FOOTBALL

Notre Dame CB Noah Boykin puts his name into the transfer portal

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Fourteen months after Noah Boykin stunned the recruiting analyst industry and even surprised the Notre Dame football coaching staff by signing with the Irish, the cornerback is suddenly an impending memory.

The 6-foot-1, 179-pound cornerback from Woodson High in Washington, D.C., has put his name in the transfer portal, according to a source familiar with the situation, with the intention of resuming his college football career elsewhere.

He becomes the second member of the 2018-enrolling freshman class to exit the Irish roster in the past couple of weeks, following center Luke Jones into the portal. That puts the Irish scholarship count at 86, one more than the NCAA-mandated maximum they need to satisfy by the first day of fall-semester classes.

Jones, incidentally, tweeted out Thursday that he’s found his next stop. The Little Rock, Ark., product announced he’ll transfer to Arkansas and start classes there this summer.

Boykin was by far the second-highest-rated prospect in a vaunted five-man cornerback class in the 2018 recruiting cycle. Rivals rated him as the nation’s No. 21 cornerback prospect, while 247Sports dubbed him No. 25. Both services had him as a four-star recruit.

However, it was 2018 early enrollee Houston Griffith and the other three less-celebrated cornerbacks who gained significant traction this spring on the depth chart, including Joe Wilkins Jr. at wide receiver.

Griffith finished the spring as the starting boundary cornerback, opposite returning starter Troy Pride Jr., after dabbling at nickel in 2018.

TaRiq Bracy actually played some high-leverage downs in the 2018 season and is competing to be in the two-deeps at cornerback in 2019. DJ Brown moved to safety and finished the spring as the No. 2 option at free safety behind returning starter Alohi Gilman.

Boykin took reps this spring with the No. 3 defense at a position that’s only going to get deeper over the summer, with the addition of June-arriving freshmen Isaiah Rutherford and K.J. Wallace, and the presumed return from injury of grad senior-to-be Shaun Crawford and senior-to-be Donte Vaughn.

During his recruitment, Boykin originally committed to Maryland. When he backed out of that commitment, the expectation from the analysts at Rivals and 247Sports was that he’d land at either Virginia or Florida.

ND cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght even had done his signing day meeting with the media in anticipation of the Irish getting the four cornerback prospects sans Boykin, before Boykin pulled the February signing day surprise.

“Todd Lyght did an incredible job of staying with this process with Noah,” head coach Brian Kelly would say later in the day after Boykin indeed signed.

Cornerback Noah Boykin (16) looks to make the tackle on Mick Assaf (32) during the 90th Blue-Gold Game last Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.