Oklahoma v Notre Dame

KeiVarae Russell takes to social media to announce his return


If a picture is worth a thousand words, KeiVarae Russell’s most recent post on Instagram is worth plenty more than that. The Notre Dame cornerback, who spent last school year serving a university suspension, has announced his return to the university via Instagram.



While his acceptance to re-enroll has been imminent for a while, Russell making things official solidifies a key component in the Irish secondary. Pairing Russell, an All-American candidate and lock-down cornerback, with rising junior Cole Luke gives the Irish defense a huge boost.

No word officially out of Notre Dame, but with Ishaq Williams heading to South Bend this weekend, the timing is right. So with his academic detour out of the way, Russell now has a summer to make up for lost time with his teammates before officially returning to the field in September.

Williams to return for summer school, football future unclear


Ishaq Williams‘ future at Notre Dame was thrown off course last August, when he and four teammates were caught up in an academic dishonesty case. Nine months later, the defensive end, a projected senior starter in 2014, appears to have some clarity on the school front, though his on-field future is still cloudy.

The South Bend Tribune’s Eric Hansen reports that Williams will be back on campus Monday to begin summer school. That means Williams’ re-admission into the university after a two-semester suspension appears to be complete.

What isn’t as certain is his return to the football field. With Notre Dame’s 85-man scholarship limit pushed to the brink, Williams return to Brian Kelly’s team—or his ability to be qualified academically to play—is still unclear.

While Kelly has spoken clearly about cornerback KeiVarae Russell’s return to both the field and university, Williams’ status is murkier. And without the details of what actually happened last August—student privacy laws and university policy have kept that under lock and key—it’s impossible to know what Williams’ situation actually is.

(Williams could be in a situation similar to the one that DaVaris Daniels reportedly found himself in, wanting to return to the football field, but unable to meet eligibility requirements after grades were adjusted.)

As Kelly himself pointed out in April, summer school could be part of the road back to eligibility, with his role on the team not necessarily solidified until fall camp.

“(There are) things that he’ll have to take care of in the summertime just to get the ball moving for his ability to be reinstated,” Kelly said back in April.

Making things even more interesting is news that Williams could potentially graduate from Notre Dame (something that’d likely take until the end of the fall semester) without playing for the Irish this fall. That scenario was thrown into the mix on Twitter, reportedly coming from a Brian Kelly talk to the ND Club of Miami.

That scenario sounds like it’d be a complete surprise to both Williams and his family. But with Williams’ eligibility clock technically still running last season, he has just this fall to complete his four seasons of on-field play.

The reality of the situation is that there isn’t necessarily a playbook for something this complicated, with too many variables for anything to be set in stone. A bursting-at-the-seams roster, a confusing eligibility situation and the process of readmission are all playing factors.

But getting Williams back on campus is the first step, and after a long layoff, that’s set to happen on Monday.


Come September, all eyes on Yoon

Photo Property of Boston Herald

On Signing Day, nobody wants to talk about the kicker. But come September, Notre Dame’s most important true freshman won’t be a five-star tight end or blue-chip cornerback, but rather kicker Justin Yoon.

With Kyle Brindza graduated, Brian Kelly and the Irish coaching staff are all but turning over the placekicking duties to Yoon. And the true freshman will have no choice but to sink or swim next season.

Our friends at Irish 247 went out to Massachusetts to check on the soon-to-be-enrolled newcomer. And after talking to both Yoon and his former prep coach Kevin MacDonald, lack of preparation won’t be what stops Yoon from succeeding.

“The fact that he practices so hard, he has no reason to doubt himself,” MacDonald told Irish 247. “Every kick he makes he practiced 1,000 times.”

The entire article is worth a read, as Yoon talks about the keys to his success, the concentration he demands and how he looks forward to kicking in front of the 81,000-and-change fans at Notre Dame Stadium.

Here’s video of Yoon’s practice work from earlier this week. After watching Brindza play a draw (right to left ball flight), Yoon looks to work the ball the opposite way.