Notre Dame RB Jahmir Smith steps away from team to improve mental health

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Jahmir Smith stepped away from Notre Dame’s football team to focus on his mental health.

The junior running back shed some light on his departure from the team, which head coach Brian Kelly addressed on Monday, with a statement Wednesday on Twitter.

“Talking about mental health issues is a difficult subject matter for many,” Smith shared on Twitter. “For those struggling with mental health, asking for help can seem discouraging, but it is the first step towards improving. I have decided to take this first step, and after speaking with my family and Coach Kelly, I have decided that it is best for me to take some time away from football to work on improving my mental health.

“I would like to thank Coach Kelly, the football coaches and staff, and the University of Notre Dame for this amazing opportunity to play football and pursue a degree at this elite institution. I am uncertain of my future as a player here at Notre Dame, but at this time I am directing my focus towards completing my studies and working on my well being with the support and resources from university health services.”

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Smith last played in a game for the Irish in the season opener against Duke in which he rushed five times for 15 yards. On Monday, Kelly said the staff would have further conversations with Smith about his plans moving forward.

Smith came to Notre Dame as a three-star recruit out of Sanford (N.C.) Lee Country in the 2018 class. He played in two games as a freshman that year against Wake Forest and Stanford and recorded his first six carries for 28 yards and caught one pass for 14 yards. Last season, Smith played in 10 games and rushed 42 times for 180 yards and two touchdowns.

Last week, Notre Dame women’s basketball player Danielle Cosgrove announced she was taking a leave of absence from the team to focus on her mental health. She hopes to return to the team for the spring semester of the 2020-21 school year.

Notre Dame running back Jahmir Smith (34) said he stepped away from the Irish football team to improve his mental health.