The news comes as a surprise to many around the program, as Carlisle looked to be a pivotal player for the Trojans in the future. Just two weeks ago, the freshman spoke to SCPlaybook about Matt Barkley returning, and said he was "ecstatic about being a Trojan" and expected to win a national championship next season.
The proximity of Notre Dame to Carlisle's family in Indiana is believed to be the main factor in his transfer decision. Carlisle's dad Duane is the Director of Sports Performance at Purdue University and previously served as the head of strength and conditioning for the San Francisco 49ers. The drive from South Bend to West Layfayette is about 2.5 hours, approximately the same distance driving from the San Fernando Valley to San Diego, Calif.
The 5-10, 186-pound Carlisle will have to sit out a year per NCAA transfer guidelines, but a nagging knee injury led many to believe he wouldn't be back to full strength for some time anyway.
Carlisle was the Trojans' fourth-best rusher in 2011. After being sidelined by a high-ankle sprain for the first three games of the season, Carlisle played in all the Trojans' remaining games except Arizona. But in eight games, he only carried the ball 19 times for 123 yards. He was also utilized as a pass-catcher and caught one touchdown in the Colorado game.
USC granted Carlisle's release on Friday, according to the South Bend Tribune who first reported the story. Carlisle will be a big contribution to the Fighting Irish as either a slot receiver or tailback. By 2013, the Notre Dame will be without receiver Theo Riddick and possibly Cierre Wood, the team's leading rusher. For the Trojans, Carlisle's transfer opens up one more scholarship to help the Trojans who have a maximum number of 75 permissible scholarships, as mandated by the NCAA-sanctions administered in 2010.