Where former Notre Dame football players landed via NCAA transfer portal

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Where former Notre Dame football players landed via NCAA transfer portal

Tyler Horka01/18/22
Article written by:Tyler HorkaTyler Horka

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brendon clark notre dame
Former Notre Dame quarterback Brendon Clark rushes for a gain against New Mexico in 2019. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

There’s a new normal in college football, and it has affected Notre Dame.

The odds a player signing with a program out of high school and finishing his career at that institution have decreased over the years. It’s easier for players to seek what they deem to be greener pastures for playing time elsewhere. That’s just the way it is. Notre Dame isn’t immune to it either.

And it’s not always a matter of getting on the field but rather finding a more palatable situation overall. Look no further than former All-American safety Brandon Joseph transferring from Northwestern to Notre Dame earlier this month. Joseph wasn’t getting taken off the field for anybody in
Evanston. He said he just wanted to be a part of the rich history of the blue and gold. Thus, the NCAA transfer portal came calling.

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Nine former Notre Dame football players from the 2021 roster entered their names in the transfer portal over the last few months. Seven of them have found new homes. Here are those players and where they’ll be suiting up next season.

QB Brendon Clark

Recruiting profile: Three-star, Manchester (Va.) Midlothian HS, class of 2019

Notre Dame statistics: 2-of-4, 29 yards, one touchdown; six rushes, 29 yards

Eligibility remaining: Three years

Destination: Old Dominion

BlueandGold.com says: Clark was constantly getting lost on the depth chart, and the ACL injury he sustained in high school and a re-aggravation of that ailment at Notre Dame didn’t help his chances of ever ascending to the starting role. Clark was not in a position to compete for playing time ahead of the likes of Tyler Buchner and Drew Pyne let alone Ian Book and Jack Coan. If he’s healthy, though, he could contend for the starting job at Old Dominion.

WR Lawrence Keys III

Recruiting profile: Four-star, New Orleans (La.) McDonogh 35 HS, class of 2018

Notre Dame statistics: 18 catches, 185 yards; six rushes, 45 yards

Eligibility remaining: Two years

Destination: Tulane

BlueandGold.com says: It’s interesting that Keys III didn’t see a path for playing time at Notre Dame. He elected to depart the program after just one game in 2021. With the attrition that occurred within the wide receiver room, he would have likely had the opportunity to earn snaps as the year wore on. He’s be in a position to get snaps in 2022, too, with just eight scholarship wide receivers on the roster — including recently promoted walk-on Matt Salerno. Instead, he’ll continue his career much closer to home.

S Khari Gee

Recruiting profile: Three-star, Atlanta (Ga.) Woodward Academy, class of 2021

Notre Dame statistics: n/a

Eligibility remaining: Four years

Destination: Georgia Tech

BlueandGold.com says: Gee didn’t log a defensive snap in his lone season at Notre Dame. The Irish have a couple talented safeties waiting in the wings behind Joseph and returning seniors DJ Brown and Houston Griffith. Rising juniors Ramon Henderson and Xavier Watts were ahead of Gee on the depth chart, so like Keys III he decided to find a new home in his own neck of the woods.

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S Litchfield Ajavon

Recruiting profile: Four-star, Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal HS, class of 2019

Notre Dame statistics: One tackle

Eligibility remaining: Three years

Destination: Undecided

BlueandGold.com says: A fan favorite because of his “Litch In The Field” preseason social media videos, Ajavon only played eight defensive snaps in three seasons with the program. He arrived as the No. 26 safety nationally per the On3 Consensus, but he never panned out on the field in blue in gold. He ran into the same problem as Gee in getting stuck behind a mixture of young and experienced players at the safety position.

LB Shayne Simon

Recruiting profile: Four-star, Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peters Prep, class of 2018

Notre Dame statistics: 26 tackles, three tackles for loss, five passes defended

Eligibility remaining: Two years

Destination: Pittsburgh

BlueandGold.com says: Simon could have been a valuable piece for Notre Dame at linebacker this past season with Marist Liufau suffering a season-ending injury in fall camp, but Simon endured the same fate in the season-opener at Florida State. Two of Notre Dame’s three starting linebackers from a season ago are returning, and Bo Bauer is returning for a fifth season to slide into the role left behind by Drew White. Simon chose to seek a starting slot at a program on the rise in Pitt.

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OL Quinn Carroll

Recruiting profile: Four-star, Minneapolis (Minn.) Edina HS, class of 2019

Notre Dame statistics: 16 games played, zero starts

Eligibility remaining: Three years

Destination: Minnesota

BlueandGold.com says: Theoretically, Notre Dame already has its starting five offensive linemen for 2022; sophomore left tackle Joe Alt, senior left guard Andrew Kristofic, senior center Jarrett Patterson, senior right guard Josh Lugg and sophomore right tackle Blake Fisher. Surely, Carroll could find a spot to be a backup to any of the guards and tackles. But is that really what the former No. 1 recruit in the state of Minnesota wants to do? Instead, he’ll return to the Twin Cities and try to start for his home state team.

Notre Dame offensive lineman Quinn Carroll
Former Notre Dame offensive lineman Quinn Carroll landed at Minnesota via the NCAA transfer portal. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

LB Paul Moala

Recruiting profile: Three-star, Mishawaka (Ind.) Penn HS, class of 2018

Notre Dame statistics: 22 tackles, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one touchdown

Eligibility remaining: Two years

Destination: Undecided

BlueandGold.com says: The local product tore his achilles twice while at Notre Dame. Both times the injuries occurred while playing against Florida State in 2020 and 2021. Like Simon, Moala didn’t have a chance to carve out a role in the Notre Dame linebackers corps while he was sidelined. He has yet to choose a new school as of Jan. 18.

Notre Dame punter Jay Bramblett LSU
Former Notre Dame punter Jay Bramblett reunited with Brian Kelly at LSU via the NCAA transfer portal. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

P Jay Bramblett

Recruiting profile: Three-star, Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Hillcrest HS, class of 2019

Notre Dame statistics: 164 punts, 41.4 yards per punt, 72-yard career long

Eligibility remaining: Two years

Destination: LSU

BlueandGold.com says: The three-year starter is so far the only former Notre Dame player to follow former head coach Brian Kelly to the bayou. Of course, Bramblett is getting much closer to home in doing so. That is a recurring theme among the players on this list. Bramblett was a key starter for the Irish, and he’s in line to be replaced by incoming three-star freshman Bryce McFerson.

CB Caleb Offord

Recruiting profile: Three-star, South Haven (Miss.) HS, class of 2020

Notre Dame statistics: 10 defensive snaps

Eligibility remaining: Four years

Destination: Buffalo

BlueandGold.com says: With the COVID-19 waiver from the 2020 season and a redshirt year in 2021, Offord had time to wait out current cornerback starters Cam Hart and Clarence Lewis. Notre Dame isn’t particularly deep at the position, either, but sometimes patience is at a premium for players in this era of college football.