Well, this is certainly an unexpected– and head-scratching — development.
When it was confirmed back in January that Amir Carlisle would be transferring from USC to Notre Dame, the running back’s father made it clear that a change in employers — Duane Carlisle was with the San Francisco 49ers before moving to a job at Purdue last March — was the overriding factor behind his son’s transfer.
“It was our intention to stay (in California), but circumstances changed,” Duane Carlisle said, referring to his new job. “We’re a close-knit family. …
“This definitely was a family decision. It wasn’t just an Amir decision. We felt as though Notre Dame would be the best fit for him for the next four years.”
While it was initially thought that one of those four years would consist of sitting out 2012 to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, that’s turned out to not be the case. According to the school, the NCAA has approved a waiver request submitted by the Irish that will allow the back to play immediately in 2012.
“I want to thank Notre Dame and its compliance office for helping me with this request,” Carlisle said in a statement. “I also want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for giving me the blessing to play this year. I love being here at Notre Dame and can’t wait to run out of the tunnel this September wearing my gold helmet.”
Normally a waiver is only granted for extenuating circumstances such as the health issue of a close family members that necessitates a transfer closer to home. There was no reason given by the school as to why the waiver request was submitted in the first place.
“I want to publicly commend the exemplary work done by our compliance office, specifically, Jen Vining-Smith,” head coach Brian Kelly said. “Amir was going to be a great addition to our team regardless of whether he was going to be able to compete for us this fall. Now we know we’ll be able to use his talents on the field and I’m very happy about that.”
A true freshman in 2011, Carlisle averaged over six yards on his 19 carries as well as catching seven passes, one going for a touchdown. He was hampered by ankle and knee issues for most of his first and only season with the Trojans.
As a four-star member of USC’s 2011 recruiting class, Carlisle was the No. 4 all-purpose running back in the nation and the No. 9 overall player in the state of California according to Rivals.com.
The personnel news wasn’t all positive for the Irish, however, as it was also announced that four-star 2012 recruit Tee Shepard is no longer enrolled at Notre Dame and has moved back home to his family in Fresno, Calif. At least on paper, it’s a significant loss for the Irish as Shepard was rated as the No. 4 corner in the country and the No. 11 player at any position in the state of California.
No reason was given for his unexpected and abrupt departure just a little over a month after signing with the Irish.
“Tee is a special person and it’s unfortunate it didn’t work out here,” head coach Brian Kelly said. “Everyone at Notre Dame wishes him all the best in the future.”