A special Mass of Remembrance has been planned for Notre Dame junior Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old from Long Grove, Ill., who died while filming practice for the athletic department.
University president Rev. John Jenkins will preside over Mass, which will begin at 10 p.m. in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. He also sent an email to the entire student body Wednesday night.
“No words can convey the shock and grief we all are experiencing. Declan was a well-liked, bright and enthusiastic film and marketing student and a valued member of the Notre Dame family. His death is a tremendous loss that will be felt very deeply and we share in your grief during this incredibly difficult time,” Jenkins said.
Head football coach Brian Kelly also released a statement on the passing of Declan:
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Declan’s family and friends. Declan was a diligent student worker in our video department and had a tremendous personality and great sense of humor. He brightened the days for all that had the privilege to work with him, and the Notre Dame football family will dearly miss him.”
While the cause of the accident is being investigated, Sullivan was atop a hydraulic scissorlift when the incident occurred, and winds were gusting well over 50 mph. He was transported to Memorial Hospital in South Bend where he later died.
With rain falling and the forecast expecting much more, Notre Dame and Clemson are kicking off in primetime anyway.
College GameDay was on campus this morning, showcasing the soggy conditions and the mud-covered campus. And while some wondered whether or not the kickoff would move up to earlier in the day to take advantage of a slight lull in the conditions, kickoff is remaining at 8:22 p.m.
“We’ve been in constant communication with state and local law enforcement and have monitored weather throughout the week and today,” director of athletics Dan Radakovich said in a statement Friday night. “I’ve spoken with campus leaders, State Highway Patrol, and Governor Nikki Haley, and feel confident we can play the game as scheduled. We ask our fans to be conscientious arriving and departing from our campus as we will have some limitations due to this ongoing weather event.”
Ball security will be key this evening, and during an interview with Tom Rinaldi this morning Kelly mentioned the punting and kick game as concerns in these conditions. The Irish came to Clemson prepared for miserable conditions and if the forecast holds, they’ll get just that.
Notre Dame’s tight end recruiting keeps rolling. The Irish received a commitment from Illinois tight end Cole Kmet, who adds a third piece to Notre Dame’s 2017 recruiting class.
Kmet is a 6-foot-4, 230-pounder, joining fellow blue-chipper 2017 tight end Brock Wright in next year’s recruiting class (they won’t sign until February 2017). He had early offers from plenty of the top programs around the country, but picked Notre Dame over finalist Ohio State, a nice recruiting victory for Scott Booker and Brian Kelly.
Kmet talked about the decision with Irish 247 who broke the news:
“I think it was just a gut feeling knowing it was Notre Dame,” Kmet to Irish 247. “I didn’t want to pass on playing for that program and attending that university. It’s always been the school I wanted an offer from and Ohio State made it really close, but I just couldn’t pass on Notre Dame.”