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Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 17 Isaiah Robertson, junior receiver

Isaiah Robertson

Listed Measurements: 6-foot-1 ½, 202 pounds.2019-20 year, eligibility: A junior, Robertson has two seasons of eligibility remaining, including 2019.Depth chart: After his first spring as a receiver, Robertson remains fourth among the boundary targets, behind senior Chase Claypool, sophomore Kevin Austin and senior Javon McKinley, presumably in that order.Recruiting: Sought as a safety, and the No. 18 safety in the class, per, the No. 202 overall player chose Notre Dame over Wisconsin, Penn State and Vanderbilt.

Contrary to his positional-journeying thus far, Robertson looked the part of a multi-year contributor when he arrived and immediately began racking up special teams tackles. Instead of challenging for a two-deep spot at safety, Robertson then moved to Rover last spring and to receiver in August. He still saw action in nearly half the season, though failed to garner a statistic. Consider that both a statistical and a figurative step backward.

2017: 12 games; eight tackles.2018: Six games.

There was some irony to the supposed reasoning for Robertson flipping sides of the line of scrimmage last preseason. Moving from a position where he was competing for second- or third-string duties to one where he remains behind three more proven options, opportunity hardly seems like it was the first priority spurring the move.

“We just feel like there’s a logjam at [Rover],” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said in mid-August. “He’s a really good athlete. He played wide receiver in high school. He’s got some skills. He showed that today.

“He doesn’t know what he’s doing offensively, but in the blue zone (he) showed some soft hands, went up and caught the football with dexterity, didn’t feel like it was clumsy to him. It was natural. He’s a guy that we’ll continue to progress on the offensive side.”

“It is hard to believe Robertson ever takes over as the starting Rover. (Jeremiah) Owusu-Koromoah and (Shayne) Simon were recruited with that exact role in mind. Incoming freshman Ovie Oghoufo fits the profile of a Rover and would be described as brought in for that opportunity if Simon were not in the same class. Robertson, meanwhile, came in as a safety at a time when Notre Dame both lacked and struggled to develop safeties.”

Robertson may have to focus on special teams for the foreseeable future. Kelly’s logic to the Rover-to-receiver switch was high-quality coach-speak, even if Robertson was joining the new position group at the same time as one of those ahead of him (Austin). Robertson simply has not find a position where he can impact, aside from coverage units two seasons ago.

The route to, excuse the pun here, running routes is a crowded one. Claypool is set for a headline-grabbing season. Austin’s on-field abilities are all-but beyond doubt. And McKinley somehow made progress in the spring, arguably more than Robertson did. To put it bluntly, there is a reason the above quote was pulled from nearly a year ago — Robertson has not forced his name into conversation since the change in position.

One might worry about his special teams chances given his weight loss, but dropping from 215 in August to 202 in March makes since when moving from linebacker to receiver. Robertson should still be able to tackle returners with aplomb. In some respects, a safety-turned-linebacker-turned-receiver checks more boxes than any other progression would as far as it pertains to special teams coverage.

The fact that Robertson has not yet preserved a year of eligibility is a mild surprise, and sets him up for a possible transfer sooner than later. If Robertson had sat out a season, he would want to graduate before transferring, so as to be immediately eligible to play. As is, Robertson could transfer and spend the subsequent season on the sideline as traditionally required, yet still have at least a year of action remaining. That could become two if he does not play in more than four games this fall.

It may seem harsh to spend this entire section discussing a completely-hypothetical transfer, but given Robertson’s seeming regression a season ago and lack of a push this spring, it should not be considered out of left field.

NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 94: Isaiah Foskey, freshman defensive end, consensus four-star
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90: Hunter Spears, defensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver
No. 85: George Takacs, tight end
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 80: Micah Jones, receiver
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right guard, three-year starter
No. 77: Quinn Carroll, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive guard
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive lineman
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, left tackle, two-year starter
No. 73: Andrew Kristofic, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle, three-year starter
No. 71: John Olmstead, offensive lineman, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 69: Aaron Banks, left guard
No. 60: Cole Mabry, offensive tackle
No. 57: Trevor Ruhland, veteran backup offensive lineman
No. 57: Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle
No. 56: John Dirksen, offensive lineman
No. 56: Howard Cross, incoming freshman defensive lineman, consensus four-star
No. 55: Jarrett Patterson, starting center
No. 55: Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle returning from injury
No. 54: Jacob Lacey, consensus four-star defensive tackle, early enrollee
No. 54: John Shannon, long snapper
No. 53: Khalid Kareem, senior defensive end
No. 52: Zeke Correll, consensus four-star center, early enrollee
No. 52: Bo Bauer, linebacker, sophomore
No. 47: Kofi Wardlow, junior defensive end
No. 45: Jonathan Jones, senior inside linebacker
No. 44: Jamir Jones, senior defensive end
No. 42: Julian Okwara, senior defensive end
No. 41: Kurt Hinish, junior defensive tackle
No. 40: Drew White, junior inside linebacker
No. 39: Jonathan Doerer, junior kicker
No. 35: TaRiq Bracy, sophomore cornerback
No. 35: Marist Liufau, Hawaiian freshman linebacker
No. 34: Jahmir Smith, sophomore running back
No. 34: Osita Ekwonu, inside linebacker, consensus four-star
No. 33: Shayne Simon, sophomore linebacker
No. 31: Jack Lamb, sophomore linebacker
No. 30: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, junior linebacker
No. 29: Ovie Oghoufo, sophomore linebacker-turned-defensive end
No. 27: J.D. Bertrand, consensus four-star linebacker
No. 25: Braden Lenzy, speedy sophomore receiver
No. 24: Tommy Tremble, sophomore tight end
No. 24: Jack Kiser, early-enrolled freshman linebacker, Mr. Indiana Football
No. 23: Litchfield Ajavon, four-star safety, freshman
No. 23: Kyren Williams, early-enrolled freshman running back
No. 22: Kendall Abdur-Rahman, quarterback-turned-receiver, freshman
No. 22: Asmar Bilal, the only returning starting linebacker
No. 21: Jalen Elliott, three-year starting safety
No. 20: Shaun Crawford, defensive back returning from yet another injury
No. 20: C’Bo Flemister, sophomore running back
No. 19: Jay Bramblett, freshman punter
No. 19: Justin Ademilola, sophomore defensive end
No. 18: Joe Wilkins, sophomore receiver
No. 18: Nana Osafo-Mensah, freshman defensive end, consensus four-star