Notre Dame’s crazy off-season of roster movement continued on Tuesday with more transfers and another announcement of a player who could have used the NCAA’s free year of eligibility declaring for the NFL Draft. Today it was cornerback and former NC State transfer Nick McCloud.
There was some hope that since McCloud is not considered a high round pick or one of the top cornerbacks, that he might return to Notre Dame using the NCAA’s free year.
McCloud transferred to Notre Dame in the spring as a grad-transfer from NC State after injuries plagued his time with the Wolfpack. He quickly won a starting cornerback position with the Irish and turned into Notre Dame’s most reliable cornerback this year.
McCloud tallied 22 tackles on the season with an interception and 8 pass breakups. That interception came in Notre Dame’s blowout of Pitt in October.
With McCloud headed to the NFL, one cornerback position is wide open for Notre Dame this spring. The Irish lost junior to be Isaiah Rutherford to the transfer portal earlier this week as well. Clarence Lewis figures to have the other position locked down after a strong freshman campaign even if he struggled a bit in the Rose Bowl against Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith.
Senior TaRiq Bracy, junior Cam Hart, sophomores Caleb Offord and Ramon Henderson, and early enrollees Ryan Barnes and Phillip Riley will all be battling to start opposite Lewis in the spring. Chance Tucker reports to Notre Dame this summer as well. Bracy began the 2020 season in the starting lineup but did not play much down the stretch after being replaced by Lewis.
So far, the only player for Notre Dame who has taken advantage of the NCAA’s free year of eligibility is defensive lineman Kurt Hinish who officially announced his return in hilarious fashion yesterday. There is still optimism that fellow defensive lineman Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa joins Hinish in returning.
Aaron Banks announced he was leaving for the NFL on Sunday while Brock Wright declared for the NFL Draft on Monday.