Notre Dame TE Alizé Jones deemed academically ineligible, will miss 2016 season

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

One of Notre Dame's deepest positions just got a little bit thinner.

Notre Dame sophomore tight end Alizé Jones will miss the 2016 season, head coach Brian Kelly confirmed on Wednesday. Jones tweeted that the suspension was tied to academic ineligibility.

A 6-foot-5, 240-pound sophomore, Jones caught 13 passes for 190 yards in his freshman season in 2015. The Las Vegas native will remain at Notre Dame as a student and will be allowed to practice with the team this fall.

"Notre Dame is a special place and playing for the Irish is a privilege," Jones tweeted on Wednesday. "With this opportunity comes academic responsibility, and unfortunately, I didn't meet that responsibility. I love Notre Dame and everything about it. Obviously, I'm disappointed at myself, but I'm going to make the best of this situation.

"I'm going to remain a student at Notre Dame and work even harder. I'm going to grow from this. I'm going to be a better teammate, student, player and man. While I won't be able to help my brothers on Saturdays, I'll do whatever I can to help this team achieve its goal of winning a national championship."

Even without Jones, Notre Dame remains stacked with options — though little pass-catching experience — in 2016. Senior Durham Smythe will likely start at the position, and junior Nic Weishar as well as senior Jacob Matuska and junior Tyler Luatua — both blocking specialists — will also compete for reps.

Notre Dame's four active tight ends have a combined seven career catches and one touchdown, which Smythe claimed on a fake field goal against Virginia last season.

Jones, who contributed immediately in his freshman season, was regarded as a consensus four-star recruit out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas in 2015. He'll remain on the team's roster, though Jones will not be eligible to participate in games.

The Irish open fall camp with their first practice in Culver, Ind., on Saturday.

Alizé Jones makes a catch during the Notre Dame football practice in Notre Dame Stadium Friday, April 15, 2016. Tribune photo/MICHAEL CATERINA