Addition and SubtractionA few house-keeping items of note before heading out to interviews following Notre Dame's fourth of 29 scheduled practices this month.
Philadelphia four-star wide receiver Will Fuller's flip from Penn State pledge to incoming Irish athlete gives head coach Brian Kelly 19 verbal pledges at the outset of August camp. With what Irisheyes.com believes will be a 23-player class for 2013, it appears spots are at premium.
Two defensive linemen and one cornerback would be ideal additions, with the presumed fourth spot open for argument. I'll have more on Fuller's commitment as well as a breakdown of Notre Dame's remaining needs early this week.
Felled by injury: The unfortunate confirmation that redshirt-freshman offensive guard Brad Carrico will not continue his Irish career is a tough pill to swallow for the 2011 early enrollee from Brady Quinn's Dublin, Coffman (Ohio) high school. Carrico struggled through the injury from the outset, gamely trying to fight his way up a young OL depth chart despite the pain.
Said Kelly of the news: "We are in the final stages of getting a medical hardship for him. He's had surgery on his foot. It's not going to allow him to play again. We're waiting on some paperwork on a medical hardship for Brad.
"He's had a pretty complicated foot issue. At first, it was diagnosed, and then we had another diagnosis. I don't know the exact name of the injury, but it's more than just ligament damage. I know this, after the injury, there was more work to be done with the foot. So he may only be in the first stage of that process."
Carrico can remain at the University on scholarship, though not participate in team-related activities. His scholarship does not count against Notre Dame's total going forward.
(Note: The likelihood of a medical hardship scholarship had already been counted in the aforementioned scholarship allotment of 23 players. It's not the official number, its the Irisheyes.com official number, one that assumed medical hardship, transfer, and 5th-year seniors following the 2012 season.)
Always on his mindKelly noted Saturday that his team's maturation and leadership was the best of his three seasons in South Bend, at least at this early stage. The next step for the head coach will be determining team captains -- not an easy task with a handful of candidates.
"We have two leadership entities in our program," said Kelly. "We have a unity council that is a group of peer representatives. Our front row here (pointing to the seats) is all of our seniors. Any one of them could be in a leadership position.
"As it relates to game-day captains versus electing captains, I would say that I'm more inclined in my third year here to elect captains because I know them so much better and they know me. I haven't made that decision final, but to answer your questions, both of those things I'm thinking about every day."
The easy guesses are senior stars and potential All-Americans Manti Te'o and Tyler Eifert. 5th-year senior Jamoris Slaughter is dark horse No. 1 and classmate Braxston Cave isn't far behind. Look for more than two captains for 2012 and as many as five, a number that would match the program-high totals of 2007 and 1995.
Knee-jerk reactionsDon't read into redshirt-freshman Everett Golson's presence with the first team in Saturday's practice report. Kelly noted that it was a reward for work last April: "He had a better spring game in our evaluation, so he got the first shot. Andrew (Hendrix) had a really good practice today, so there's a chance he could be the first tomorrow. I think that's kind of where we are right now. We're so close with those guys."
As well, top newcomer Amir Carlisle took part in his first practice with Notre Dame on Saturday. The USC transfer is eligible to play in 2012 as the result of a waiver from the NCAA, but he remains a touch behind his competitors after breaking his ankle in March.
"He did more than we thought. Rob Hunt, our athletic trainer, made it sound like he was going to limp his way through practice, and he looked pretty good in some team periods," said Kelly. "He's going to help us. He's not there yet. He's still little bit…you can see he's testing the ankle still. There's a little tentativeness to him, but I'm telling you what, when it's straight-line stuff, he's got a burst. He's going to be an exciting player for us. He's not there yet, but he's making good progress."
A 5'11" 185-pound running back, Carlisle played eight games for the Trojans as a true freshman last fall, averaging 6.2 yards per carry on 19 rushes with a 26-yard score included via pass reception vs. Colorado.