Torii Hunter Jr, Avery Sebastian Injury Updates

Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The status of both Torii Hunter Jr and Avery Sebastian for this weekend’s Nevada game is still up in the air as the two go through the University’s concussion protocol.  As of Monday, Brian Kelly had no further update on either other than they are going through the process.

Torii Hunter Jr was knocked out of Sunday’s game on what appeared to be a clear cut case of targeting in the end-zone.  As Hunter tried to secure a potential touchdown grab he was rocketed in the helmet and neck and had to be helped off the field.  No flag was thrown on the play and replay officials did not replay the hit as they are able to do under new rules this season.

On Monday, Brian Kelly said Notre Dame sent a tape to the ACC Officials and received confirmation that targeting probably should have been called on the play.

Avery Sebastian meanwhile was knocked out of the game in the second overtime attempting to tackle Texas QB Tyrone Swoopes.  The 6th year graduate transfer started in place of Max Redfield who was kicked off the team two weeks ago and struggled in his Notre Dame starting debut prior to the injury.

Considering Notre Dame is working on a short week already after playing Sunday vs. Saturday and since it’s rare for a player to return the next week after a concussion these days, it’s probably safe to assume both will likely be “doubtful” at best this weekend for the home opener.

What if Torii Hunter Is Out This Weekend?

If Hunter can’t play this weekend, the Notre Dame passing game could be in some trouble.  Following Hunter’s departure from the Texas game, the Irish passing attack that had been firing on all cylinders in the third quarter stalled.

Notre Dame inserted true freshman Kevin Stepherson in Hunter’s place and the true frosh simply wasn’t ready for such a prominent role.  In fact, Stepherson struggled so much just with lining up that Equanimeous St. Brown ran up to hit and slapped him to get him in position at one point.

Should Hunter be out this week, Notre Dame’s best bets would be to move Corey Holmes to the outside to start in place of Hunter or move St. Brown over to Hunter’s “X” position and have Miles Boykin start at the W.  Stepherson has great speed and hands, but it was very clear against Texas he wasn’t quite ready for prime time yet.  Holmes as a junior and Boykin as a sophomore should be more than capable of filling in against Nevada.

What if Avery Sebastian is Out This Weekend?

Even if Sebastian is healthy this weekend, he might not be a lock to start.  Sebastian had a rough season opener to say the least with several missed tackles.  Kelly and Brian VanGorder went with the veteran duo of Drue Tranquill and Sebastian because of their experience and steady play.  Neither was steady and neither played well.

By the last drive of the game, Notre Dame was playing two true freshmen at safety – Devin Studstill at strong and Jalen Elliot at free safety.  Should Sebastian be out, Kelly could give Tranquill another chance at strong safety and have Studstill play free where he had been practicing much of the fall or he could role the dice with two true freshmen safeties as he did on the game’s deciding play.

Either way, Notre Dame’s safeties will be a concern moving forward.  For all the talk from the hot air filled likes of Colin Cowherd, kicking Max Redfield off the team was indeed a big deal for Notre Dame as Redfield was the best safety on the Notre Dame roster this year and it showed on Sunday night.

Obviously more on the status of both as we learn more.

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  1. @ Bruce;
    Did Hunter feel the love, or feel the concussion?
    And what was the consequence to Texas of the Texas DB’s targeting?
    “If refs would do their jobs”- a pretty big if – when you’re the home conference’s official in the booth.
    And this Big 12 official failed-miserably.

    Ask Torii Hunter Sr.
    When they throw a baseball at one of your stars, you expect your pitcher to return the favor to protect your players. It’s not about revenge, it’s about the players responding to what TX DB got away with, sending the message that one guy down might lead to one of yours down. If the refs on the field and in the booth won’t protect your players, the players must take the initiative to return the favor. If it results in you sitting out the first half of Nevada, so be it.
    I remember White Sox Mark Buehrle going for a record of consecutive starts of 7+ innings, responding to one of his batters hit by throwing at the first player up the next inning. He didn’t hit him in the head, but he reacted. He was ejected, his consecutive 7+ inning starts was over, but he returned to his dugout having sent a message that needed to be sent that he had his players’ backs, far more relevant than any personal stat he lost.

  2. To Terry, please drop the retaliation stuff. Giving a man a major concussion just to win a game is the act of a coward. Please don’t encourage others to emulate it. If the referees in this country would do their jobs, the problem would diminish and go away. But when they look the other way, they send a loud, clear message of the wrong sort to the young boys who will be playing in the future.

    As for these Jack Tatum and Assassin Atkinson wanabees, their actions will precede them into the pros, if they get there, and their careers will be very, very short.

    Feel the love,
    Bruce G. Curme
    La Crosse, Indiana

  3. Kelly stated his exchange with the refs for the no-call was “heated. ” Only the booth can decide on whether they will review the hit if it isn’t called on the field. But expecting a Big 12 official in the booth @ Texas to have the decency and courage to do the right thing is indeed “whistling in the wind!” Not if he wants to continue to work for -and I do mean for- the Big 12.

  4. After Hunter was targeted, what was Kelly’ reaction? I honestly don’t know.

    More to the point – this happened toward the end of the 3rd quarter – was there any payback? Am I talking about retaliation? I am.

    Notre Dame can be pushed around, and that is not a good message to send to their next 11 opponents.

  5. As this point after years of wear and tear both Sebastian and Tranquill have lost a couple of steps. Neither were flying around playing aggressively. Both freshmen – Studstill and Love are quicker and will hit you. Just have to ignore Vangorder’s idiotic fairy bust scheme and play actual credible football… Ball hawking and hitting. Time to move on to guys with more desire. With these hurry-up offenses, the DBs are in a track meet all night long with no break. So you need a bunch of bodies regardless of their level of learning… must rely on the raw speed and skills.

  6. This is the same douchebag conference, the ACC, that ejected Stephen Tuitt for his tackle against Pittsburgh. Just pathetic.

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