chris Stewart, James Aldridge and George West back in 2006. While Boyd was more a product of poor luck and personal issues (and he’s now headed home to play at South Florida after it was rumored he was going to West Virginia), you’ve got to think that Badger didn’t just spring the idea of a mission on the coaching staff in the last few months.