Notre Dame Football: Brian Kelly Shoots Down Jordan Botelho Eligibility Rumors

There was some growing speculation over the last week or so that sophomore defensive end Jordan Botelho could have some sort of eligibility or off the field issue. Brian Kelly was quick to shoot them down at the start of his press conference to kick off the fall camp on Saturday.

“Yeah, there was some kind of rumor that he wasn’t cleared to play, and that hasn’t been the case,” Kelly said when asked directly about Botelho’s status with the team and NCAA very early into his presser.

Kelly acted almost surprised that rumors ever even started in the first place. “Look, rumors start. Somebody thought something happened that didn’t happen. We’ve had those happen before,” Kelly said.

When asked if he expected Botelho to play in every game this year, Kelly was pretty clear, “Yes.”

“Look, if somebody is off the team, we’re going to tell you. We’re going to let you know,” Kelly added. “If somebody is not playing for Notre Dame, we’re going to let you know. We’re not going to hide that from you.”

Botelho was at practice today as a full participant.

The speculation started because another outlet not so indirectly let the rumors out when it would have been pretty easy to avoid them. So for more than a week or so a college sophomore had his name rumored about and speculated over when it turns out according to his head coach – who probably knows more than any of the outlets – he is cleared and he expects him to play in every game.

Kelly’s response regarding Botelho was very different than his responses with regard to players like Kevin Austin and Dexter Williams in the past when they had their off-field issues that led to suspensions and missed games. With Williams and Austin in recent years, Kelly was much more vague in his responses and would talk about traits and working their way onto the field. He was direct in addressing whatever situation occurred that led to the rumors.

“If there’s something with academics, I can’t comment on it; know what I mean? But this isn’t an academic situation. This isn’t a drug testing policy situation,” Kelly said. “So I don’t know where this came from, to be quite frank with you. He’s cleared to play and compete. I don’t know how else to answer the question.”

Not only is that pretty clear, but it also leaves Kelly almost no outs in the event that there is something behind the scenes that he can’t discuss due to privacy laws. He struck down the idea of there being any academic issue or any issue related to a failed drug test and said he’s cleared to play.

Hopefully, that means that we can put this fully in the rear-view and focus on what Botelho could do on the field this year because he will be counted on quite in a bit in the defensive end rotation.

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