Head coach Brian Kelly announced Friday morning following Notre Dame's 11th spring practice that redshirt freshman defensive back Rashad Kinlaw has been dismissed from the team.
Kelly did not provide any reason for Kinlaw’s dismissal, saying only that he was unsure if Kinlaw was still enrolled in classes at Notre Dame.
The Galloway, N.J., native battled injuries during his high-school career; he broke his leg on two occasions, slowing his adaptation to the college game. He was expected to be at minimum a special teams contributor this fall after not seeing the field in 2013.
With the arrival of freshman Nick Watkins and Florida transfer Cody Riggs this summer, Kinlaw’s chances for playing time on defense were likely to diminish both this season and in years to come. A position of need at the time of Kinlaw’s commitment in the summer of 2012, the Irish now enter the 2014 season with a cornerback unit that is both deep and talented.
The Irish are now left with seven cornerbacks on the roster, including Watkins and Riggs. Senior Matthias Farley and Jalen Brown, junior KeiVarae Russell and sophomores Devin Butler and Cole Luke make up the remainder of the group. Farley and Brown are both eligible to return for a fifth season, while another strong season for Russell could open the door for him to enter the NFL Draft.
While the loss of Kinlaw pales in comparison to the spring departures of 5-star recruits Aaron Lynch in 2012 and Gunner Kiel in 2013, Friday’s announcement is another sign of the fluid nature of a major college football roster.
The departure of Kinlaw frees up another scholarship for Notre Dame for what should be a relatively small signing class in 2015. The Irish have five current commitments in the class, which is likely to end with somewhere between 16 and 20 signees next February.