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Notre Dame LB Te’Von Coney pleads guilty to marijuana possession

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Notre Dame linebacker Te’Von Coney on Tuesday pleaded guilty to marijuana possession as part of a case stemming back to 2016. Coney was one of five Irish players arrested on Aug. 19, 2016, when an Indiana State Police trooper made a traffic stop for speeding and discovered marijuana and an unregistered handgun in the car. Notre Dame safety Max Redfield, wideout Kevin Stepherson, cornerback Ashton White and running back Dexter Williams were also arrested.

Through a plea deal, Coney was sentenced to 363 days of probation and had a 180-day jail sentenced suspended down to time served.

White, Redfield and Stepherson were either booted from the team or transferred, while Coney and Williams have gone on to shine in South Bend. Williams rushed 39 times for 360 yards and four touchdowns last season and is expected to split starting duties this fall, while Coney was Notre Dame’s leading tackler a year ago, collecting 116 stops and 12.5 TFLs.

A Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., native, Coney’s plea is not expected to impact his status on the team. Irish head coach Brian Kelly said earlier this month he expected Coney, who is taking summer classes at Notre Dame right now, to play this fall “if he takes care of it (the court case) in the manner I expect him to.”

Kevin Stepherson one of four dismissed by Notre Dame

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At least in South Bend, Kevin Stepherson‘s freefall is complete.

According to 247Sports.com, Stepherson, along with three other Notre Dame football players — sophomore running backs CJ Holmes and Deon McIntosh as well as junior defensive tackle Brandon Tiassum — have been dismissed from the Fighting Irish program.  No specific reason or reasons for the dismissals were given.

Stepherson was one of four Irish players who were suspended for the team’s Citrus Bowl matchup with LSU, with the wide receiver’s suspension stemming from a handful of off-field issues.

Dec. 15, Stepherson was arrested for shoplifting.  The day before that arrest, Stepherson was pulled over on a traffic stop and charged with marijuana possession, driving without a valid license and speeding (he was clocked doing 80 in a 60 mph zone). To make matters worse, at the time of his twin arrests the receiver was already on probation for a marijuana-related arrest in August of 2016.

Adding to the off-field issues, Stepherson was suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season for reasons unrelated to the arrest in August of 2016.

At the time of the second suspension, Stepherson led the Fighting Irish in receiving touchdowns with five and yards per catch at 18.9 despite missing one-third of the regular season because of the first suspension.  His 19 receptions and 359 receiving yards were both good for third on the team.

Another of the players who were dismissed, Holmes, was arrested along with Stepherson in the shoplifting incident.  Holmes ran for 32 yards on eight carries this season.

McIntosh was the fourth of the four players suspended for the bowl game.  At the time of his suspension, McIntosh was third on the team in rushing with 368 yards and five touchdowns.

Tiassum played very sparsely this past season, and wasn’t looking at much more playing time in 2018.

Notre Dame wideout Equanimeous St. Brown declares for the NFL draft

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The man with the best name in college football is no longer going to play college football.

Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown took to Twitter on Thursday evening to announce that he was leaving South Bend and declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft.

St. Brown was the Irish’s leading receiver each of the past two years and one of the team’s biggest playmakers. While his numbers (33 catches, 515 yards and four touchdowns) were down from 2016 to 2017, the 6-foot-5 wideout turning pro early was expected and it’s possible he could wind up going early come draft weekend. He joins Notre Dame offensive lineman Quenton Nelson in making the jump from this year’s team to the pros but the pair is not expected to be alone with decisions coming from running back Josh Adams and linebacker Te’von Coney among others.

Losing St. Brown is still a big blow to Brian Kelly’s 2018 squad though, especially when you factor in receiver Kevin Stepherson has been indefinitely suspended from all football-related activities. The Irish will have two quarterbacks with plenty experience but finding reliable targets for them will be one of the key questions facing the team over the next several months prior to the season opener.

Notre Dame suspends fourth player ahead of facing LSU in Citrus Bowl

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As Oprah would say, “you get a suspension! You get a suspension! You get a suspension!” And, finally, “you get a suspension!”

Notre Dame officials have confirmed that sophomore running back Deon McIntosh has been suspended for the New Year’s Day Citrus Bowl game against LSU.  The only reason given for the suspension is an unspecified violation of team rules.

McIntosh, who is third on the team in rushing with 368 yards and five touchdowns, is the fourth Fighting Irish football player, and second running back, to be suspended for the postseason game.

A little over a week ago, the football program announced that two players, wide receiver Kevin Stepherson and running back C.J. Holmeshad been suspended for the bowl game. It was subsequently learned that the suspensions stemmed from shoplifting arrests.

A day later, Brian Kelly confirmed that another Fighting Irish player, tight end Alize Mack, has been suspended as well. Mack’s suspension, though, is unrelated to the incident involving his two teammates and instead attributed some vague “internal team matter.”

Thanks to the suspensions to Mack and Stepherson, as well as an injury to Chase Claypool, Notre Dame will be without three of its top four pass catchers for the game. Claypool is second on the team with 29 catches, while Stepherson’s 19 are tied with Mack for third.  All told, the Irish will be down 67 receptions, 927 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns for the bowl game against the Tigers.

Shoplifting arrest led to Notre Dame suspensions

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Some details have emerged regarding an off-field issue involving a pair of Notre Dame football players that will have an on-field impact on the team.

The Fighting Irish announced Wednesday that two of its playing members, wide receiver Kevin Stepherson and running back C.J. Holmes, had been indefinitely suspended from all team activities. Per WNDU.com, the suspensions came nearly a week after they were arrested for shoplifting less than $150 worth of merchandise from a local Macy’s department store.

From the website:

Stepherson was arrested for shoplifting a pair of sweatpants from Macy’s at the University Park Mall in Mishawaka. He was picked up walking out of the store wearing an allegedly stolen $59 pair of Nautica sweatpants. Holmes had a $79 North Face coat.

The two were taken to the Macy’s Security office and released after being notified of their proxy arrest. As is procedure in these cases, they were not taken to jail or booked. The case has been sent to the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office, who will determine if charges will be filed.

The bad news for Stepherson is that he’s already on probation for a marijuana arrest last August. Additionally, he was suspended for the first four games this season for reasons unrelated to the first arrest.

“The University is aware of this incident and is confident that it will be handled appropriately by the criminal justice system,” a statement from a school spokesperson began. “University discipline is handled privately, in accord with our own policies and federal law.”

Stepherson currently leads the Fighting Irish in receiving touchdowns with five and yards per catch at 18.9. His 19 receptions and 359 receiving yards are both good for third on the team.