Recovering Notre Dame linebacker Shayne Simon enters transfer portal
Last weekend during an early bowl practice, Notre Dame linebacker Shayne Simon still wasn’t medically cleared to put on pads to practice with his teammates.
So in street clothes, the 6-foot-3, 233-pound senior went through the stretching and sprinting of warmups anyway, showing where his heart wanted him to be.
In the end, it didn’t obscure the reality of how he might fit — or not — into the 2022 ND linebacker picture. And on Saturday night, the product of St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, N.J., announced via Twitter that he is submitting his name into the NCAA transfer portal.
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He will leave the Irish roster after No. 5 ND’s Jan. 1 Fiesta Bowl matchup with ninth-ranked Oklahoma State (11-2).
Because he redshirted this season and logged a COVID exemption in 2020, Simon will have up to two years of eligibility at his next stop.
“To my teammates, thank you for creating an amazing brotherhood that has that has created this program to greater heights,” Simon tweeted. “Coach Freeman, thank you, especially, for your support.”
Simon played in 31 games for the Irish (11-1), but just one this season — the 41-38 overtime win at Florida State on Sept. 5 in which he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.
His best game — a career-high four tackles — came during a 47-40 overtime upset of No. 1 Clemson, Nov. 7, 2020, at Notre Dame Stadium. For his career, Simon collected 27 tackles — 14 of them in 2020 — three tackles for loss and five pass breakups.
Simon was one of the jewels of the 2018 recruiting class, a four-star prospect who was ranked No. 48 nationally regardless of position by 247Sports and the No. 3 outside linebacker. Rivals ranked him 168 and 14, respectively.
A cycle after ND targeted eventual All-American Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah as the first player to be specifically recruited to play the rover linebacker position, Simon became the second player, in the 2018 cycle.
It never was a comfortable fit, and Simon ended up bouncing around primarily between the two inside linebacker positions, mostly in a reserve or timeshare role.
The Notre Dame linebacker position group is getting an impressive infusion of talent for next season, with projected starting weakside linebacker Marist Liufau coming back from a season-ending injury himself, and what recruiting analyst Tom Lemming has described as ND’s strongest linebacker recruiting haul in decades.
That group comprises Joshua Burnham, Jaylen Sneed, Niuafe Tuihalamaka and Nolan Ziegler — all four-star prospects and all four set to enroll early at Notre Dame next month.
Follow ND Insider Eric Hansen on Twitter: @EHansenNDI