While his name won’t move the needle like the previous defensive graduate assistant, Brian Kelly has decided to bring former Cincinnati Bearcat linebacker and graduate assistant Jon Carpenter to Notre Dame to fill a similar role.
Carpenter spoke with his hometown newspaper, the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette after the move was determined, and he was in high spirits.
“It’s something that’s unbelievable to me,” Carpenter told the paper as he drove to South Bend to start his new job. “It’s truly an honor, and I’m going to make the most of it.”
While Bryant Young’s name obviously rings a little clearer to Irish fans, Carpenter has pretty strong ties to the NFL as well. His father, Rob, played 11 seasons in the NFL, and his older brother Bobby was a first-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys after an All-Big Ten career at Ohio State.
Carpenter was a three-time All-Big East All-Academic selection, played on both sides of the ball during his time as a player, and was a key special teams contributor as a player. He made the transition from player to graduate assistant right after his playing career was over, and his familiarity with a coaching staff filled with former Bearcat coaches will help him blend in immediately.
“It’s a whole new team and a whole new program,” Carpenter said. “But a lot of coaches are still the coaches I’m familiar with, which will make the transition easier. All these coaches he brought with him are great coaches. To be able to continue to work with them is an honor.”
Carpenter’s father is the head coach at Lancaster High School, where all four of his sons played and signed Division I scholarships. It’s another strong tie to the state of Ohio for the Notre Dame staff, where they are committed to recruiting hard.