Blue and Gold Illustrated

June/July 2023

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

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8 JUNE/JULY 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY PATRICK ENGEL R arely were there remnants of a team's recruiting class in the pro- gram or elsewhere around college foot- ball past the five-year anniversary of its signing. Sixth-year players were around only because of injury luck bad enough to warrant a waiver from the NCAA. The novelty of former Notre Dame defensive back Shaun Crawford playing a sixth year lasted the entire 2020 season. These days, though, sixth-year se- niors barely register as unusual. The COVID-19 bonus season has made them a norm the last two years and will fuel an increase in them through 2025, when the last class that was granted the COVID waiver would be in its sixth season. Notre Dame had two on its 2022 roster, offen- sive lineman Josh Lugg and kicker Blake Grupe. It will have five in 2023. College football's sixth-year seniors in 2023 were part of the 2018 high school recruiting cycle, which still populates many college football rosters all this time later. The 2018 Notre Dame class has one scholarship player (plus two for- mer walk-ons) still in the program and 10 with other schools. The Irish have two players who signed somewhere else in 2018 and then transferred to Notre Dame. Here's a look at all the members Notre Dame's 27-man 2018 signing class who will be playing college football in 2023, either for the Irish or elsewhere, as well as the sixth-year imports on the roster. NOTRE DAME 2018 SIGNEES STILL ON THE ROSTER • Safety DJ Brown: The lone 2018 scholarship player to spend six years at Notre Dame, Brown has played 47 games and logged 1,257 defensive snaps in his career. He has 105 career tackles, 5 passes broken up and 3 interceptions. He started 10 games in 2022. • Long snapper Michael Vinson: A former walk-on, Vinson has been the primary long snapper since 2020 and returned for one more year in that role. • Wide receiver Matt Salerno: Another former walk-on, Salerno was awarded a scholarship in 2022 and in- vited back for a sixth season. He has 6 catches for 58 yards and a touchdown in his career. 2018 SIGNEES ON OTHER ROSTERS • Quarterback Phil Jurkovec: After three years at Boston College (2020-22), Jurkovec transferred to Pittsburgh to UNDER THE DOME SIXTH SENSE Notre Dame's 2018 signing class is all over college football as sixth-year seniors Safety DJ Brown is one of 11 players from Notre Dame's 2018 recruiting class who are playing a sixth year of college football. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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