Former Notre Dame offensive lineman Bruce Heggie will play out his eligibility at Ball State. One of Brian Kelly’s most “noteworthy” recruits, Heggie played sparingly in South Bend, but will have a chance to compete for Pete Lembo’s Cardinal squad.
He joins Alex Welch, Lo Wood and Andrew Hendrix as fifth year players finishing their career at a MAC program, with the aforementioned trio playing for Chuck Martin at Miami (Ohio).
Heggie finished at Notre Dame as a reserve center, playing in four games, mostly on special teams. He played in five other games between 2011-12, shifting from the defensive line to the offensive side of the ball. At Ball State, Heggie is expected to return to the defensive front. He’ll join junior college transfer Julian Jackson as added depth on the line.
“We are pleased to welcome Bruce and Julian to the Ball State football family,” Lembo said in a statement. “It has been a real pleasure getting to know both young men and their families over the last several months. Both of these student-athletes are here because they really liked how they fit in with our players and coaches when they visited the campus. They are also excited about the academic opportunities the university has to offer. The addition of two mature defensive linemen should increase the competition for playing time and our depth when preseason camp begins in late July.”
Heggie will forever be known as the recruit Brian Kelly plucked out of obscurity, offering a scholarship to the Mount Dora, Florida native when no other program had come calling. A profile prospect, Kelly liked the frame and power potential that Heggie projected, and while the offer and commitment had Irish fans scratching their heads, Heggie provided depth the past four seasons and will finish his college career as a 6-foot-5, 275-pounder.
Heggie follows in little-used defensive lineman Brandon Newman’s footsteps, who also played out his eligibility at Ball State. Former Irish SID Brian Hardin is now an associate athletic director at Ball State, potentially another key connection between the programs.
Even though he practiced with Notre Dame during fall camp, Chris Badger will be suiting up for BYU this season, the NCAA decided. Badger was granted immediate eligibility today and will suit up for the Cougars against in-state rival Utah this weekend.
Badger was a redshirt safety for the Irish last season, not seeing the field after spending two seasons away from the game while on his Mormon Mission. Badger enrolled early at Notre Dame during the spring of 2010, the first practices Brian Kelly coached for the Irish before deciding to leave school.
BYU will face Notre Dame later this season, making for the very unique situation where Badger will be playing against the team he was a part of just a few short months earlier. Relatively buried on the safety depth chart for the Irish, Badger transferred home to Provo to be closer to his ailing mother in late August.
Safety Chris Badger is no longer a part of Notre Dame’s football program. Per a report from Jake Brown of IrishIllustrated.com, the reserve safety has left the program and plans to enroll at BYU.
The Provo, Utah native was originally recruited by Charlie Weis, enrolled early for spring practice then went on a two-year Mormon mission. He returned to the program last summer and did not play last season, saving a year of eligibility.
Per Jay Drew, the BYU beat writer for the Salt Lake Tribune, Badger will attempt to gain immediate eligibility this season. Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune adds that the appeal will hinge on the health of Badger’s mother, who is ill and unable to travel. (BYU is in Badger’s hometown.)
The Irish depth chart looked ominous for Badger, who was buried deep behind some talented safeties. When Badger enrolled early in South Bend, there was no two-deep depth chart to speak of, with Badger joining a position group that included only Dan McCarthy, Harrison Smith, Jamoris Slaughter and Zeke Motta as returning scholarship players. Compare that to today, where the Irish opened camp with eight scholarship safeties, with Badger at or near the bottom of that group.
BYU starts classes on Tuesday. If the NCAA allows Badger to play this season, it’ll create the unique circumstance of having a player go through all of training camp with a team that he’ll compete against later that season.