Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2014 Issue

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 107

Under the Dome fensive tackle Hafis Williams) and one at Ball State (defensive tackle Brandon Newman). Among the schools that Wood, an Apopka, Fla., native, is considering are Georgia Tech, Central Florida and Florida. Georgia Tech was one of Wood's final three choices when he committed to play for Notre Dame out of high school. "We know his ability is better than a limited role player," Wood's father, Lo Sr., told Blue & Gold Illustrated. "We know he can start in a Division I program, so we've got to go somewhere that can give him a shot. … [Irish head coach Brian] Kelly was a stand-up guy about the whole situation." Meanwhile, Cincinnati native Welch might stay in the Queen City to finish out his college career. Welch's mother, Lynn, noted that ending his fifth season of eligibility elsewhere is "in the works," but added that nothing is confirmed and that Kelly had encouraged her son to stay. Former Irish tight end Jake Golic (200912) planned to use his fifth season at Cincinnati after graduating from Notre Dame, but his football playing days were truncated by another injury. Both Welch and Wood were in line for major or starting roles entering the 2012 season, but suffered long-term injuries that August. Welch required ACL surgery on his knee after an Aug. 8 scrimmage, and Wood tore his Achilles tendon about a week later. Starting in place of Wood in 2012 was KeiVarae Russell, who earned Notre Dame Football tickets 2014 Games NoW oN sale Gift Certificates Available 1-800-925-2500 Freshman All-America accolades and was the team's top surprise during its march to the BCS National Championship Game. Although he competed this spring to unseat Russell or senior tri-captain Bennett Jackson from a starting role, Wood also fell behind freshmen Cole Luke and Devin Butler on the depth chart this fall. Wood played in 31 games during his Notre Dame career, made 19 career tackles on defense and special teams, and had a 57-yard interception return for a touchdown against Maryland in 2011. Replacing Welch in 2012 was converted outside linebacker Troy Niklas, who started eight games at tight end while future first-round tight end selection Tyler Eifert was often detached from the line as a receiver to present matchup problems. This fall, the junior Niklas and classmate Ben Koyack were two of the most improved players on the team while combining for 37 catches at an impressive 15.7 yards per reception with eight touchdowns.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - January 2014 Issue