Brian Kelly expecting return of Russell and Williams to Notre Dame

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Suspended Notre Dame football players KeiVarae Russell and Ishaq Williams both still intend to return to Notre Dame in June and finish what they started.

One of them has a more difficult road back, though, to make that happen.

“The expectations are that they are both going to be back,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said Wednesday, a day he introduced 24 new players as members of the 2015 ND recruiting class.

Both Russell and Williams were projected as starters for the 2014 season when they were pulled from the roster in August as part of the school’s academic dishonesty investigation. Backup linebacker Kendall Moore and starting wide receiver DaVaris Daniels joined them in limbo on Aug. 15.

Backup safety Eilar Hardy was added to the probe on Aug. 29.

“KeiVarae is in school at the University of Washington, and he’s taking classes,” Kelly said, “classes that have been cleared for transfer here to Notre Dame.

“He’s on track to get the necessary hours to meet degree-completion requirements. He’s on a plan of action to meet all the necessary requirements for eligibility.

“Ishaq has a higher bar to meet, but he is trying to work through that as well. Ishaq’s is a much more complicated situation.”

Hardy recently announced he’ll be taking his fifth year of eligibility at Bowling Green. He is the only one of the five who returned to play in 2014. He participated in ND’s final five games of the season, making nine tackles.

Daniels elected to jump into the 2015 NFL Draft pool and leave his final season of eligibility behind. Moore was out of eligibility and hopes to get an NFL shot as well.

Notre Dame's KeiVarae Russell (6) during the first training camp practice on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014, at Culver Academies in Culver, Ind. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)