Brian Kelly’s press conference on Tuesday brought about a handful of roster updates as Notre Dame embarks on its month-long spring practice period.
Defensive end Doug Randolph was forced to end his playing career due to a “narrowing of the spine,” Kelly said, and will move into a role as a student assistant working with the defensive line. He would’ve provided depth at defensive end this year, though, a position that is somewhat lacking in available players. The redshirt sophomore never was able to crack Notre Dame’s defensive rotations since coming to South Bend from Woodberry Forest School in Virginia, the same alma mater of ex-Irish running back C.J. Prosise and linebacker Greer Martini.
Speaking of Martini, he and fellow linebacker Te’von Coney will not participate in spring practice due to injuries, Kelly said.
[SHOP: Get your Notre Dame gear]
Running back Tarean Folston will likely not be a full participant in spring practice as he continues to work his way back from a torn ACL suffered Sept. 5 against Texas.
“He's in all of our drill work,” Kelly said. “I suspect that he'll do quite a bit with us. I don't know if we'll tackle him.”
Offensive lineman Alex Bars, who fractured and dislocated his ankle Oct. 17 against USC, will not be a full participant — but when he returns, Kelly said he’ll start off as a guard.
Cornerback Devin Butler will be a partial participant in spring practice after breaking a bone in his foot a few days before the Fiesta Bowl. Early-enrolling freshman linebacker/defensive end Daelin Hayes will participate in everything but contact portions of practice after undergoing shoulder surgery before arriving on campus in January.
In better injury news, wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown was cleared to be a full participant in spring practice following November shoulder surgery. Quarterback Malik Zaire, too, won’t be held out of anything during the next month.
Kelly didn’t say if cornerback Shaun Crawford and safety Drue Tranquill, who both tore their ACLs last year, will be full participants in spring practice, but did say each defensive back will have an opportunity to win a starting gig.
A handful of position switches were made for the beginning of spring practice, too. Jacob Matuska moves from defensive line to tight end — where Notre Dame only had three players on the depth chart (Durham Smythe, Alize Jones and Nic Weishar) — and John Montelus will flip from offensive line to defensive line. Defensive back Ashton White, who redshirted last year, also will shift from cornerback to safety.
Offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey still may move to left tackle, Kelly said, but no decision has bene made about swapping him from the right to left side of the offensive line.