Well, the offseason has been quite the whirlwind, not just for Notre Dame, but for all of college football. Colorado has had over 20 players enter the transfer portal. Texas A&M about the same. And programs across the country are in flux, with the new nature of the college football landscape and NIL money and immediate transfer eligibility.
The Fighting Irish have been no different in being impacted by the transfer portal. First, it was experienced and once-promising wide receiver turned cornerback Lorenzo Styles, who had long been rumored/connected to Ohio State, as his brother plays for the Buckeyes. Then, linebacker Prince Kollie, who had a monster game in the Irish’s November 2022 upset of top 10 Clemson, entered the portal.
After the spring game, in which quarterback Sam Hartman outplayed Tyler Buchner, Buchner was next to enter the portal and has since transferred to Alabama, where he will, apparently, compete for the starting job with Bama’s two incumbent quarterbacks and where he joins former Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.
The latest somewhat surprising, but not shocking, transfer is veteran running back Logan Diggs, who announced just yesterday that he is entering the portal after not suiting up for the spring game due to injury. Diggs was one of the top returning backs for the Irish, but the Irish have a full and potent running back room with junior Audric Estime, redshirt freshmen Gi-Bran Payne and Jadarian Price, and incoming top recruit Jeremiyah Love, who has top-level speed.
Former running back senior Chris Tyree has converted to wide receiver.
What do we make of all of the transfers, especially such top recruits from the 2021 class? Is there cause for alarm?
There will be turnover in today’s college football, especially considering the new rules regarding transferring and NIL money. Some players won’t wait around for playing time or won’t wait around if it is evident in the offseason that they have been passed by younger players. Some will leave for bigger NIL money.
However, the Irish have loads of offensive weapons – even if the running back room is young. The Irish have so many receivers, returning experience, and explosive freshmen, not to mention sophomore Tobias Merriweather, that Styles was converted to cornerback in the spring before his portal entry. Hartman has Heisman contender potential and showed flashes of brilliance in the spring game, even without some of his main weapons.
While it may be difficult for some Irish fans to watch Buchner join Rees at Alabama, there is no guarantee he will win the starting job, and even if he does, the Irish are in good hands with Hartman and current backups Steve Angeli and Kenny Minchey, who have both shown throughout the spring that they have grasped the offense and are talented.
The Irish did just receive a commitment from four-star receiver Isiah Canion and still have five-star Cam Williams committed for next year’s class.
It’s a new world out there, but the Irish will be just fine.