Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2023

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

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18 JANUARY 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY PATRICK ENGEL M arcus Freeman expected De- cember departures to the NFL and the transfer portal. That's college football re- ality these days. He could live with it. He even put it in motion when he met one-on-one with many of Notre Dame's players the week after the regular season and gave those with NFL decisions to make a few days off to deliberate them. Above all, Freeman wanted clarity sooner rather than later — before Notre Dame fully dived into Gator Bowl prac- tices and game planning for South Car- olina. He stood in front of a dais in the Notre Dame Stadium media room Dec. 10 and declared he expected no further attrition before the Dec. 30 bowl game. That didn't quite hold up. Reserve sophomore tight end Cane Berrong an- nounced his intent to transfer two days later. Still, Freeman and his coaching staff feel they have a firm grasp on who's in and who's out for the final game of the year. Here's a look at the players who have moved on since the Southern Cal game, announced a return for a graduate year or still have decisions to make. There will likely be more departures after the bowl. ENTERED TRANSFER PORTAL Drew Pyne, Jr., QB Notre Dame's 10-game starting quar- terback announced Dec. 2 he would explore his transfer options. His name appeared in the transfer portal when it officially opened Dec. 5. He has three seasons of eligibility remaining. Pyne will not play in the Gator Bowl. He threw for 2,021 yards with 22 touch- downs and 6 interceptions this season on 8.0 yards per attempt. He completed 64.6 percent of his passes and finished No. 20 nationally in pass efficiency, at 155.3. Notre Dame went 8-2 in his starts. Osita Ekwonu, Sr., DE Ekwonu hinted at a departure from Notre Dame by participating in Senior Day festivities this season. He made the move official Dec. 5 and entered the Senior cornerback Cam Hart announced he is returning for a fifth season in 2023. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER CHANGE IN THE AIR Notre Dame's NFL and transfer portal departures have begun

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