Sophomore-to-be center Luke Jones transferring out of Notre Dame

IRISH STEW

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Less than a year after enrolling at Notre Dame, center Luke Jones has decided to transfer out of the Irish football program.

Head coach Brian Kelly shared the news after Saturday's practice. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Jones did not play as a freshman in 2018 after joining the team in June.

"He's seeking a transfer," Kelly said. "We met earlier this week, and he feels like Notre Dame is not the best place for him."

The line at the center position starting getting longer this spring. Fellow sophomore Jarrett Patterson moved from left tackle to become the No. 1 center. In recent weeks, early enrolled freshman Zeke Correll has been working as the No. 2 center.

During Saturday's practice, junior Josh Lugg took reps as a backup center as well. Graduate student Trevor Ruhland will also serve as depth at center when he returns from injury.

Jones, a three-star recruit, signed with Notre Dame last year after previously being committed to Arkansas. Jones stuck with his verbal commitment to the Irish after offensive line coach Harry Hiestand left for the Chicago Bears and was replaced by Jeff Quinn.

247Sports slated the Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Academy product as the No. 38 offensive tackle in the 2018 class. Rivals ranked him No. 45 at the position.

Notre Dame's scholarship count drops to 87 with the loss of Jones. The Irish need to hit the NCAA-mandated scholarship limit of 85 by the time fall semester classes start. Notre Dame's number of 87 includes two signed recruits — linebackers JD Bertrand and Marist Liufau — for whom the Irish have set up plans to work around the scholarship count if needed.

Notre Dame’s Dexter Williams (2) celebrates with Notre Dame’s Luke Jones (70) after the Notre Dame-Stanford NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana.