Tracking Tristen Hoge and Notre Dame's football transfers
Tristen Hoge has been popping up in short videos on his father, Marty Hoge’s, Twitter feed lately.
It’s a twisted sort of sign that all is beginning to be right in the world again for the former Notre Dame center, long since rerouted to BYU via transfer.
The 6-foot-5, 310-pound now-right guard for the 22nd-ranked Cougars (2-0) will still be in spectator mode Friday night, though, when BYU hosts coach Skip Holtz’s Louisiana Tech team (2-0). But it’s progress, considering where Hoge was as recently as last Wednesday.
Marty Hoge took to Twitter that day to share that the case of COVID-19 Tristen contracted sometime after the Cougars’ season-opening 55-3 waxing of Navy on Sept. 7 eventually came with a side order of pneumonia.
“Those of you who are skeptical — ‘man, it’s just a cold or a cough or all this, and no effects’ —. Man, I’ve got to admit I was maybe one of them,” the elder Hoge said in a 2-minute, 20-second video he posted on Twitter.
“But when it hits home, you’ve got to keep it real. … You’ve got to take it serious. … This world needs to take it serious.”
BYU had enough COVID-19 cases heading into its Sept. 19 matchup with Army that the game was postponed. Tristen started the Navy game but was held out of Saturday’s 48-7 rout of Troy.
Hoge shares the distinction of being one of 11 transfers — six traditional, five grad transfers — from Notre Dame’s 24-man recruiting class from 2015. It’s the most attrition from the 11 classes ND head coach Brian Kelly has signed to date.
Another unusual distinction. Hoge is one of four from the class who is playing as a sixth-year senior in 2020. The others are safety Shaun Crawford, who stayed at Notre Dame, Minnesota defensive tackle Micah Dew-Treadway and Eastern Kentucky defensive tackle Elijah Taylor.
A fifth, defensive tackle Brandon Tiassum was on track to as well, but his school — NCAA Division II member Urbana University in Ohio — closed its doors for good after 170 years in business at the end of the spring semester.
Hoge was named Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year as a freshman at ND in 2015, then played in six games as a reserve in 2016 before electing to transfer.
He had to sit out 2017 to satisfy NCAA transfer rules after being denied his petition for immediate eligibility, then became a starter in 2018. That’s how 2019 started, but Hoge suffered a leg injury in the season opener and struggled to play through it.
After BYU’s fifth game, he was done for the season.
Louisiana Tech has a Notre Dame connection besides head coach Skip Holtz, himself a former Irish wide receiver and assistant coach. Former Notre Dame All-America safety Jeff Burris is the Bulldogs’ defensive backs coach.
Former Irish defensive coordinator Bob Diaco held that position at Tech last season, but he moved on to Purdue in the offseason.
Besides Hoge, there are lots of other Notre Dame transfers to track. Here’s a snapshot of all those on college football rosters in 2020:
CLASS OF 2015
• Micah Dew-Treadway (Minnesota): The 6-4, 315-pound defensive tackle started all 13 games for the Gophers in 2019 in his first season at his new school. He finished with 13 tackles, 2½ of those for losses.
Dew-Treadway played in 21 games as a reserve during his four years at Notre Dame, and he made two tackles — both coming in 2018.
The Gophers open the 2020 season at home on Oct. 24 against 23rd-ranked Michigan.
• Elijah Taylor (Eastern Kentucky): The 6-3, 280-pound defensive tackle has started all three games this season for the FCS-level Colonels (1-2) and has nine tackles total heading into Saturday’s game against Houston Baptist.
Taylor’s 2019 season ended in the season opener with Valparaiso because of injury. In his first season with the Colonels (2018), Taylor started eight of 11 games and recorded 24 tackles. He had four QB hurries, with 1 1/2 tackles for loss, including 0.5 sacks.
All three of his career tackles at Notre Dame came during one game, the 2016 season finale at USC.
Class of 2016
• Parker Boudreaux (UCF): The guy who pulled a school bus to reveal his initial college choice a little more than five years ago is still a social media sensation with more than 63,000 followers on Twitter.
His on-field performance was slower in developing, but the 6-4, 301-pound Orlando, Fla., product finally became a starter last season. And the offensive guard is expected to do so again this season once he gets past a concussion that’s kept him out of the 11th-ranked Knights’ first two games of 2020.
He’s listed as questionable for Saturday’s home opener with Tulsa.
Boudreaux had to sit out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer requirements after being denied a waiver for immediate eligibility. He then played in a reserve role and on special teams for UCF in 2018.
• Jonathan Jones (Toledo): The 5-11, 225-pound linebacker grad transferred to Toledo in January in search of playing time. Details of the Rockets’ abbreviated fall schedule has not yet been released other than a Nov. 7 start date for all MAC schools.
Jones played in 38 games during his ND career, primarily on special teams. After redshirting as a freshman, Jones recorded 10 tackles, with one tackle for a loss, and one pass breakup in 13 games as a sophomore in 2017; six tackles and one tackle for a loss in 12 games as a junior; and one tackle in 13 games last season as a senior.
• Deon McIntosh (Washington State): In his first season at his third school, the 6-foot, 190-pound McIntosh was the No. 2 running back option in 2019 on the 129th-ranked rushing attack (out of 130) in the FBS.
When the Cougars open their delayed and abbreviated season on Nov. 7, McIntosh figures to be the No. 2 option again.
Last season, he ran for 111 yards on 16 carries and a TD, caught 17 passes for 113 yards and two TDs, and ran the ball four times for 52 yards and a score.
In 2018, McIntosh played for NJCAA national champion East Mississippi Community College and rushed for 1,150 yards on 200 carries (5.8 per carry) for the Lions (12-0).
McIntosh ranked second in the NJCAA with 17 rushing touchdowns. He also had 19 catches for 113 yards in 2018.
McIntosh redshirted as a freshman at ND, bounced around between wide receiver and running back in the spring of 2017, then was a surprise performer in the fall of 2017 at running back. He was dismissed from the program by Irish coach Brian Kelly in January of 2018, after running for 368 yards on 65 carries and five TDs in eight games.
• D.J. Morgan (UConn): On Aug. 5, UConn became the first FBS school to cancel fall football. At the end of September, it’s only one of three schools that didn’t forge ahead or reverse field and opt back in. The other two are New Mexico State and Old Dominion.
There’s rumblings that the Huskies could play one or more games in a spring season, but there’s no concrete plan in place yet to make that happen. In the meantime, Morgan continues to practice a couple of times a week and work out three times a week with his teammates.
Last season, his first as a grad transfer at UConn, the 6-foot-2, 224-pound linebacker amassed 49 tackles, including seven for losses with two sacks, to go along with three pass deflections, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
Morgan came to Notre Dame as a safety and eventually morphed into a linebacker. However, he found minimal playing time at either spot (two career games) and left to grad transfer after three seasons without ever having recorded a statistic in a game.
• Spencer Perry (Northern Iowa): The FCS Panthers are committed to playing a spring schedule.
Last season, Perry’s first at this third school, the 6-3, 215-pound safety played in all 15 games, starting five, for a UNI team that reached the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs. He had 39 tackles, including two for losses, and an interception in 2019.
Perry spent the 2018 season at South Alabama, where he played in eight games — all but two as a reserve. He totaled 19 tackles.
In his lone season at Notre Dame (2016), Perry played in six games, mostly on special teams, without recording a tackle or any other statistic. He sat out 2017 to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.
• Kevin “KJ” Stepherson (Transfer portal): The former Irish wide receiver prodigy resurfaced at FCS school Jacksonville State last season after not having played football anywhere since the 2017 season.
He played in nine of the Gamecocks’ 12 games in 2019, starting three, and was the team’s third-leading receiver with 36 receptions for 479 yards and six TDs.
Stepherson plopped himself into the transfer portal in July and apparently has yet to emerge.
As a freshman at Notre Dame, in 2016, he caught 25 passes for 462 yards and five TDs. The 6-1, 185-pounder was suspended for the first four games of 2017 and also ND’s Citrus Bowl appearance on Jan. 1, 2018. In between, he had 19 receptions for 359 yards and five TDs in eight games.
Kelly dismissed him in January of 2018 after Stepherson was arrested twice in December in what was the beginning of a long stretch of legal troubles.
CLASS OF 2017
• C.J. Holmes (Kent State): Holmes is at his third school after grad transferring from Penn State in June.
The 6-foot, 215-pound defensive back was a running back at Notre Dame as a freshman in 2017 and played in eight games before being dismissed from the program in January of 2018.
When he transferred to Penn State that summer, he did so as a walk-on.
Holmes then sat out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer requirements, during which time he flipped to safety.
Last season Holmes played in eight games for Penn State, primarily on special teams, and he made two tackles.
The Golden Flashes have not revealed their 2020 schedule after the Mid-American Conference recently reversed its decision to cancel fall football.
• Jonathon MacCollister (West Florida): After being medically disqualified this offseason at UCF with multiple concussions, MacCollister jumped into the transfer portal in search of a school that would clear him to play.
The former Notre Dame defensive end, who morphed into a tight end at UCF, landed at West Florida. The NCAA Division II school, located in Pensacola, Fla., played the first football game in school history in 2016, then won a national championship three years later.
Although he is not listed on the team’s latest roster, a school official confirmed this week that MacCollister is enrolled at WFU and is a member of the football team.
The Argonauts postponed fall football because of COVID-19 with the hopes of playing in the spring.
MacCollister played in six games last season for UCF as a backup tight end. His lone career catch for the Knights was a four-yard TD reception.
He did not see any action in his only season at ND (2017), when he was a defensive end.
• Michael Young, Cincinnati: The 5-10, 190-pound redshirt junior is 15th-ranked UC’s leading receiver two games into the season, with seven catches for 70 yards and a TD.
Young graduated from ND in May, a month after selecting Cincinnati as his landing spot coming out of the transfer portal.
Young played in all 26 games of his first two seasons at Notre Dame (2017-18). He caught 11 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman and sophomore. Then he broke his collarbone in August of 2019 and missed the first three games of the 2019 season.
He returned Sept. 28 against Virginia, started the next week against Bowling Green, then played in a reserve role Oct. 12 against USC. He had a combined six catches for 21 yards in that stretch.
Young’s reduced role coaxed him into the transfer portal.
CLASS OF 2018
• Derrik Allen (Georgia Tech): The former four-star safety will get to face his former team on Halloween at Bobby Dodd Stadium on the Tech campus, a game originally scheduled at the Atlanta Falcons’ Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Allen left the Irish roster five days into training camp in August of 2019 and announced his intentions to play for Georgia Tech three days later. After sitting out the 2019 season, the 6-2, 213-pound redshirt freshman has been a reserve for the Yellow Jackets (1-2, 0-1 ACC), with two tackles in three games.
Tech has an open date Saturday.
• Noah Boykin (UMass): The 6-1, 180-pounder redshirt sophomore cornerback will likely see his first college game action sometime this fall as UMass is still busy piecing together a fall schedule after initially committing to a spring schedule.
Boykin did not play as a freshman at Notre Dame in 2018 and had to sit out 2019 at UMass to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.
• Luke Jones (Arkansas): The 6-5, 293-pound redshirt sophomore had his chance to face his former Notre Dame teammates wiped off the schedule by COVID-19 concerns. Originally, ND and the Razorbacks were to meet Sept. 12 at Notre Dame Stadium in the Irish home opener.
Notre Dame instead hosted Duke that day.
After not playing as a freshman center at ND in 2018 and sitting out the season in 2019 at Arkansas to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Jones finally got his first college snaps (4) last Saturday in a 37-10 home loss to Georgia.
Jones now plays offensive guard, and he’s listed as the co-No. 2 option at left guard for Arkansas’ Saturday road test at No. 16 Mississippi State.
• Phil Jurkovec (Boston College): Jurkovec stands 28th nationally in passing efficiency, 12 spots ahead of ND starter Ian Book, heading into BC’s ACC matchup Saturday with 12th-ranked North Carolina (1-0, 1-0 ACC).
In a road blowout of Duke and a home escape from Texas State, Jurkovec has completed 70 percent of his passes (43-of-61) for 510 yards and three TDs with two interceptions. The 6-5, 226-pound redshirt sophomore is BC’s second-leading rusher with 44 yards on 20 carries and two TDs.