Josh Barajas, a special teams contributor who was unable to crack the linebacker depth chart, has transferred to the FCS-level Illinois State Redbirds. The announcement comes almost three years to the day that the Merriville, Ind. product committed to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
The 6-foot-2, 240 pound athlete has three years of eligibility remaining after redshirting during his freshman season in South Bend. He appeared in nine games last season, exclusively on special teams.
Redbirds Head Coach Brock Spack said Barajas “felt he needed a new start.”
“We felt he would be a great fit for our system and give us a lot of flexibility at the linebacker position as a possible pass rusher,” the coach said in a statement. “He can really play in space outside, but he is athletic enough to play inside or outside for us."
Barajas, a former four-star recruit, was stuck behind senior standout Nyles Morgan and challenged by sophomore Jamir Jones and redshirt freshman Jonathan Jones on the depth chart for middle linebacker.
Barajas turned down offers from the Ohio State Buckeyes, Michigan Wolverines, Penn State Nittany Lions, Oregon Ducks and Tennessee Volunteers. In fact, Barajas was originally committed to play in State College before flipping to the Irish.
Because he’s transferred to a lower division, Barajas is immediately eligible to play. The Irish now have 85 players on scholarship, which is the maximum number allowable.