Tag: Lo Wood

Alex Welch

Report: Welch, Wood will transfer for fifth year


It looks like seniors Alex Welch and Lo Wood are nearing the end of their careers at Notre Dame. The reserve tight end and cornerback are looking to transfer, set to graduate from Notre Dame and play their final season at a different college without restriction.

Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated was the first to report this news over Twitter:

The move makes a ton of sense for both players. For Welch, it gives the 6-foot-3.5, 251-pound tight end a chance to get out from behind Troy Niklas and Ben Koyack. For Wood, he’ll have the opportunity to play somewhere, with freshmen Devin Butler and Cole Luke pushing ahead of him in the depth chart this season and KeiVarae Russell entrenched as a starter

Both Welch and Wood had their Irish careers derailed by untimely injuries. For Welch, a preseason knee injury robbed the Cincinnati native of his opportunity to be the No. 2 tight end last season, forcing Niklas into the lineup.

Wood suffered a similar fate, tearing his Achilles tendon in preseason camp where he was set to start at cornerback, forcing Russell into the starting lineup having never played cornerback. Wood returned this season, but only saw minimal time in the secondary, bouncing between corner and safety.

As we begin to project the 85-man roster and the always delicate fifth-year situation before next year, the potential departure of Welch and Wood from the roster bubble opens up space for additional recruits and other seniors to return.

Sampson predicts Wood will end up at Georgia Tech and that Welch will end up at a program closer to his hometown in Cincinnati. Lst year, seldom-used tight end Jake Golic transferred to the Bearcats before chronic injuries ended his career.

Offseason cheat sheet: Defensive backs

Carlo Calabrese, KeiVarae Russell, Bennett Jackson

When Brian Kelly took over the Notre Dame program, he was tasked with not just rebuilding the secondary, but reloading it. While he was lucky to inherit a front line of talented players, he was left with a depth chart that was frighteningly thin. No position better illustrated that than safety. When Jamoris Slaughter was injured in Kelly’s opening game, the depth chart didn’t go two deep with scholarship players.

My how things have changed. First Kelly reloaded at safety, filling the depth chart with quality prospects. Last cycle he took dead aim at cornerback, adding three talented youngsters. After making it through last season with three first-year starters, all converted offensive players, the secondary should be an equal to the front seven.


Kerry Cooks and Bob Elliott had their hands full last season, forced to get KeiVarae Russell up to speed after spending all summer as a running back-in-training and Bennett Jackson through the season with a bum shoulder. They also had to make the safety position work after losing key reserve Austin Collinsworth before the season started and top shelf starter Jamoris Slaughter in the season’s first month by plugging in Matthias Farley.

The growing pains that we never even saw will pay dividends this season, with Russell, Jackson and Farley all expected to be high level contributors. Fighting for time are returning players expected to play big roles in ’12, like Lo Wood, now back from an achilles injury, and Collinsworth, healthy after back and shoulder ailments.

Youth will immediately challenge to get on the field, namely elite recruits Cole Luke and Max Redfield. Both have already passed veterans on the depth chart, which contributed to the transfer of safety Chris Badger and Josh Atkinson’s move to wide receiver. But even with the attrition, and a season ending injury to Nicky Baratti, depth should be the strength of this group.


Here’s an breakdown of the cornerback and safety personnel:

Bennett Jackson, Sr. #2
KeiVarae Russell, Soph. #6
Lo Wood, Sr. #23
Cole Luke, Fr. #3 (or #36)
Jalen Brown, Jr. #21
Devin Butler, Fr. #12
Josh Atkinson, Jr. #24
Rashad Kinlaw, Fr. #26
Connor Cavalaris, Jr. #47
Joe Romano, Sr. #35
Jesse Bongiovi, Fr. #34

Matthias Farley, Jr. #41
Austin Collinsworth, Sr. #28
Elijah Shumate, Soph. #22
Eilar Hardy, Jr. #4
Max Redfield, Fr. #10
Nicky Baratti, Soph. #29
John Turner, Soph. #31
Eamon McOsker, Soph. #46
Drew Recker, Fr. #39
Ernie Soto, Jr. #43


The two deep in the secondary was probably one of the big surprises of week one. That Cole Luke worked his way into the rotation this early in the season shows you what type of talent the Arizona native brings to South Bend. Kelly plans on using Luke in nickel and dime packages, and likely special teams, as he’ll be wearing No. 36 this Saturday so as not to run into eligibility issues when he and Amir Carlisle are on the field together.

Perhaps also surprising is Eilar Hardy’s ascension into the two-deep at safety. Hardy is listed, not five-star recruit Max Redfield, as a key back-up, perhaps a surprise nearly bigger than Austin Collinsworth beating out Elijah Shumate for the starting safety job opposite Matthias Farley.

Kelly expects Collinsworth and Shumate to both play, calling them 1A and 1B. And while Redfield isn’t in the two deep, that might not be for long, as the Southern California native is too dynamic of a football player to stay off the field for long, but needs to know all the responsibilities heaped on the last line of defense.

With a front seven that’s as dynamic as Notre Dame’s, it’ll be interesting to see what Bob Diaco and Kerry Cooks have in store for the secondary. After last year’s mostly vanilla offerings, there’s every reason to believe that the Irish can mix coverages and feel confident putting their cornerbacks on an island, adding more to an already potent pass rush.

Lo Wood suffers season-ending Achilles injury


Notre Dame’s untested secondary just suffered a major blow this afternoon when Lo Wood, the presumed starter across from Bennett Jackson, suffered a major Achilles tendon injury and will likely be lost for the season.

Wood was lauded by Brian Kelly last week for the great work he’s done during this preseason camp and was going to be counted on to play significant minutes in a secondary that needed to replace three out of four starters.

Injuries have already hurt the secondary, with key contributor Austin Collinsworth likely lost for the majority of the season with a labrum tear. Now Wood, who saw playing time last season and reported to camp bigger, stronger, and faster, will likely miss the season as well.

The injury likely pushes Josh Atkinson into the starting field corner job, a move that many Irish fans assumed would happen during the offseason. Yet Wood had held off Atkinson for much of camp, one of the top surprises of the offseason.

Depth at cornerback is thin and untested for the Irish defense. While Jackson is expected to play well, he’ll be starting his first game during the opener. Atkinson saw playing time last season mostly on special teams.  Sophomore Jalen Brown is untested and sat out last season. Cam McDaniel spent the spring transitioning from offense to cornerback to fill in the depth chart and took snaps as a running back just last week. True freshmen KeiVarae Russell and Elijah Shumate both moved to corner during preseason camp, learning on the fly.

Wood will likely redshirt this season, having two seasons of eligibility remaining. Brian Kelly meets with the media tomorrow at noon, where we’ll find out more.