At high Noon today Notre Dame head football coach spoke with the media to officially open the 2016 spring practice season. There's a lot of info to be covered so let's get to it. We will embed the FIM video of the presser when it becomes available.
Despite comments to the contrary earlier this year Brandon Wimbush will not be scheduled to redshirt this season and will be part of the competition this spring.
Zaire is fully healthy now and was able to participate in the spring conditioning program. Kelly loves the talent on hand but doesn't see a starter being named after spring. They will not close out any ideas that could help the team win, including using multiple quarterbacks.
Tarean Folston is nearly healthy but won't take much if any contact this spring. Rising sophomore Dexter Williams received very high praise. He's up to 205 pounds and ran a 4.51 in the 40. Kelly called him a force to be dealt with and that he thinks they're loaded at running back.
Justin Brent is still listed here at running back.
Freshman Kevin Stepherson will wear #29 and is 6-0 and 181 pounds.
They've found a nice balance for Hunter as he plays baseball but he will not missing any football during the spring.
The staff is very comfortable with St. Brown at the X receiver spot. But Corey Holmes has been coming on strong with some freakish testing and a 4.39 in the 40. Kelly said they have to find a place for Holmes.
Jacob Matuska has officially moved to tight end and is down to 271 pounds and ran a 4.9 in the 40 during testing.
There has been no decision made yet to move McGlinchey to left tackle. They want to see a healthy Alex Bars and also get a good look at Hunter Bivin before making any decision.
Bars is almost fully cleared for contact but won't be to start practice. He will begin on the inside and may move outside too.
They like Mustipher at center, but redshirt freshman Tristen Hoge just looks really good. He posted a 30 inch vertical, the highest Kelly has seen for a lineman and said he's the most athletic OL he's had since Joe Staley.
Kelly added that incoming top recruit Tommy Kraemer will add intrigue to the depth chart.
John Montelus has moved from offensive guard to defensive tackle.
Freshman Khalid Kareem will wear #53 and comes into spring at 6-3 and 270 pounds. Daelin Hayes will wear #9 and comes in at 6-3, 257 pounds. Hayes will cross train some at linebacker and impressed with a 4.8 time in the 40 with a 30 inch vertical. Due to shoulder surgery he will be no-contact for spring.
Kelly said its a big year for Blankenship and Jay Hayes. When asked about where the pass rush will come from he pretty much named everyone. Group effort!
Both Greer Martini (hand) and Te'von Coney (shoulder) have been ruled out completely for spring.
Rising redshirt freshmen Asmar Bilal and Josh Barajas will be getting a ton of work at both the SAM and WILL positions. The staff likes the versatility of each player. Kelly mentioned Barajas (now at 240) has re-worked his body and ran a 4.76 in the 40.
Nyles Morgan will remain at MIKE where it's his time to shine, per BK. He was applauded for his commitment and the amount of work he's put into his craft. He will get all the reps in the middle this spring.
Kelly is very excited to see the competition between Luke, Crawford, and Watkins during spring camp.
Ashton White has moved from corner to safety.
Freshman Devin Studstill will wear #13 and is listed at 6-0 and 196 pounds. Spencer Perry will wear #31 and comes in at 6-2 and 204 pounds.
Doug Randolph's career is over following a narrowing of the spine injury. He will be placed on medical scholarship and will help the team out as a player assistant.
Jalen Guyton, John Turner, and Nicky Baratti are no longer on the roster. It appears the latter two will be playing somewhere else for a grad season should they choose to do so.
Jeff Quinn has moved from an offensive analyst to the assistant strength and conditioning coach.
Drue Tranquill and Shaun Crawford will get the opportunity to be every-down players.
When asked about the positions where freshmen could have an impact before the season Kelly mentioned offensive line, defensive back, and linebacker.
The program hasn't been happy with the amount of injuries and has looked into several areas of science to try and improve the situation for the future.
Kelly reiterated that scheme wasn't an issue last year. They simplified things for the safeties as much as they could. They've talked with an opponent coach in order to hear someone else scout the Irish defense.
The emerging leaders so far include: McGlinchey, Onwualu, Rochell, Zaire, and Kizer.