Notre Dame LB Will Schweitzer to medically retire

On3 imageby:Patrick Engel03/22/23


Will Schweitzer’s Notre Dame career is over after two seasons. His football playing days appear to be finished too.

Schweitzer, a junior-to-be linebacker, is retiring from football due to a non-football medical issue, he announced Wednesday. He appeared in three games as a freshman in 2021, preserving his redshirt. He played 20 combined defensive snaps during Notre Dame’s 2021 wins over Navy and Georgia Tech. He totaled 17 snaps on kickoff coverage and the punt return team vs. Georgia Tech and Stanford. He did not play in the 2022 regular season.

“In September, I suffered a non-football related medical event caused by a congenital heart condition called a PFO,” Schweitzer said in a statement. “By the grace of God, I have made a full recovery. However, after careful consideration with my family, doctors and coaches, we have decided it is best for me to step down from an active player role. I will remain a member of the Notre Dame football family in a supporting role.”

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The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Schweitzer began his career at vyper, but Notre Dame moved him to rover after the 2021 season. He was primarily an off-ball linebacker at Los Gatos (Calif.) High School.

Schweitzer suffered a knee injury in April 2021 that required surgery, though he returned from it in time for the season. He had an undisclosed medical procedure during the 2022 season that kept him out of action, Freeman said.

Notre Dame signed Schweitzer as part of its 2021 class and added him as a mid-year enrollee. He was a three-star recruit and the No. 517 player in the 2021 On3 Consensus. The Irish flipped him from a commitment to Nebraska in August 2020.

Like many 2021 recruits, Schweitzer navigated his decision amid the NCAA’s COVID-19 dead period that banned all in-person contact. The Notre Dame-Schweitzer pairing wasn’t totally sight unseen, though. The last stop former special teams coordinator Brian Polian made while recruiting in January 2020 was Schweitzer’s high school. That familiarity was enough to make Notre Dame think it could take an off-ball linebacker and turn him into an edge player.

“You don’t see him pass rush that much,” Polian said in December 2020, “but his motor was so good. We knew because we had seen him he has length.”

Notre Dame is equipped to withstand a departure at linebacker. Last season’s starters – JD Bertrand, Marist Liufau and Jack Kiser – returned for a fifth year. Those three plus sophomore Prince Kollie comprised the 2022 linebacker rotation.

Behind them, the Irish have two sophomore-to-be linebackers, all of whom saw the field in some manner this year. Jaylen Sneed has appeared in four games, with 39 snaps on defense and 7 tackles. Nolan Ziegler played 9 snaps at the end of the Nov. 19 win over Boston College.

Notre Dame signed three linebackers in its 2023 class, all of whom enrolled in January and are going through spring practice: Merrillville (Ind.) Andrean four-star Drayk Bowen, Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab four-star Jaiden Ausberry and Lawrence (Mass.) Central Catholic three-star Preston Zinter. Bowen is the highest rated of the three, per the On3 Consensus, at No. 88 overall.

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