Max Redfield‘s disappointing junior season will end on a fitting note. Notre Dame’s starting safety was sent home after violating a team rule in Arizona, leaving the Irish without another defensive starter against Ohio State.
Brian Kelly announced the news Tuesday, a move that’ll likely force fifth-year defensive back Matthias Farley into the starting lineup one last time in his final collegiate game. Kelly also revealed that junior Devin Butler broke his foot during Monday’s practice, taking another projected starter out of the Fiesta Bowl lineup. Sophomore Nick Watkins will make his first start at cornerback, the third starter at the position after KeiVarae Russell‘s broken leg.
Redfield’s season started off with promise. After playing a strong Music City Bowl against LSU to end the 2014 season, the former 5-star recruit was named to Phil Steele’s first-team preseason All-American team and he played well against Texas. But Redfield tried to play through an early-season broken hand that might have contributed to some poor play, as he took limited snaps against UMass, Navy and USC before playing nearly every snap to close out the season.
Redfield is expected back in 2016, a projected starter along with Cole Luke in the secondary. There is no timetable yet on Butler’s foot injury.
UPDATE: Redfield released the following statement on Instagram:
Ezekiel Elliott had an eventful departure day to Arizona. The star Ohio State running back was the at-fault driver in a car crash in Columbus, where he was cited for driving under suspension, driving without a license and failure to control after a crash around 1:30 in the afternoon on Sunday.
“He was the at-fault driver,” Columbus Police spokesman Denise Alex-Bouzounis told the Columbus Dispatch.
NBCSports.com’s Craig Calcaterra broke the news Monday morning, a tipster filling him in on the events that seemed to put the star running back’s final college game into jeopardy. But an Ohio State spokesman quickly ended that speculation, with the running back’s status for participation unchanged.
The Buckeyes are already without starting defensive tackle Adolphus Washington, who was suspended for the Fiesta Bowl after being arrested for soliciting an undercover police office posing as a prostitute. That charge is a first-degree misdemeanor, subject to similar penalties under Ohio law as Elliott’s violations, Calcaterra points out.
Eleven Warriors has done the digging into what likely got Elliott’s license suspended in the first place—an unpaid speeding ticket and a failure to show up at court. Those fairly innocent mistakes have snowballed into another somewhat embarrassing situation for Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, especially considering his more than dubious history of handing out punishments to his star players. Meyer has yet to discuss the incident.
Fiesta Bowl game week is finally here.
To give us an early look at some of the key matchups as Notre Dame and Ohio State prepare to face off, Cris and Austin Collinsworth hop into the PFF Studio and talk about some of the serious star power that’ll be on the field in Phoenix.
Notre Dame’s recruiting class grew to 21 on Christmas Eve, as South Carolina defensive back Troy Pride Jr. committed to the Irish on Thursday afternoon. Picking Notre Dame over offers from South Carolina, North Carolina, Clemson, Tennessee, Ole Miss and a previous commitment to Virginia Tech, Pride Jr. is the seventh defensive back in the class, closing up a position group that was a point of emphasis in this cycle.
Pride took to Twitter today to make the move official.
The six-foot, 170-pound coverman visited Notre Dame in mid-October, taking his official visit to watch the Irish beat USC. After walking away from his commitment to the Hokies, Pride kicked the tires on multiple schools—with a late offer by Clemson piquing Pride’s interest—before ultimately deciding to take the last defensive back spot in the class. He has no plans to make any other visits.
“That was why I took my time with the process,” Pride told Tom Loy of Irish 247. “I wanted to end it when I made my commitment. I took my time, thought about everything, and realized that my future is at the University of Notre Dame.”
Pride will take part in the Shrine Bowl before signing with the Irish in February.
Running back C.J. Prosise is on pace to play in the Fiesta Bowl. Brian Kelly updated the local media on Wednesday and revealed that the team’s leading rusher was a non-contact participant in the team’s final two practices in South Bend.
“He is getting better. I think he’s probably at the point where I think when we get to Arizona, we will be able to pick him up and accelerate him to contact situations,” Kelly said.
Notre Dame’s players and coaches will take a break for the Christmas holiday before reuniting in Scottsdale for Fiesta Bowl preparations. Having Prosise available would add another versatile weapon to the Irish’s offensive attack. Yet while Kelly’s updates from head trainer Rob Hunt appear as if everything is on track for Prosise’s return, it isn’t hard to figure out that there are still some lingering issues for Notre Dame’s 1,000-yard rusher.
“I think we will have to push him into a threshold of feeling confident in cutting and things of that nature,” Kelly explained. “He’s had enough time to be where we need him to be and we just have to get him over that hump of feeling like structurally he could do something. I think by the time we get into next week, we should have a really good feel of where he is.”
Confidence is a key to Prosise’s game. After getting off to a fast start, the second half of Prosise’s season was derailed by injuries. Held to a season-low of just 25 yards on 14 carries against Temple, Prosise suffered a concussion and a shoulder injury against Pittsburgh that kept him off the field against Wake Forest.
While Prosise returned against Boston College and was averaging over seven yards a carry in the first half (most came on a 31-yard gain), he looked tentative running against the Eagles even before he wrenched his ankle. He was held out of the Stanford game, where freshman Josh Adams ran for 168 yards and DeShone Kizer added 128 on 16 carries.