David Adams wants another chance at playing college football.
The former Notre Dame linebacker who was medically disqualified in 2018 entered the NCAA’s transfer portal Monday.
“I’m a lot healthier now and have made a lot of progress with my time off,” Adams said in a text message to the Tribune. “My body feels good and is firing again.”
Adams had always hoped he’d be able to play football again after he was forced to the sideline following a series of injures. When Adams announced his medical exemption in June of 2018, he listed the following injuries he had suffered late in his high school career at Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic and early in his Notre Dame career: concussions, a torn labrum in his left shoulder, a torn labrum, rotator cuff and bicep tendon in his right shoulder, a torn UCL in his right elbow, a knee injury that required surgery, chronic shin splints and chronic patellar tendinitis.
“It absolutely kills me to walk away from football, my true love,” Adams wrote in 2018 as part of his medical disqualification announcement on Twitter. “However, these are circumstances that I cannot control. I’ve prided myself on my work ethic and have spent countless hours perfecting my craft to be the best player I could and can be. I need very specific and deliberate rehab and training to get my body back to where it once was and beyond.”
Adams remained on scholarship with the program, but it did not count against Notre Dame’s 85 scholarship limit. He is scheduled to graduate in May. It’s unclear how many seasons of eligibility Adams would retain at his new school.
A football player returning from a medical disqualification is rare. Former Notre Dame linebacker Michael Deeb was medically disqualified with a torn UCL in his left elbow in 2015 and went on to play baseball at Bethune-Cookman following a graduate transfer. Former Oregon running back Thomas Tyner finished his career at Oregon State in 2017 following a previous medical disqualification.
By entering the transfer portal, Adams can openly communicate with other programs, allow those schools to decide if he’s medically fit to play football again and sort through any NCAA compliance paperwork to reverse his medical disqualification.
Adams, a former three-star recruit, did not play in his one active season at Notre Dame as a freshman in 2017. Rivals ranked him as the No. 18 inside linebacker in the 2017 class. 247Sports slated him No. 23 at the position.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly announced Monday promotions on his coaching staff for assistants Brian Polian and Mike Elston, which included the two trading parts of their job titles.
Polian, the Irish special teams coordinator since 2017, will now hold the title of associate head coach. Elston, who has coached with Kelly at Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Notre Dame since 2004, will add the roles of recruiting coordinator and defensive run game coordinator to his job as the defensive line coach.
Elston served as Kelly’s associate head coach for the past three seasons. Polian previously took over the recruiting coordinator role from Elston soon after Polian joined Kelly’s staff in 2017. Elston was Notre Dame’s recruiting coordinator from 2015-2017.
Notre Dame hasn’t had a defensive run game coordinator previously. Running backs coach Lance Taylor holds the title of run game coordinator for the offense. Former safeties coach Terry Joseph, who took a job with Texas this offseason, was the defensive pass game coordinator for the past two seasons.
“These were two very beneficial moves as we continue to develop our staff,” Kelly said in a prepared statement with the announcement. “As special teams coordinator, Brian Polian engages with a lot of the team on a regular basis and in implementing game day decisions. He is essential in helping us understand NCAA legislation, and in building relationships within and beyond our program.
“Likewise, Mike Elston has done a tremendous job in recruiting and is a natural fit in that role. He has had success designing and organizing our recruiting efforts, and we look forward to him leading us there. Additionally, his expertise with the defensive line can assist us in our run game preparation and coordination.”