Eilar Hardy will play his final season of college football elsewhere.
The senior safety has been granted his release by Notre Dame, freeing Hardy to speak with other schools about a possible fifth-year transfer and immediate eligibility next fall. Hardy is on track to graduate from Notre Dame this spring. Once he completes his degree he’ll be able to play at another university this season.
Hardy’s father, Bill Hardy, told Irish Illustrated that his son was looking at Bowling Green, Miami of Ohio, Purdue and Connecticut, although that list could expand.
Miami and Connecticut have Notre Dame connections through head coaches Chuck Martin and Bob Diaco, both of whom coached Hardy in South Bend.
Hardy is a former high school teammate with Bowling Green wide receiver Roger Lewis.
Hardy’s transfer had been expected since last season after he was suspended for the season’s first eight games after being caught up in the school’s academic misconduct investigation. Keivarae Russell, Ishaq Williams, Kendall Moore and DaVaris Daniels were all suspended during training camp, with Hardy suspended less than 48 hours before the season opener.
Hardy returned against Arizona State and played a reserve role for the season’s final five games. The other four players were suspended for the year. Russell and Williams have told head coach Brian Kelly that they plan to return. Moore is out of eligibility and Daniels recently declared for the NFL Draft.
It’s unclear if Hardy could have returned to Notre Dame for his fifth year, although it’s believed the coaching staff would have invited him back. The Irish enter spring practice with just two healthy safeties in Max Redfield and Elijah Shumate with a third, freshman Drue Tranquill, recovering from a torn ACL.
Hardy finishes his Notre Dame career with just 15 games played, 35 tackles and one tackle for loss. His only two career starts came against Pittsburgh and BYU during the 2013 season.