A few days after safety Avery Sebastian announced his intentions, Notre Dame made the commitment and graduate transfer of the former Cal safety official. Sebastian will enroll in graduate school and join the team in June.
“Avery Sebastian is an experienced and versatile player,” head coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. “He played safety and contributed on every special teams unit over his career at California. Avery gives us some additional depth in the secondary and also brings a work ethic and excitement to compete that will build throughout the team.”
Sebastian played in 33 games over four years at Cal. While injuries shortened his time on the field, they’ve allowed him to save a season of eligibility–he was injured during the season opener in 2013 and missed the rest of the season–continuing his career in South Bend.
A graduate of Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in Georgia, the same school that produced defensive lineman Isaac Rochell, Sebastian was a U.S. Army All-American and a highly touted defensive back prospect when he chose Cal out of high school.
Sebastian had his share of options at several prominent programs before deciding to spend next season with the Irish.
“I’m very thankful to head coach Brian Kelly and the rest of the coaching staff and administration for giving me the opportunity to come play at the University of Notre Dame,” Sebastian said in the statement. “I think academically, spiritually and athletically will make Notre Dame a perfect fit. I’ve got one year to make an impact and I plan on making the most of this opportunity. I look forward to joining the Notre Dame family.
“I’m eager to meet my teammates. Like the coaching staff and players alike, our objective is to field a better product than the year before. My hope is that we field one of college football’s best teams this upcoming year. I’ve got veteran experience in the secondary, and familiarity with multiple defenses and opposing offenses.”
For the second season in a row, Notre Dame has taken a graduate transfer to help with depth in the secondary. While Sebastian doesn’t have the playing experience of Cody Riggs, he’s entering the Irish program at one of the least established positions on the depth chart, capable of competing for playing time immediately.
The Irish coaching staff also thinks they’re infusing a good leader and character player in their locker room, especially important at a position group that’s welcoming two freshmen to the fold this summer.
“Avery will help our football team right away, but more important, he is the type of young man that we want in this program,” Kelly said. “Avery carries himself in a first-class manner, on and off the field. He’s also committed to his academics, graduating from both high school and college in three and a half years, respectively.”
Sebastian joins a safety depth chart that’ll start with Max Redfield and Elijah Shumate. Drue Tranquill (ACL) and Nicky Baratti (shoulder) will be recovering from injury this spring. Matthias Farley has experience at the position as well, but played in the slot last season and freshmen Nicco Fertitta and Mykelti Williams will begin classes this summer.