Notre Dame’s Jamoris Slaughter was denied his appeal for a 6th year of eligibility on Wednesday bringing about an end to his injury riddled Notre Dame career. Slaughter and Notre Dame had hopes that his appeal would end up in his favor, but those hopes were dashed and now the Irish and Slaughter both need to move forward.
Slaughter tore his Achilles tendon against Michigan State earlier this season and missed the final 9 games of the regular season and the BCS Championship game. He also missed his entire freshman season after being injured in a high school All American game. Those two injuries and lost time were the basis for Slaughter’s request for a 6th year, but unfortunately it was not enough to grant the safety an additional season in South Bend.
Slaughter had the following to say in a statement released by Notre Dame:
I understood that a sixth year was far from a guarantee. It is sad to know that my time at Notre Dame as a football player is complete, but it doesn’t lessen my love for this university and its football program. This decision simply begins the next chapter of my life and I’ll be forever grateful for my coaches, teammates and all the Irish fans that supported me throughout my career.
He also added the following on Twitter:
It's been great ND! Hey you know what they say when one door closes another one opens! #NFLDREAMING
— Jamoris Slaughter™ (@J_Slaughter30) February 13, 2013
And his head coach Brian Kelly added:
I appreciate the NCAA taking the time to thoroughly look into Jamoris’ application for a sixth year. Jamoris is a first-class young man and most importantly leaves Notre Dame with his degree. We wish him all the best as he now pursues his dream of playing in the NFL.
Having Slaughter back would have been a great luxury for an Irish secondary that somehow survived the loss of three starting caliber players in 2012 – Slaughter, Austin Collinsworth, and Lo Wood – given that 2012 senior Zeke Motta is out of eligibility as well. Having Slaughter for one more year would have allowed the Irish to return a set of four one-time starters in the secondary with Matthias Farley entering just his junior year at safety and cornerbacks Bennett Jackson and Keivarae Russell both back as well.
Without Slaughter back, Notre Dame will have some healthy competition at safety heading into the 2013 season with a host of characters ready to challenge for playing time. Notre Dame returns Nicky Baratti, John Turner, Austin Collinsworth, Chris Badger, Elijah Shumate, CJ Prosise, and Eliar Hardy at safety along with Farley. Notre Dame also brought in 5-star prospect Max Redfield in this year’s recruiting class. Of that group, Baratti, Prosise, and Redfield seem the most logical to step in for Motta.
For Slaughter, this brings about a disappointing end to a once promising Notre Dame career. On top of his two major injuries, minor bumps and bruises along plagued the rest of his collegiate career preventing him from ever really reaching his full potential. We saw a glimpse of what Slaughter was capable of when he stole the defensive show in the 2012 Champs Sports Bowl against Florida State, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to carry over that success during the 2012 season due to his injury.
Slaughter was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine last week though and will now focus on his NFL future. Given his injury it seems likely that his best bet heading into the 2013 season will be a undrafted free agent deal, but with his athleticism, he has a good chance to stick as a special teams player at least.