One of the great questions heading into spring football for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish was at running back. With the departure of Josh Adams, and the removal of Deon McIntosh and C.J. Holmes; the depth chart was looking a little thin. There was still Tony Jones Jr. and Dexter Williams, but after them it was freshman early enrollee, Jahmir Smith — until some moves were made with Jafar Armstrong and Avery Davis.
It was a whole lot of unproven talent being moved to fill a need.
Around that time, most of the rumors and insights into Holmes and McIntosh was that neither would be returning to play for Notre Dame. Both remained enrolled at the school, but by most accounts there was not a path available to them to play for the Irish in 2018.
Holmes was arrersted in December for shoplifting at a local Macy’s (along with former wide receiver Kevin Stepherson). Holmes and Stepherson were indefinitely suspended by Brian Kelly. While the Irish were at the Citrus Bowl preparing to play the LSU Tigers, McIntosh was sent home for a “violation of team rules.” Two weeks after Notre Dame’s incredible bowl victory, the news broke that Kelly was kicking all three players off of the football team (and a fourth was defensive tackle Brandon Tiassum).
Since that time, it has stayed relatively quiet in terms of news about McIntosh and Holmes. Most of us were not expecting either to retun in 2018, but there had not been any concrete news about the two seeking a transfer. Holmes had an Instagram post up about visiting the Penn State Nittany Lions, but it’s also where his sister goes to school.
Now there seems to be some slight change in what most of us were thinking. According to the latest Irish Illustrated Podcast, there has been some noise about McIntosh returning in 2018. They also reported that Notre Dame is “kicking the tires” with C.J. Holmes. It was said that McIntosh would be more likely than Holmes to return, but there now seems to be a path for both.
WHAT COULD THIS ALL MEAN?
Well, it’s probably not post hoc ergo propter hoc. If Notre Dame and Brian Kelly allow one or both running backs to return, it isn’t because they’re reacting to a situation. It’s just what the typical Notre Dame protocol looks like nowadays.
Both would probably be in line for that famous four game unofficial suspension — similar to what Stepherson went through last year. If you believe the rumors about Dexter Williams, this means that Notre Dame could have 3 running backs serving a 4 game suspension to start the year. Those four games are against the Michigan Wolverines, Ball State Cardinals, Vandebilt Commodores, and Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Game number 5 has the Stanford Cardinal coming to town for a prime time matchup.
This could have an effect on the scholarship chart as well. The Irish are already sitting at two over the limit, so adding back one or both puts them over even more (yay math!). If this is all being contemplated by Brian Kelly, then perhaps the moves to be made to get that number down have already been decided.
But that’s for another time.
With summer at our doors, I imagine we will all find out what’s happening here sooner rather than later.
Will C.J. Holmes & Deon McIntosh play for the Irish in 2018?
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