Hegarty plans transfer

Matt Hegarty revealed Wednesday plans to leave Notre Dame after graduation this spring in hopes of finding more football opportunity. Notre Dame still returns four starters from the group that defeated LSU in the Music City Bowl.

Matt Hegarty plans to finish his college career somewhere other than Notre Dame.

Hegarty, a former four-star offensive line prospect from Aztec, N.M., revealed the news Wednesday via statement to ESPN.com. He started 11 games for the Irish last season at either center or guard and is expected to graduate this spring.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that the Notre Dame football program has afforded me,” Hegarty told ESPN.com. “I want to thank Notre Dame, my coaches, my teammates and friends at school for the four great years I had at Notre Dame. I also want to thank the Notre Dame Nation for all of their support over the years. My focus has been to pour myself into everything I have done at ND. I have worked hard and have always done everything that was asked of me. Recently my coaches informed me that they wanted me to change positions. They also explained that with many younger players in the wings, they wanted to develop them more heavily in the rotation — a need that I understand and appreciate.

“Unfortunately, I have already had to miss a precious amount of football battling back from my stroke, and I value every rep and opportunity going into my final year of college ball that much more. My goal is to contribute this season, continue to develop my skills and pursue my dream of playing in the NFL. Because of this goal, I have asked for a transfer to play at another school where I can contribute more on the field. Notre Dame has amassed formidable depth on the o-line and have many very talented players to fill all positions.

“So I wish everyone at ND the best this year and especially to my 15 brothers on the offensive line as they prepare for the 2015 season.”

Hegarty would be eligible immediately at the college program of his choosing as a graduate transfer.

Notre Dame returns all but one starter on the offensive line with Ronnie Stanley at left tackle, Mike McGlinchey at right tackle plus Steve Elmer and Nick Martin as guard. Hegarty started at center against LSU in the Music City Bowl, although Martin has also played that position

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