Former Notre Dame RB/WR Jafar Armstrong lands at the University of Illinois

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

To begin the 2018 season, Jafar Armstrong held the role as Notre Dame’s starting running back. Three years later, Armstrong will look to do the same with a different college football program.

Armstrong will play next for the University of Illinois, announcing the news via Twitter on Friday. He announced on Jan. 2 his intention to enter the transfer portal. Armstrong could have up to two seasons of eligibility.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Armstrong quickly descended from his No. 1 spot on the depth chart. Competition and injuries played a role in Armstrong’s demotions. In 32 career games on the Irish, Armstrong rushed for 513 yards and nine touchdowns while catching 30 passes for 294 yards.

In 2018, Dexter Williams secured the featured role after returning from his four-game suspension to start the season. In 2019, Tony Jones Jr. leapfrogged Armstrong as the No. 1 option. Kyren Williams, Chris Tyree and C’Bo Flemister emerged as the top three running backs last season.

An infection in Armstrong’s left knee sidelined him for three games in 2018. He missed four games the following season after suffering a groin injury in the season opener at Louisville.

From Bishop Miege High in Mission, Kan., Armstrong signed into Notre Dame’s 2017 recruiting class. He did not see the field as a freshman and moved from wide receiver to running back. Last season, he returned to receiver.

Illinois pursued Armstrong during the recruiting process. The Illini hosted Armstrong for a recruiting visit on Jan. 30, 2016 before offering him a scholarship.

Last month, Illinois hired Bret Bielema as its new head football coach. He spent a few seasons in the NFL after serving as the head coach for Wisconsin and Arkansas.

Former Notre Dame running back Jafar Armstrong (8) runs the ball against Pittsburgh in a 45-3 win on Oct. 24.