The reshaping of Notre Dame’s roster could include a unique transfer.
On Monday night Irish Illustrated learned that Navy safety Alohi Gilman will officially visit Notre Dame on Tuesday with his parents after receiving his release from the Naval Academy in the past week. Gilman tweeted that he’d visit Notre Dame earlier in the night.
Gilman posted a game-high 12 tackles during Navy’s upset of Notre Dame last season and finished second in tackles for the Midshipmen on the season with 76 stops.
The 6-foot, 195-pound athlete is a product of Hawaii and spent a year in prep school before enrolling at the Navy Academy in full, starting 12 games as a freshman.
"This did not just come out of the blue. It's something I've been thinking about for a while," Gilman told The Capital’s Bill Wagner last week. "I've spent a lot of time thinking, pondering and praying about this. Ultimately, I feel very comfortable with the decision."
Gilman started at three positions for the Mids last season, both safety positions and cornerback.
A source told Irish Illustrated that Utah and Michigan were likely involved in some degree with Gilman’s next recruitment. However, Notre Dame got the jump on the Hawaii product, who expressed concerns that he was not a fit for the Academy’s military commitment after playing out his eligibility.
If Notre Dame took Gilman it would likely need to shed another scholarship player after the departures of linebacker Josh Barajas and offensive lineman Tristen Hoge and the additions of graduate transfer receivers Freddy Canteen and Cameron Smith. Those roster moves put the Irish at a projected 85 scholarships heading into summer workouts.
Unlike Canteen and Smith, landing Gilman would not help Notre Dame immediately because he would have to sit out a season barring an NCAA appeal. Gilman would then likely have three years to play for Notre Dame at a safety position still under construction. At a minimum, he’d be able to help on special teams with the coverage teams in need of upgrades.
While taking a transfer from Navy, even one who won honorable mention honors in the American Athletic Conference last season as a freshman, appears out of the blue on paper, Gilman should have at least some familiarity with Notre Dame. He graduated from Kahuku High School in Laie, Hawaii two years ago. That’s the same hometown as former Irish All-American Manti Te’o and former Irish wide out Robby Toma. Both played at Punahou High School.
Starting on Tuesday morning, Notre Dame may learn if the Irish can land yet another Hawaiian transplant, but this time they could be taking him from a historic rival via transfer.