Former Cal safety Avery Sebastian announces commitment to Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

For the second year in a row, Notre Dame will add a graduate student to its football roster for one final season.

Avery Sebastian, a former Cal safety and four-star recruit, announced his plans to join the Irish via Twitter on Thursday night.

“I have officially committed to the University of Notre Dame!” Sebastian wrote. “Extremely blessed & excited to be apart of the Notre Dame family! GO IRISH.”

Notre Dame had yet to confirm the addition of Sebastian on Thursday, but head coach Brian Kelly alluded to the pursuit of another safety during his National Signing Day press conference.

“We've got some more work to do there,” Kelly said. “We're not done.”

Sebastian, who graduated from Cal in December, comes to Notre Dame following two injury-riddled seasons. His junior year was wiped out with a torn Achilles in the 2013 season opener against Northwestern. He played in just seven games as a senior while dealing with a nagging quadriceps injury. He totaled 96 tackles in his Cal career.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound defensive back is eligible to play immediately this fall. Cornerback Cody Riggs made the same transition from Florida to Notre Dame in 2014 and started 11 games.

Sebastian will provide the Irish with needed depth at safety. The Irish return only four scholarship safeties — Elijah Shumate, Max Redfield, Drue Tranquill and Nicky Baratti — from last season and only two (Shumate and Redfield) finished the year healthy.

Tranquill, a freshman, tore his ACL in the fall. Baratti, a junior, has been sidelined for most of the last two seasons with shoulder injuries. The Irish also added safety recruits Nicco Fertitta and Mykelti Williams earlier this month.

Sebastian finished his high school career at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, Ga., the same program that produced Irish defensive lineman Isaac Rochell. He returned to the area this offseason and has been training in Atlanta. He committed to Notre Dame without making a campus visit.

National recruiting services gave Sebastian — then known as Avery Walls — high grades coming out of high school. ESPN ranked him as the No. 6 safety in the 2011 class, and Rivals ranked him No. 8 at the position. CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming slated him No. 141 regardless of position that year. Sebastian also played in the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Former Cal safety Avery Sebastian announced his commitment to play his fifth year at Notre Dame on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Michael Pimentel/