Analysis: Sizing up cornerback options after Landen Bartleson's exit from Notre Dame roster
The most tenuous position on the Notre Dame football team heading into 2020 became a little bit more so on Saturday.
Less than 24 hours after Irish cornerback signee Landen Bartleson was arrested in Danville, Ky., on preliminary charges of burglary, criminal mischief and receiving stolen property over $10,000, he was released by ND from his National Letter of Intent.
”After reviewing all of the facts available to us and speaking with the Bartleson family, we informed them that Landen will no longer be welcomed as a member of our football program,” Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said Saturday in a statement.
”This incident is very much out of character for the man we have come to know, and we wish Landen and his family well.”
Bartleson, 18, and two unidentified 16-year-old juveniles were taken into custody Friday by Danville police and are accused of breaking into a Boyle County business and stealing several guns, per the police report.
The trio is also linked to a vehicle theft that occurred on the campus of Centre College in Danville.
Bartleson is a 6-foot, 181-pound cornerback from Harrodsburg, Ky., who was a standout for Boyle County High School in Danville. The three-star recruit signed with the Irish last month during the early signing window.
The Irish still have quantity — eight cornerbacks on the roster — but Bartleson’s exit gives them one less project who could turn into a pleasant surprise.
And Notre Dame needs more than one of those to go along with sixth-year player and returning starter Shaun Crawford and junior-to-be TaRiq Bracy, the only other cornerback on the roster who has seen significant and/or high-leverage playing time.
All six of the others have freshman eligibility in 2020, including 2019 redshirts Cam Hart, CJ Wallace and Isaiah Rutherford. Among the newcomers, Caleb Offord and Ramon Henderson are already in school at Notre Dame as early enrollees.
Fellow signee Clarence Lewis joins them in June,
The Irish lose three starters from their secondary off a 2019 Irish team that finished 11-2 — cornerback Troy Pride Jr., and safeties Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott. All three of them played in Saturday’s Senior Bowl at Mobile, Ala.
Freshman All-American Kyle Hamilton — who achieved that status, despite garnering only a single start in 2019 — leads the next wave of Irish defensive backs.
Notre Dame could double back and pursue a high school cornerback prospect ahead of the late national signing day of Feb. 5. The grad transfer market is also an option.