Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 14, 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 10 of 55 NOV. 14, 2020 11 UNDER THE DOME Our life plan community for those over the age of 62, provides residents with exceptional personalized services, a secure atmosphere and carefree luxury lifestyle – while making it possible to ease into further healthcare levels as needs change throughout retirement years. Notre Dame's defensive line depth is the best it has been in about three decades. A reflection of that is for the second week in a row, a Notre Dame defensive lineman entered his name into the transfer portal. Senior defensive end Kofi Wardlow announced on social media Nov. 4 that his plans are to become a graduate transfer after receiving his undergradu- ate degree, which would leave him two years of eligibility starting in 2021. Wardlow has not played this season and has appeared in three career games, with one tackle that came in 2019 against New Mexico. The 6-2, 250-pound lineman played in two games last year, one in 2018 and red- shirted in 2017. He has been caught in a logjam of quality depth that has left him with a limited path to see action. The vyper end position features fifth-year senior Daelin Hayes, sophomore rising star Isaiah Foskey, junior Ovie Oghoufo and freshman Jordan Botelho, who also is a mainstay on special teams. Meanwhile, fifth-year senior Ade Ogundeji, junior Justin Ademilola, fresh- man Alexander Ehrensberger and sophomore Nana Osafo-Mensah, who was sidelined for the year in the preseason with a knee injury, lead the strong- side end spot. "After deliberate consultation with my family, I have decided it is in my best interest to enter the transfer portal," Wardlow wrote in a statement posted on his Twitter account. "I have greatly enjoyed my time playing for the Irish, and the community and relationships I have formed here will always be special to me. "This environment allowed me to grow athletically, academically and personally, and for that I will always be grateful. Most importantly, I will be graduating this fall with my bachelor's degree from a university I love and respect." A Washington, D.C., native who attended St. John's College High School, Wardlow was a member of Notre Dame's 2017 signing class and a three- star recruit. Originally committed to Maryland, he flipped to the Irish on National Signing Day after taking late official visits to Virginia Tech, Pitt and Notre Dame. Wardlow can remove his name from the portal at any point if he chooses. On Oct. 30, junior nose tackle Ja'Mion Franklin announced via social media that he was leaving the program "to work on my mental health" and indicated he will look for a fresh start elsewhere after the fall semester is completed at Notre Dame Nov. 20. Wrote Franklin: "This has been a very challenging year for all filled with much uncertainty. The trials and tribulations of battling COVID-19, and not recovering to the level I expected to has clearly impacted me in a negative way. I have felt that I have lost control of my mental capacity, and I feel that I need to take time to gather and reevaluate myself. The process of rebuilding myself from the ground up is a much needed step in this stage of my life. "I love the game of football and I have no doubt that I will be back and bet- ter than I ever was, but for the time being I need to regain control over my life. I would like to thank my loved ones for all of their support. I have come to realize from all of this that I have an army behind me. I'm also eternally grateful to the Notre Dame football program for taking a chance on me and allowing me to be a part of such a prestigious university. The experience has been nothing short of special and life altering." The nose tackle position features senior Kurt Hinish, who could return in 2021, sophomores Jacob Lacey and Howard Cross III, plus current freshmen Rylie Mills (also at three-technique) and Aidan Keanaaina. — Patrick Engel and Lou Somogyi Quality Depth Helps Result In Transfers

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