Utah to Indiana ... and back
NOTRE DAME — In an alternate universe, Chris Badger would be jogging out to midfield to meet his family in a special moment of senior recognition on Saturday, Nov. 23.
Instead, the former Notre Dame safety will run out of the tunnel wearing opposing colors.
Badger’s unconventional trek through college football saw him embark as a Notre Dame freshman in 2010 and land as a freshman at BYU in August. He signed with 22 other Notre Dame recruits from the Class of 2010, many of whom will be honored Saturday for Senior Day.
Before he ever played a collegiate down, Badger embarked on a two-year Mormon mission to Ecuador. He returned in 2012 and was reinstated to a defense that had evolved into a different system. Badger didn’t see the field last season.
“He was recruited under a different system, quite frankly,” head coach Brian Kelly said. “Chris is a great kid, a good athlete. He was recruited in a different defensive system. They were looking for more of a middleofthe field safety that could run the alley from the middle of the field. As you know, we are a twodeep safety team that we like to play off the hash a lot more.”
Badger, a Provo, Utah, native, transferred to BYU in August. He maintained his freshman status and was cleared to play for the Cougars right away. He didn’t play in BYU’s first three games but has appeared in the last seven. He has six tackles and an assisted tackle-for-loss on the year.
The 6-foot, 197-pound safety looks forward to returning to South Bend.
“I’m excited,” he told a reporter with BYU Athletic Communications Monday. “I have a lot of friends out there from football, from school, from the ward, so I’m definitely excited for the fireside on Friday night. I’m excited for Saturday. Every time I get to be out on the field is a great time for me. This week will be especially great.”
From a strategic standpoint, Badger’s situation could give BYU a unique insight this weekend. Badger was with the Irish through spring and part of fall camp, and Kelly has considered the knowledge he carries of the defense.
Simply put, Kelly isn’t too worried about it.
“The signaling system is fairly complicated,” Kelly said. “You would have to dissect those, then you’d have to get them and get them back out to the offense. You know, it’s not where you start but where you finish defensively. And with an uptempo offense, I guess the short answer would be, we’ve taken measures and we’re not concerned about it.”
Former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has submitted an application for readmission to school, according to Kelly.
Kelly couldn’t comment on Golson’s application status but said he should know by the middle of next month.
“That application process has been submitted from what I know of,” Kelly said during a press conference Tuesday, Nov. 19. “And decisions relative to admissions happen in middle of December.”
If Golson is readmitted, he would be eligible for bowl game practices. He would resume classes for the spring semester.
Golson was suspended from Notre Dame for cheating on a test last spring, as he told Sports Illustrated in October. He has spent much of the fall working with renowned quarterback coach George Whitfield in San Diego.
ND sick bay recovering
Notre Dame’s second bye week gave the wounded Irish plenty of time to rest and recover for BYU.
Kelly said, as of Tuesday, no one is definitely out for Saturday’s game. Back-up nose guard Kona Schwenke (ankle) practiced Monday, and Kelly said he was “pleased” with how Schwenke looked.
Defensive linemen Isaac Rochell (ankle) and Jarron Jones (ankle) also practiced. Kelly wasn’t as optimistic about linebacker Ishaq Williams (knee).
“I think Ishaq is going to be a daytoday situation,” Kelly said. “He practiced. I thought he was a little tentative yesterday but I think he’s going to get better.”