Kelly likes Sebastian’s versatility

Notre Dame made Avery Sebastian’s fifth-year transfer into the program official on Wednesday. Brian Kelly believes the Irish picked up a utility player who can help at safety and on special teams.

A week after Avery Sebastian announced he’d transfer to Notre Dame for his final season of eligibility, the school announced the Cal graduate would enroll with the Irish in June.

Sebastian played in 33 games at Cal and started six times at safety while being dogged by injuries much of the past two seasons. A torn Achilles tendon suffered in the first game of his junior season wiped out that fall and set Sebastian back as a senior when he played in just seven games and finished with 21 tackles.

He finished his Pac-12 career with 96 tackles, three passes defended, two interceptions, two tackles for loss and one forced fumble.

"Avery Sebastian is an experienced and versatile player," said Brian Kelly in a statement. "He played safety and contributed on every special teams unit over his career at California. Avery gives us some additional depth in the secondary and also brings a work ethic and excitement to compete that will build throughout the team.

"Avery will help our football team right away, but more important, he is the type of young man that we want in this program. Avery carries himself in a first-class manner, on and off the field. He's also committed to his academics, graduating from both high school and college in three and a half years, respectively."

Notre Dame’s interest in Sebastian dated back before National Signing Day after the safety made the decision to leave Cal back in December. The former high school teammate of Isaac Rochell spoke with the Irish defensive lineman about his experience at Notre Dame. Sebastian also spoke with last year’s incoming fifth-year transfer Cody Riggs, who became a key part of the secondary at cornerback.

Riggs ended up starting 11 games for the Irish last season. It would be a surprise if Sebastian saw that much time at safety with Max Redfield and Elijah Shumate returning, but playing time will be available in nickel and dime packages with the Irish hurting for bodies at safety.

Redfield and Shumate are Notre Dame’s only healthy safeties heading into spring practice with Drue Tranquill (knee) and Nicky Baratti (shoulder) both returning from injuries. Mykelti Williams and Nicco Fertitta will enroll alongside Sebastian this summer.

Sebastian graduated from Cal with a degree in sociology and hopes to study in the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame.

"I'm very thankful to head coach Brian Kelly and the rest of the coaching staff and administration for giving me the opportunity to come play at the University of Notre Dame," Sebastian said in a statement. "I think academically, spiritually and athletically will make Notre Dame a perfect fit. I've got one year to make an impact and I plan on making the most of this opportunity. I look forward to joining the Notre Dame family.

"I'm eager to meet my teammates. Like the coaching staff and players alike, our objective is to field a better product than the year before. My hope is that we field one of college football's best teams this upcoming year. I've got veteran experience in the secondary, and familiarity with multiple defenses and opposing offenses."


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