Football unclear, scholarship set

Ishaq Williams will have a place on Notre Dame’s football team this season. The returning defensive end will also have a scholarship. Beyond that, Brian Kelly is unclear on Williams’ eligibility.

Ishaq Williams will be part of Notre Dame’s football program this fall.

The senior defensive end will also be on scholarship.

And that’s about all Brian Kelly will say on Williams, who was part of last season’s academic misconduct investigation that ensnared Keivarae Russell, DaVaris Daniels, Eilar Hardy and Kendall Moore.

Russell will return to the roster with his eligibility intact. Daniels and Moore both went the undrafted free agent route into the NFL. Hardy transferred to Bowling Green for his final season.

“Every time I use my words it spins it differently,” Kelly said. “I want to be clear. (Williams) is back in school. We’re really excited about that part of it. And I know he’s back in school because he told me. He’s in workouts because I’ve seen him. Those two things I know for sure.

“All the other stuff is NCAA eligibility stuff that is a lot more complicated. It has to do with missed terms and hours and appeals and things like that. A lot more complicated. We’re gonna go through that process. He knows there’s a hill to climb there.”

Williams returned home to New York last fall and did outreach at Bethel Assembly Gospel in Harlem, according to his father, Shaun Williams. The defensive end also did work in the financial sector on Wall Street, while splitting time living with his father in Brooklyn and his mother outside Philadelphia.

He returned to campus for Pro Day in April but did not meet with Kelly.

Shaun Williams said his son is 27 credits from graduation and did not seriously consider transferring for his senior season.

If Williams is deemed ineligible by the NCAA, Kelly said he’d still be welcomed to the scout team. According to Kelly, Williams hopes to play in the NFL after graduating from Notre Dame next May.

“He’s huge. He’s big and looks great and we’re gonna work him out,” Kelly said. “He could practice with us and keep himself in a position where he could go through a Senior Day and do all those things as well.”

Kelly did clarify that Williams would be on scholarship in some capacity this fall, although the particulars are not clear. If Williams is ruled eligible by the NCAA, his scholarship would count against the 85-man limit. If Williams is ruled ineligible, Kelly said Williams would remain on scholarship but that it would not count against the 85-man limit.

“He will be on scholarship,” Kelly said. “I’m not here to paint any pictures whether it’s this chance or that chance. All I know is he’s gonna be back in school and he’s gonna get his degree from Notre Dame. If he plays football, we’ll be ecstatic for him. But the bottom line is he’s gonna get his degree from Notre Dame.”


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