The Notre Dame off-season was uncharacteristically quiet in 2016. That changed on Wednesday when news broke that sophomore tight end Alize Jones was ruled academically ineligible for the 2016 season and will not take part in any contest for the Irish this fall.
First, here is the release from Notre Dame
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly on sophomore tight end Alizé Jones… pic.twitter.com/IeFwJW64cu
— Michael Bertsch (@SteelersPRMike) August 3, 2016
Shortly after the release, Jones cleared up any ambiguity by stating that he did not live up to his academic requirements in a tweet (see below). The key to note here is that Jones can still practice with the team but won’t be eligible to play suggesting that this isn’t a NCAA eligibility issue but rather a Notre Dame academic issue.
The loss of Jones is obviously big for the Notre Dame offense given Jones’ unique skillset. We’ll have more on the loss of Jones later, but this leaves Notre Dame with just four tight ends – Durham Smythe, Nic Weishar, Tyler Luatua, and converted defensive lineman Jacob Matuska. Only Smthye has scored a touchdown and the group has a combined six career receptions.
Luckily for Notre Dame Luatua decided against the transfer that he had planned on making in the spring otherwise the Irish depth at the position would be tested even more.
This news comes just a few days prior to the start of fall camp and jut a week after Brian Kelly said he was informed that all of the players grades had come back in good shape as they headed home for their last week off before the start of the season.
Earlier this summer Jones was named to the Mackey Award Watch List and his role in the Irish offense in 2016 was one of the more intriguing storylines to watch in camp. Now the story line will be how Notre Dame rejuvenates the tight end position without arguably one of it’s most gifted athletes.
Aliz’e Jones’ Statement re: His Ineligibility in 2016