SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Notre Dame’s already-thin secondary got a lot thinner in Arizona, as junior safety Max Redfield was sent home Tuesday due to a violation of team rules and junior cornerback Devin Butler suffered a broken left foot in practice Monday. Both players will miss the Fiesta Bowl New Year’s Day against Ohio State.
Redfield, a former five-star recruit who played in and started 11 games this fall, was third on Notre Dame with 64 tackles and added two tackles for a loss, one sack, one interception and two pass break-ups. He addressed his suspension in an Instagram post Tuesday night:
"Rules are implemented for a reason and not following them is unacceptable, which I completely understand. Although I was not alone in my 2 incidents of being punctual, I SOLELY take responsibility for my actions. I will continue to grow and learn from this as well as continue to contemplate how to become the absolute best version of me while giving everything I have to make it happen daily. My heart goes out to everyone who is effected or has to hear about this incident to whatever extent. The focus and dedication needed to be great is being better comprehended by me everyday and this situation only helps the realization of exactly what it takes to be the best...what hurts the most is not being able to be with my teammates and not getting to lay everything on the line with some of the people I love the most. I am profoundly sorry."
He’ll likely be replaced in Notre Dame’s starting lineup by graduate student captain Matthias Farley, and with sophomore Drue Tranquill and graduate student Avery Sebastian injured, Notre Dame doesn’t have much depth behind its two starting safeties (Farley and senior Elijah Shumate).
Senior Nicky Baratti and freshman Nicco Fertitta likely would be the first men in off the bench, as Notre Dame probably won’t burn freshman Mykelti Williams’ redshirt for the Fiesta Bowl.
Butler will be replaced by sophomore Nick Watkins and freshman Nick Coleman opposite junior Cole Luke. Butler started against Stanford after senior KeiVarae Russell fractured his leg the week before against Boston College and notched two pass break-ups in a dozen games in 2015.
Coach Brian Kelly said earlier this month Watkins was playing with more confidence in practice, which would be promising for a guy who wasn’t the team’s first choice to replace Russell.
The injury/lost player news wasn’t all bad for Notre Dame on Tuesday, though. Redshirt junior running back C.J. Prosise (high ankle sprain) was in pads and working with the first-team offense during Tuesday’s practice, while redshirt junior nose guard Jarron Jones (torn MCL) continues to progress toward making his 2015 season season debut on Friday.