DE Jhonny Williams transferring from Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Defensive end Jhonny Williams announced Thursday that he will be leaving Notre Dame to transfer to another school.

The sophomore from Benton Harbor, Mich., confirmed the news with ND Insider after posting a message on Facebook.

"Friends, family, loved ones, I will be transferring from the university of Notre Dame to pursue a football/academic career elsewhere, thank you for your support," Williams wrote on Facebook.

When asked by ND Insider, why he was transferring, Williams said via text message, "Great school, great place, just not the right fit."

The 6-foot-4, 260-pound defensive end said he doesn't have a planned transfer destination.

"I don't think schools know I'm transferring yet," Williams said.

Williams, a former three-star recruit at Berrien Springs High School, did not see the field in his freshman season. His biggest highlight came on the final play of the Blue-Gold Game in April. He was credited with a game-saving sack of quarterback Montgomery VanGorder to secure a 36-34 win for the defense.

“Obviously for Jhonny, he's worked really hard to put himself in a position physically to get out there and compete,” head coach Brian Kelly said following the annual spring scrimmage. “He's a really good athlete.

“Transitioning to Notre Dame has been difficult for him. He was underweight and playing at the defensive end position. He's worked so hard on putting on weight and making that transition, and carrying all that weight has been hard for him. He's got to work really hard in school and all those things, so it was nice to see him have some success today."

Williams would have entered the 2015 season fighting for playing time with a number of defensive ends as a situational pass rusher for Notre Dame. He will have to sit out this fall if he transfers to another FBS program.

With the loss of Williams, the Irish appear to have 87 scholarship players on the roster. That number includes defensive end Ishaq Williams, who is enrolled in school but remains in NCAA limbo, fifth-year student Chase Hounshell, a former defensive lineman who switched to tight end in the spring in an effort to remain on the roster, and VanGorder, a former walk-on player.

Notre Dame must reach the 85-man scholarship limit before the season starts.

Sophomore defensive end Jhonny Williams is transferring from Notre Dame. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)