On Sunday, we learned that wide receiver Braden Lenzy and tight end George Takacs planned on returning to Notre Dame in 2022 while wide receiver Kevin Austin was headed to the NFL. Monday, the roster rollercoaster brought with it more turns as we learned of a couple of returns and a few departures via the transfer portal.
OL Josh Lugg returning for a 6th year
Josh Lugg started 12 games at right tackle for Notre Dame before an injury in bowl practices ended his season, opening the door for Blake Fisher’s return to the starting lineup. With Fisher and fellow freshman Joe Alt looking like a pair of future NFL tackles, Lugg’s return most likely signals a move to guard where he’d compete with freshman Roco Spindler for the starting RG spot. In a worst-case scenario, Lugg returns to his role as super-sub like in 2020. Whatever the role, having someone like Lugg back is excellent from a lockerroom perspective, if nothing else.
S Houston Griffith returning for a 5th year
Last year at this time, Houston Griffith entered the transfer portal and looked like he would finish his career elsewhere. A year later, he’s returning for a 5th season. Griffith collected 38 tackles this year but did not record an interception and is still looking for his first career pick. There’s been some chatter that Notre Dame could dip into the transfer portal for safety help so Griffith could have some competition in the Spring.
CB Caleb Offord to the Transfer Portal
On Monday, sophomore corner Caleb Offord entered the transfer portal after only playing sparingly over the last two seasons. Offord was part of a cornerback class brought in by Todd Lyght that was marred by big misses more than anything else. However, after misses in previous classes, Lyght and Notre Dame went heavy on numbers in 2020 with Offord, Clarence Lewis, Landen Bartleson, and Ramon Henderson. Of the four, Henderson looks like he has the best opportunity for long-term success at the moment after a successful transition to safety.
OT Quinn Carroll to the Transfer Portal
Another departure came via Quinn Carroll entering the transfer portal. Carroll enrolled three years ago as a highly ranked prospect, but an ACL injury early in his career set him back, and he never got back into the mix. He was listed as a backup RT behind Fisher for the Fiesta Bowl, but there wasn’t a clear path to playing time for him with the emergence of Fisher and Alt.
Overall, Notre Dame has seen seven players enter the transfer since the conclusion of the regular season. Brendan Clark, Shayne Simon, and Litchfield Ajavon entered before the Fiesta Bowl, while Offord and Carroll joined linebacker Paul Moala and punter Jay Bramblett in entering after. Only Bramblett was expected to have a major role in 2022, but his departure has long been known to be coming.
Notre Dame is still waiting on decisions from players who would have significant roles in 2022 – most notably center Jarrett Patterson and defensive end Isaiah Foskey. There are more 5th and 6th-year decisions as well, and there are bound to be more entries into the transfer portal over the next few days.