Last week Brian Kelly called Chris Finke the most disrespected player on the Notre Dame football team.
Today it appears the Irish head coach made him a former walk-on.
Based on the social media outpouring for Finke following Monday’s practice, it seems Finke has joined the scholarship ranks and will now stand even with former Archbishop Alter teammates Malik Zaire and Nick Coleman in that department.
While Kelly and Notre Dame’s coaches have been quick to point out that playing time would be sparse for Finke – he’s repping behind C.J. Sanders at slot receiver and punt returner – he’s been as productive as some of the Irish scholarship receivers in camp and beaten plenty of scholarship defensive backs.
Last year Notre Dame put running back Josh Anderson on scholarship by having him model the Shamrock Series uniforms and capturing the moment on video.
Joe Schmidt remains the gold standard of former walk-ons under Kelly, earning a scholarship following a red-shirt freshman season and reserve role as a sophomore. He’d go on to become a two-year starter and team MVP.
Notre Dame also employs a former walk-on in the football offices in Tyler Plantz, who was awarded a scholarship at camp’s conclusion two years ago. He now serves as a football operations intern.
While Max Redfield’s dismissal opened a scholarship, Notre Dame didn’t need the space to reward Finke. The Irish, with Finke on scholarship, now appear to have 83 scholarship players on the roster, two under the NCAA limit.