Notre Dame Fighting Irish

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 07:  A member of Notre Dame Fighting Irish holds up his helmet on the opening kickoff during the game against the Stanford Cardinal on October 7, 2006 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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‘Canes might be front-runner for transferring Irish WR Corey Holmes

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For the second time this week, Notre Dame is losing a player to transfer.

On his Twitter account Saturday afternoon, Corey Holmes indicating that he would be leaving the Fighting Irish and would be continuing his collegiate playing career elsewhere.  ND officials subsequently confirmed that the wide receiver will transfer out after the spring semester.

Holmes’ decision was triggered by a desire for a better shot at playing time.

According to the South Bend Tribune, Miami is expected to be the front-runner for Holmes’ services. The receiver also stated that Arizona State, North Carolina and UCLA “are some schools I’d be considering.”

Like it was with Malik Zaire, the quarterback who announced his transfer late last month, there will be no restrictions placed on Holmes by the university.

As it stands now, Holmes plans to graduate next August, which means he would have two years of eligibility remaining and would be eligible immediately in 2017 i he moves on to another FBS school.

A four-star 2014 recruit, Holmes was rated as the No. 27 receiver in the country and the No. 26 player at any position in the state of Florida. After redshirting as a true freshman then not seeing any action in 2015, Holmes caught 11 passes for 96 yards this past season. He had a career-high four receptions in what turned out to be his final game at the school in the regular-season finale against USC.

Malik Zaire’s release from Notre Dame is unconditional

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 10: Malik Zaire #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish throws a pass in the second half against the Nevada Wolf Pack at Notre Dame Stadium on September 10, 2016 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Not surprisingly, there’s already a market for what’s expected to be one of the most sought-after transfers of the upcoming offseason. Somewhat surprisingly, there’s been an apparent about-face when it comes to said player’s restrictions.

Earlier this week it was reported that Malik Zaire would be granted a release from his Notre Dame scholarship, with the quarterback’s intent being to transfer and use his final season of eligibility elsewhere. Following a meeting with head coach Brian Kelly Wednesday, that request was granted — albeit with reported stipulations.

Zaire had confirmed to ESPN.com that he would not be permitted to transfer to any program on Notre Dame’s 2017 schedule, with the exception of North Carolina. That initially meant that Temple, Georgia, Boston College, Michigan State, Miami of Ohio, USC, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Miami (Fla.), Navy and Stanford would’ve been off-limits for Zaire.

However, since that initial report, it’s been updated to state that Zaire has been granted an unconditional release.  It’s unclear if Zaire was mistaken in stating that there were conditions on his release or if the football program subsequently relented.

Florida, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and Wisconsin are believed to be among the list of potential transfer destinations.  UNC, depending on Mitch Trubisky‘s NFL decision, could be a possibility as well.

“I just want, of course, to do what I wanted to do at Notre Dame, and that’s win a national championship,” Zaire told the South Bend Tribune Wednesday said when discussing his next move. “For me, it’s finding the best fit where I can help bring the team something that I can add and help bring a national championship. I felt like I could do that at Notre Dame, and I still feel the same way.

“I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the country. This opportunity is good for me. I’ve got one shot to do it, and you only need one shot to do it. That’s what I’m looking for.”

Zaire expects to graduate in December, meaning he’d be eligible immediately at whatever FBS program he ultimately lands.

Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire expected to be released as graduate transfer Wednesday

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 30:  Malik Zaire #8 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs with the ball against the LSU Tigers during the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl at LP Field on December 30, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Malik Zaire‘s career at Notre Dame started with a bang, and it will end with a thud.

Zaire led Notre Dame to an unexpected win over LSU in the 2014 Music City Bowl — Zaire was named MVP of that game — and posted Heisman-like numbers in his 2015 debut against Texas and Virginia, but an ankle injury derailed his career and he never recovered.

Zaire won the starting job to start this season but ceded control to DeShone Kizer in the second half of the Irish’s opening-night loss at Texas and never wrestled it back.

And now, according to a report from Irish Illustrated, Zaire is set to leave.

The site reports that Zaire will meet with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly on Wednesday morning, at which time he’s expected to receive his release from the school. A graduate transfer, Irish Illustrated lists Florida, Pittsburgh, Michigan State and Wisconsin as possible destinations.

The timing of the report is interesting with DeShone Kizer listed as a possible first-round pick by some mock drafts. Kizer has not formally entered the draft, though.

Zaire finishes his Notre Dame career completing 58-of-98 passes for 816 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing 72 times for 324 yards and two touchdowns.

Notre Dame DT apologizes for going dirty, USC players accept

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 05: Jerry Tillery #99 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates after making a tackle against the Texas Longhorns during the second quarter at Notre Dame Stadium on September 5, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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Two members of the USC football program have shown a whole helluva lot more class than one of their Notre Dame counterparts did this past weekend.

In the fourth quarter of the Fighting Irish’s loss to the Trojans Saturday, Jerry Tillery stomped on the ankle of Zach Banner as the SoCal offensive tackle lay on the ground, earning him a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Not long after, Tillery kicked the helmet of Aca’Cedric Ware as the running back lay on the ground with what was thought to be a head/neck injury.

Following the fallout from his bush-league actions, Tillery posted an apology on Twitter Monday.

Not long after, the targets of Tillery’s classless displays accepted the defensive lineman’s mea culpas.

Brian Kelly chewed Tillery out on the sidelines following the second incident. In the postgame locker room, one of his teammates chastised him as well.

“He just needs to be more disciplined,” fellow defensive lineman Jarron Jones said. “You can’t do stupid things like that, and that’s going to reflect on you as a player, it’s going to reflect on your character. You don’t want to do anything like that. He has to be more disciplined.

“Understand, the heat of the moment, we were down big and emotions can flare, especially against our rival. But he just has to be smarter than that. He has to grow up quickly.”

As the Irish failed to qualify for a bowl game this season, there will be no on-field repercussions for Tillery in the here and now. Whether the sophomore will face 2017 repercussions remains to be seen.

Brian Kelly releases statement: I am fully committed to Notre Dame

Brian Kelly
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As Notre Dame closed the books on a dismal 4-8 season with a loss at USC, rumors started to swirl about the future of Brian Kelly as head coach. The rumblings were not that Notre Dame was preparing to push him out as head coach but instead that Kelly was checking all of his options for potential jobs elsewhere. A day later, perhaps to calm the nerves a little, Kelly has released a statement saying he wants to remain the head coach of the Fighting Irish.

“I felt that I was clear with the media following yesterday’s game at USC when I was asked about my desire to be back as the head football coach at Notre Dame, but in light of media reports that surfaced afterward, let me restate my position,” Kelly said in a statement released via Twitter at 3:37 AM. “I have not been, am not and will not be interested in options outside of Notre Dame. I’m fully committed to leading this program in the future.”

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports was first to report Kelly was reaching out to his representatives to evaluate potential coaching opportunities outside of Notre Dame. This report was then supported by a similar report from Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com. What jobs may have been evaluated is unknown, whether it was strictly college openings or potential vacancies to be filled in the NFL (or, just to get crazy, the Canadian Football League).

This is not the first time Kelly has had to bat away coaching rumors about his future, but the timing of these latest reports was worth noting. In the past week, Notre Dame was hit with a demand from the NCAA to vacate all wins from the 2012 and 2013 seasons, which Kelly was not happy about at all following an investigation into academic fraud within the football program. coming off the first losing season under Kelly and the worst season since going 3-9 under Charlie Weis in 2007, the reports seemed to suggest Kelly could be looking to abandon ship. Yet, it is worth noting that neither report suggested Kelly was looking to leave as a result of the NCAA weighing in on the academic concerns in South Bend.

So, for now at least, Kelly is once again stating he is not looking to go anywhere else to coach.