Former Notre Dame offensive lineman chooses his next career destination

On3 imageby:Kyle Kelly05/13/23


A former Notre Dame football player has found a new home. On Saturday, former Fighting Irish offensive tackle Caleb Johnson announced his commitment to Southern Methodist.

Johnson spent two seasons with the Notre Dame football program. At the start of 2023 spring practice, head coach Marcus Freeman said Johnson was no longer a part of the program. The 6-foot-7, 295-pound Johnson entered the transfer portal on April 19.

Johnson only appeared in one game during his Fighting Irish career. He saw action in Notre Dame’s 38-27 loss to Southern California on Nov. 26. Johnson opted to redshirt during the 2021 season and will have three years of eligibility remaining at SMU.

A product of Ocala (Fla.) Trinity Catholic High, Johnson was an On3 Industry Ranking — a proprietary algorithm that compiles ratings and rankings from all four primary recruiting media services — four-star recruit. He finished the 2021 cycle as the No. 344 overall player, No. 29 offensive tackle and No. 49 prospect in Florida. He had a 90 rating. 

Johnson moved to Florida from Fort Wayne, Ind., before his high school sophomore year. His father, Aaron, was a Ball State offensive lineman. The elder Johnson saw pro stints in the NFL (Kansas City Chiefs practice squad), the Arena Football League and NFL Europe.

Johnson’s On3 NIL Valuation is $38,000. That mark ranks 2,916 among college football players. 

Notre Dame has 17 scholarship offensive linemen entering the 2023 season.

A review of Notre Dame’s transfer portal activity

Johnson is the eighth former Fighting Irish football player to enter the transfer portal since the start of the 2022 season and commit to a new program.

Over the last seven months, the following Notre Dame football players have gone elsewhere: defensive tackle Jacob Lacey (Oklahoma), wide receiver Joe Wilkins Jr. (Miami of Ohio), quarterback Drew Pyne (Arizona State), cornerback Jayden Bellamy (Syracuse), defensive end Osita Ekwonu (Charlotte), tight end Cane Berrong (Coastal Carolina), wide receiver/cornerback Lorenzo Styles (Ohio State) and quarterback Tyler Buchner (Alabama).

Running back Logan Diggs, linebacker Prince Kollie and long snapper Alex Peitch also entered the transfer portal this offseason. However, they have yet to choose where to continue their college career.

In the transfer portal, Notre Dame added quarterback Sam Hartman (Wake Forest), defensive lineman Javontae Jean-Baptiste (Ohio State), defensive back Thomas Harper (Oklahoma State), kicker Spencer Shrader and wide receiver Kaleb Smith (Virginia Tech).

Smith announced he retired from football last month. Meanwhile, former Irish football players safety Justin Walters, linebacker Will Schweitzer and quarterback Ron Powlus III are no longer with the team after medically retiring. Kicker Josh Bryan and cornerback Philip Riley left the team.

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