Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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58 MARCH 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY LOU SOMOGYI When Notre Dame began the second semester of its 2019-20 academic year Jan. 13, 88 football players were on scholarship, including 17 recruits who signed in December (eight of whom enrolled in January). That's three beyond the NCAA limit of 85, but the number inevitably will be whittled down by August in various ways. • Two of the scholarships currently belong to former walk-ons, current senior running back Mick Assaf and junior center Colin Grunhard, with the understanding that it is for the spring and summer. If room remains and if Assaf returns for a fifth season, they could still be on scholarship next fall. • Potentially, a player or two could transfer at the end of spring, a la quar- terback Phil Jurkovec leaving to go to Boston College in January. • Medical hardships that end a player's football career allow the school to honor the grant-in-aid through a general fund, which then frees up a football scholarship. Defensive lineman Darnell Ewell was an example last year. Below is the breakdown by position with years of remaining eligibility de- noted in parentheses. Class year is defined by their academic year when the fall semester begins in August 2020. Quarterbacks (3) Fifth-Year Senior — Ian Book (1 year of eligibility remaining) Senior — None Junior — None Sophomore — Brendon Clark (4) Freshman — Drew Pyne (4) Note: The gap between third-year starter Book and the next two classes is because of shifting senior Avery Davis first to defense and then running back last year, while junior Phil Jurkovec transferred. Running Backs (7) Fifth-Year Senior — Mick Assaf (1) Seniors — Jafar Armstrong (2) and Avery Davis (2) Juniors — C'Bo Flemister (3) and Jahmir Smith (3) Sophomore — Kyren Williams (4) Freshman — Chris Tyree (4) Note: Armstrong returns with the most career rushing yards at 505, with 383 as a sophomore and 122 as a junior in 2019. Smith's 180 rushing yards last year were the most in 2019 among returning players. Wide Receivers (12) Fifth-Year Seniors — Javon McKinley (1) and Bennett Skowronek (1) Senior — Isaiah Robertson (2) Juniors — Kevin Austin (3), Micah Jones (3), Lawrence Keys III (3), Braden Lenzy (3) and Joe Wilkins (3) Sophomore — Kendall Abdur-Rahman (4) Freshmen — Jay Brunelle (4), Jordan Johnson (4) and Xavier Watts (4) Notes: Skowronek is a graduate transfer from Northwestern who caught 110 passes in his career with the Wildcats before taking a medical redshirt as a senior in 2019. McKinley returning for a fifth season is uncertain. Keys has the most career receptions (13) in a Notre Dame uniform among returning wideouts, all accumulated last year. Austin was suspended in 2019, but practiced with the team. Brunelle underwent recent shoulder surgery. Tight Ends (5) Senior — Brock Wright (1) Juniors — George Takacs (3) and Tommy Tremble (3) Sophomore — None Freshmen — Kevin Bauman (4) and Michael Mayer (4) Note: Cole Kmet bypassed his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. Tremble last year finished with 16 catches for 183 yards and four touchdowns. Tackles (7) Fifth-Year Senior — Liam Eichenberg (1) Seniors — Robert Hainsey (1) and Josh Lugg (2) Junior — Cole Mabry (3) Sophomores — Quinn Carroll (4) and Andrew Kristofic (4) Freshman — Tosh Baker (4) Note: Eichenberg has started all 26 games at left tackle the past two years, while 2019 co-captain Hainsey started the first eight last season before get- ting injured, leading to Lugg starting the last five at right tackle. Guards/Centers (9) Fifth-Year Senior — Tommy Kraemer (1) Seniors — Aaron Banks (2), Colin Grunhard (2) and Dillan Gibbons (2) Juniors — Jarrett Patterson (3) and John Dirksen (3) Sophomores — Zeke Correll (4) and John Olmstead (4) Freshman — Michael Carmody (4) Notes: Kraemer started the first seven games at right guard in 2019 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Banks at left guard and Patterson at center made all 13 starts last year. Running back Jafar Armstrong returns for his senior season with the most career yards rushing on the team (505), but will be looking to improve upon an injury-plagued junior campaign. PHOTO BY MIKE MILLER 2020 Scholarship Breakdown By Position And Class

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