While the news of DaVaris Daniels’ departure broke just minutes before Brian Kelly was set to hit the podium, the Irish head coach gave a significant update on his five suspended players during his Tuesday afternoon comments.
Defensive end Ishaq Williams told his head coach that he wouldn’t play during the 2014 season. But Kelly left the door open that Williams might return and finish his eligibility in 2015.
“He would like to be back,” Kelly said of Williams.
Williams returning could be a potentially big development for a defense that is getting by without him, but could certainly use some additional bulk at defensive end. That could set up the Irish defense for an almost ridiculous scenario: If KeiVarae Russell and Williams return, the 2015 defense could basically have 12 returning starters, losing just starter Cody Riggs (and injured captain Austin Collinsworth) from the 2014 defense.
Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, how that all shakes out will be interesting. Pete Sampson at Irish Illustrated reports that the students have received a two-semester ban from school. Realistically, that puts Williams — an early enrollee, who is likely close to receiving his degree — in a situation where he’s likely better off forfeiting this semester, allowing him to return to school in June 2015 for the summer semester.
Right now, a university spokesman has said that all five students are still enrolled at Notre Dame. That flies in the face of what Brian Kelly said Tuesday, when he told BlueandGold.com’s Douglas Farmer that both Russell and Williams will not stay in school this semester.
With a date in Tallahassee far more pressing than the 2015 depth chart, Kelly would be forgiven if he hasn’t exactly finalized his plans for a year from now. But with the suspension news nearly complete, it appears a plan is in place for life after the Honor Code.