Torii Hunter Jr. won’t play against Nevada. The senior wide receiver, concussed against Texas when he was hit in the end zone on a controversial head-high tackle, will sit out the home opener. Brian Kelly made the announcement at Friday evening’s pep rally, multiple outlets reported.
The loss of Hunter removes Notre Dame’s only returning starts at the position before last week. Without him, Brian Kelly will likely call on junior Corey Holmes, who’ll share time at the X position with true freshman Kevin Stepherson. Equanimeous St. Brown and C.J. Sanders are also set to start, each the second of their career.
Kelly talked earlier this week about getting Holmes ready to go, in case Hunter wouldn’t play. Hunter was held the senior captain out of practice with the team’s concussion protocol until Friday, giving Hunter the ultimate decision as to whether he felt up to playing.
Taking another week to get healthy before Michigan State comes to town might be a factor as well. But that didn’t stop Hunter from speaking at the pep rally outside of the Rock on campus.
WNDU’s Angelo Di Carlo caught Hunter’s comments to the home crowd:
“As you all know, I took a pretty big shot last week,” Hunter said at the pep rally. “I took a pretty good shot last week. He caught me slipping. He didn’t want to see me face-to-face. He caught me slipping. I’ll be back. I’m working on it. i’m working on coming back. Just like this team, we got knocked down last week but we are glad to be back in front of the greatest fan base in the United States.”
“We are excited to be back at home and play in front of our home fans and whoop some butt [Saturday] and take some names.”
DeShone Kizer will lead the Irish offense, now working with an entire unit of inexperienced receivers.