Just 90 minutes before kickoff of today’s Notre Dame – South Florida contest, Notre Dame’s PR department announced that the Irish would be without eight different players, including five starters this afternoon.
Starters include safety Kyle Hamilton, BUCK Shayne Simon, CB Tariq Bracy, and WR Lawrence Keys. Backup BUCK Marist Liufau joined the group as inactive along with RB Jahmir Smith, backup QB Brendon Clark, and DE Ovie Oghoufo.
Notre Dame did not formally announce which of these were COVID related, but it’s safe to assume at least some of them are considering Notre Dame had two positive tests earlier in the week. Hamilton was expected to miss the game anyway, but all of the other seven absences are surprises.
Here’s a quick look at how the loss of each impacts the game.
- Kyle Hamilton – We expected him to be out this afternoon. Notre Dame should be fine with Houston Griffith and Isaiah Pryor filling in.
- Tariq Bracy – This one was unexpected but look for freshman Clarence Lewis to get the nod if the depth chart holds true. Notre Dame could also slide Shaun Crawford back to corner.
- Shayne Simon & Marist Liufau – With their top two BUCKs out, junior Jack Lamb most likely gets the call. Look for Jack Kiser to fill in as well.
- Lawrence Keys – Avery Davis should get more snaps in the slot, but he is also warming up as the 3rd QB with Clark out. Freshman Xavier Watts is the backup but should play a lot.
- Brendon Clark – Hopefully this loss won’t be felt at all since if all goes well, Clark would have only been needed for mop up duty. Freshman Drew Pyne will be Book’s backup.
- Ovie Oghoufo – Expect to see more of Isaiah Foskey and potentially true freshman Jordan Bothelo
- Jahmir Smith – Smith didn’t figure much into last week’s contest and his loss likely won’t be felt with Kyren Williams and Chris Tyree atop the depth chart.