Notre Dame could use a little luck of the Iris in order to play into the College Football Playoff discussion this fall, but on Friday the bad news may have outweighed the good as fall camp got underway. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly announced Friday senior linebacker Jarrett Grace is “close to being ready” to getting back and helping contribute on defense, according to College Football Talk contributor JJ Stankevitz on CSN Chicago. The same cannot be said about senior defensive lineman Tony Springmann, whose career is now over due to a back issue.
Springmann just could not catch a break at Notre Dame. Last year it was a torn ACL that held Springmann back at first, but it was a back issue that developed that would ultimately sideline him for the 2013 season in South Bend. The back issue has continued to linger and now is to blame for bringing a premature end to Springmann’s career with two years of eligibility remaining. The injury also puts a dent in the depth on Notre Dame’s defensive line, leaving the Irish with two freshmen (Pete Mokwuah and Daniel Cage) now in line to back-up starter Jarron Jones.
Kelly intends to keep Springmann around the program this fall though.
“He’ll still stay involved in the program,” Kelly said [via CSN Chicago]. “Tony has done a great job of mentoring a lot of our younger players in the program, he’s shown great leadership, great resolve coming back from his knee injury. He’ll stay connected with our program and still be part of us.”
Grace went through two surgeries to repair a broken knee last season. At the time he suffered the injury in a win against Pac-12 South champion Arizona State in the Shamrock Classic last fall, Grace was the team’s leading tackler with 37 tackles. Having him back on the field should clearly be a boost for the Irish on defense.