Clemson graduate transfer DT Scott Pagano visiting Notre Dame this weekend
When Clemson defensive tackle Scott Pagano declared last month his intentions to transfer to another school for the 2017 season, Notre Dame was reported as one of his potential destinations.
That potential took a step toward reality this weekend with the 6-foot-3, 295-pound lineman visiting Notre Dame's campus. Pagano, via text message, told ND Insider he will be in South Bend from Friday to Sunday.
Pagano, a redshirt junior last fall, is eligible to play one more season of college football. Because he graduated in December, Pagano can play immediately upon his transfer to another program.
Pagano started four games and played in 12 for the national champions last season. He recorded 31 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney released a statement on Pagano after he announced his transfer plans last month.
“We all wanted him to stay, but he said he had accomplished everything he wanted to do at Clemson," Swinney said in the statement. "He came here to graduate and win a national championship and he achieved both within the last two months.
“He indicated to me that he wants to start his graduate degree and play his final year of college football, probably on the West Coast."
Pagano did not respond to messages asking what other visits he had planned. A 247Sports report, which had Pagano originally scheduled to visit Notre Dame on March 24, listed five schools expected to receive visits: Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Oregon.
Pagano finished his Clemson career with 92 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks while playing 705 snaps in 31 games with 13 appearances in the starting lineup. He missed three games with a broken bone in his foot last season. A strong Clemson defensive line depth chart, which returns three players who started at least 11 games last season, may have prevented Pagano from making a major impact with the Tigers next season.
A transfer to Notre Dame could offer Pagano more opportunities for playing time. Rising senior Daniel Cage has the most experience of any interior defensive lineman on Notre Dame’s roster with 30 game appearances, but he missed the final four games of 2016 with concussion symptoms. Rising junior Jerry Tillery saw the most action last season with 11 starts. Junior-to-be Elijah Taylor and senior-to-be Pete Mokwuah, who each played in four games last season, are the only other defensive tackles on the roster with any game experience at Notre Dame.