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Isaiah Foskey forgoes the NFL for another year, will return to Notre Dame in 2022

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Oklahoma State v Notre Dame

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01: Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) is sacred by Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey (7) during the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl college football bowl game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Oklahoma State Cowboys on January 1, 2022 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Notre Dame player with the toughest stay-or-go decision will return to South Bend in 2022. Junior defensive end Isaiah Foskey could very well have been a second- or third-round pick in this spring’s NFL draft, but he will instead have a chance to chase some long-standing Irish records.

Foskey announced his decision Saturday, completing an impressive week for defensive line coach Mike Elston, successfully recruiting senior end Justin Ademilola, senior tackle Jayson Ademilola and now Foskey to all play one more season for Notre Dame.

Foskey finished 2021 with 11 sacks, including one in the Fiesta Bowl, the third-most in a season in Irish history. Even late in the season, he professed an ignorance of the all-time record, set by Justin Tuck in 2004, of 13.5 in a season. In 2022, that number will assuredly be cited repeatedly.

If Foskey merely manages double-digit sacks again next year, he will set the Notre Dame record for career sacks. He has 15.5 to date, only nine behind Tuck’s mark of 24.5.

With Foskey returning, the Irish will bring back a deep and veteran defensive line, increasingly the most consistent and most talented unit on the roster, despite losing two multi-year starters and captains in Kurt Hinish and Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa.

Foskey had 52 tackles in 2021, fourth on Notre Dame’s defense, including 12.5 for loss, and he forced six fumbles, tied for the most in the country. The fumble he forced late in the Fiesta Bowl gave the Irish a momentary stay of embarrassment, but it only delayed the end result of a second-half collapse.

NFL-bound with eligibility remaining: Safety Kyle Hamilton, running back Kyren Williams, receiver Kevin Austin.Returning after pondering the NFL: Receiver Braden Lenzy, safety Houston Griffith, offensive lineman Josh Lugg, defensive end Justin Ademilola, defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola, safety DJ Brown, defensive end Isaiah Foskey.Expected to transfer out: Safety Khari Gee, linebacker Shayne Simon, punter Jay Bramblett, linebacker Paul Moala, offensive lineman Quinn Carroll, cornerback Caleb Offord.

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