DE Grant Blankenship suspended from Notre Dame football team

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame defensive end Grant Blankenship has been suspended from the football team, head coach Brian Kelly announced Friday.

The junior-to-be was not at Friday’s practice, the last of the spring ahead of Saturday’s Blue-Gold Game. Kelly said Blankenship’s status moving forward with the Irish is uncertain. He was suspended for a violation of team rules.

“The standards that are set within the program have not been met,” Kelly said. “I’ll meet with him after the spring game and we’ll decide what the course is from here on out.”

Blankenship, a 6-foot-5, 278-pounder from The Colony, Texas, had struggled to move up the depth chart throughout the spring. He was shifted into the rush end role where Jay Hayes and Andrew Trumbetti are battling for the starting spot. Freshman Daelin Hayes, who enrolled in January, is also expected to challenge for playing time in the fall. Hayes has been limited in the spring as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

“He just has to continue to develop,” defensive line coach Keith Gilmore said of Blankenship on Wednesday. “His mental focus has probably been his biggest issue. He has athletic ability, but to play the game at this level you have to be ready to go from a mental standpoint and not make errors.”

Blankenship played in only three games last season and recorded one tackle. He tallied 12 tackles and one tackle for a loss in 11 games as freshman.

Notre Dame defensive end Grant Blankenship (92) looks at a loose ball as he defends against Wake Forest's Tyler Hayworth (78) during the Notre Dame-Wake Forest game on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, at Notre Dame Stadium. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)