UPDATE: Torii Hunter Jr is OUT for Notre Dame against Nevada this weekend.
Brian Kelly updated the media on Thursday and addressed the status of senior wide receiver Torii Hunter who suffered a concussion following a vicious hit in the end-zone against Texas. As of Thursday, Hunter has not yet been cleared, but that status could change on Friday and if it does it’ll be up the Hunter if he’ll play this weekend.
“Torii Hunter will practice tomorrow and then we’ll be able to make a decision on his status after tomorrow,” Brian Kelly said on Thursday.
Just being cleared medically though doesn’t mean he will definitely play this weekend against Nevada. “In all situations we want to do what’s right for them,” Kelly said. “If he’s cleared, it will still be his decision to make. We want to always give our players the opportunity to go through the fundamentals and the protocol if you will.”
Hunter is still going through the protocol and will ultimately decide if he will play if he is cleared by the medical staff.
“If he’s cleared tomorrow, we’ll still make a decision if he’s ready to play. This is still about – even if you’re cleared, are you ready to play? That’s a decision that has yet to be made.”
If Hunter is unable to play on Saturday, Notre Dame will look to junior Corey Holmes and freshman Kevin Stepherson. “You;ll see more Corey Holmes because Torii hasn’t practiced all week and we won’t know his status until after tomorrow. And probably him an KJ (Kevin Stepherson),” Kelly said.
Stepherson filled in for Hunter when Hunter went down against Texas but struggled a bit and needs some more time to develop. Kelly admitted as much on Thursday. “KJ is the one where the most work probably needs to continue,” said Kelly.
Holmes played at the slot in the spring and battled CJ Sanders for the Z position over the summer, but lost out to the dynamic sophomore. Holmes played on the outside earlier in his career however and should be able to fill in for Hunter this weekend if he is unable to play. Given the hit that Hunter took and the level of opponent this weekend, a week of rest – even if he is cleared medically – doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
Avery Sebastian Cleared
6th year senior Avery Sebastian also suffered a concussion against Texas but has already been cleared and will play in some capacity this weekend. Devin Studstill is listed as the starter on the free safety and will get the start against Nevada. Kelly did not elaborate much on what Sebastian’s role will be this weekend.