For the last few weeks, rumors of transfers from the football program have been swirling via email, IM, and message board posts. Coach Weis addressed these issues during his press conference on Tuesday and confirmed who is leaving and who is staying.
"I don’t know if Duerson will be going to school here or not, but he will not be with the football program. In addition to that John Kadous will not be with the football program and Chris Vaughn will not be with the football program for a semester, but I am not sure where that will take us, but he will not be with us this upcoming semester. I’m not getting into any particulars; I will just say he will not be with the team this next semester and as far as his future I cannot discuss it.”While Weis declined to comment on Duerson's status as a Notre Dame student, rumors mention that he might continue his football career at another school. He was lightly recruited coming out of high school, but practice reports stated he could hold his own on the field. It will be interesting to see where he ends up and how his career progresses.
The departure of Kadous is a real blow to the offensive line depth chart. After the 2005 season, assuming all of the 5th year eligible players return and no one is knocked out by injury, Notre Dame will only have 10 returning scholarship offensive lineman. What was a very important position in this year's recruiting has quickly become the most important position with plenty of available playing time for any interested recruit. The South Bend Tribune has a story that quotes Kadous as saying he's transfering to the University of Arizona and might take a year off from football.
As for Chris Vaughn, his transfer situation seems to be a bit more complicated. The fact that Weis said he is only off the team for the fall semester suggests a return is possible. However, in a recent update on Louisville's scout.com site (you need a subscription) Vaughn is quoted as saying Louisville is probably his top choice for a transfer. That seems to be a pretty clear sign that he's not coming back to Notre Dame as a student in the fall. With the graduation of Matt Shelton, Rhema McKnight, and Maurice Stovall, a starting spot for Vaughn in 2006 seemed almost a given. But, Vaughn's career with the Fighting Irish appears to be over.
On the bright side, Weis did mention that certain players rumored to be transfer candidates will be back in the fall, ready to suit up for the Irish. In addition to cornerback LaBrose Hedgemon who will return from his year-long suspension, offensive lineman James Bonelli and defensive lineman Ronald Talley, both suspended from spring practices, will return. All three are not expected to contend for a starting spot in the fall, but will add valuable depth at thin positions.
Transfers occur at every school whenever there is a coaching change so the departure of some players, while never great news, was to be expected. Weis hopes however, that the rush for the exit is over.
“As far as I know that’s right. I haven’t scared too many more of them off I hope. I just mentioned guys in general right now that are in and out because when the roster comes out those three will be in and those three will be out."