Let the annual summer parlor game end: Notre Dame has fallen to the NCAA maximum number of scholarships of 85. Per Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune’s ND Insider, Irish junior defensive tackle Darnell Ewell will take a medical hardship, remaining on scholarship at Notre Dame but no longer a member of the football program.
“He’s had some issues relative to the stress of the game and academics and managing all that’s going on,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly told Hansen. “I can’t get into the specifics of it. He’s staying in school. He’s going to get his degree.”
A consensus four-star prospect out of Virginia, Ewell never appeared in a game for Notre Dame, instead flipping from defensive tackle to offensive guard in October and then back to defensive tackle this spring. A few weeks into that latest move, Kelly perhaps foreshadowed this present issue, acknowledging an injury had kept Ewell from making an impact through three weeks of spring practice.
“We moved Darnell back over there as a big, strong, physical kid, but he was slowed with an injury earlier in spring ball,” Kelly said.
Ewell moving to a medical hardship eliminates any concern of the Irish roster reaching 85 scholarships by Labor Day, but otherwise it should have little effect. Ewell had not forced the coaching staff to consider playing him. To pull from his 99-to-2 entry …
“Injuries would put Ewell on the field this season, but little else might do so. (Early-enrolled freshman Jacob) Lacey is firmly ahead of him, and that gap may expand before Labor Day. As (sophomore Ja’Mion) Franklin returns to health, he will also return to a spot above Ewell in the pecking order, just as he was a year ago upon first arriving at Notre Dame.”