Spencer Rattler on fellow transfer QB Sam Hartman: 'Great dude'
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For what it’s worth, South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler seems to approve of Sam Hartman, his Wake Forest counterpart who reportedly entered the transfer portal this week.
“I met Sam at the Manning Passing Academy this summer,” Rattler said Thursday morning ahead of the Gator Bowl against No. 21 Notre Dame. “Great dude. I hung out a lot, threw with him, competed with him. He’s a great guy.”
Hartman, named MVP of last year’s TaxSlayer Gator Bowl after leading the Deacons to a blowout win over Rutgers, is widely linked to Notre Dame, which happens to be in the market for quarterback help via the transfer portal.
Rattler, who transferred from Oklahoma after losing his job to then freshman Caleb Williams, was less enthusiastic about discussing the link he shares with Hartman as documentary subjects in “QB1: Beyond the Lights.”
Justin Fields and Jake Fromm were the other future standouts among the nine high school quarterbacks profiled during director Peter Berg’s 30-episode series that aired from 2017-19.
“It was what it was,” Rattler said. “I never talked to Sam about that. … That’s really all I have to say about that.”
The end arrives for Jayson Ademilola
Jayson Ademilola’s Notre Dame career is over.
Freeman confirmed Thursday that the fifth-year defensive tackle will miss the Gator Bowl “due to injury.” The Irish were already missing consensus All-America defensive end Isaiah Foskey, who declared for the NFL Draft.
Ademilola and Foskey had 25 career starts apiece, tied for the team lead.
Ademilola, who missed his final home game against Boston College while in concussion protocol, played 45 snaps in the season-closing loss at USC. He also was limited by a rib contusion in mid-October games against Stanford and UNLV.
Ademilola (55 games) and twin brother Justin Ademilola (49 games) have combined for 240 tackles (33 tackles for loss) and 16.5 sacks in this five-year run. Justin Ademilola, a potential Foskey replacement who had a redshirt season in 2018, has yet to announce if he plans to return for his final season of eligibility.
Brandon Joseph questionable
Safety Brandon Joseph, the Northwestern transfer and 2020 All-American who has been slowed by a high ankle sprain down the stretch, is questionable for the Gator Bowl.
Freeman said Joseph practiced all week but will be a game-time decision. Joseph missed both the Navy and Boston College games but was able to play 37 defensive snaps at USC.
“We’ll see how he feels,” Freeman said.
Joseph, injured in the first half against Clemson on Nov. 5, had planned to be a one-and-done at Notre Dame after a whirlwind portal courtship last December. However, his production has been down all year, aside from a game-opening interception return for a touchdown at Syracuse on Oct. 29.
Joseph added a leaping interception in the end zone against the Orange, but that was wiped out by penalty. He also made a resounding sideline tackle on Jaxson Smith-Ngiba, Ohio State’s star receiver, that fired up the Irish defense in an upset bid that wasn’t extinguished until the final quarter of the season opener.
Howard Cross can relate
Howard Cross III, who led the Irish interior defensive line with 430 snaps and 33 tackles, knows better than most what Joseph is experiencing.
Cross suffered a high ankle sprain in practice during the bye week on Sept. 26 and still wears a brace on his right ankle as a precaution. Cross said he strained a different part of his ankle a month later at Syracuse but has mostly been healthy since the Clemson game forward.
“From what I’ve been told, a high ankle sprain is a little more severe and it hurts a lot more,” Cross said. “If you twist your ankle and you can’t really walk, it’s probably a high ankle sprain. I learned that the hard way. I rested it, I was being careful with it, but if you are able to overcome it like I did, then you can really do anything. I proved to myself that no matter what injury I have, I can still hold my own against people.”
No opt-out for Jarrett Patterson
Jarrett Patterson, Notre Dame’s second-team All-America left guard and team captain, was asked what went into his decision to play in the Gator Bowl.
“I really had no thought of opting out or not practicing, anything like that,” Patterson said. “I wanted to finish this thing off the right way and play my last game as a Notre Dame football player.”
Patterson, set to make his 46th career start, joins sixth-year right guard Josh Lugg (33rd career start) in what promises to me an emotional afternoon for the two program stalwarts. Patterson missed the season opener at Ohio State with a sprained foot but managed to play through the pain the rest of the season.
“The way I look at it, I have one more opportunity to play with this group,” Patterson said. “Despite all the injuries, passing on an opportunity — the injuries come and go, but the memories last forever.”
While Patterson has NFL aspirations, sitting out would’ve kept him from one last shared experience with his teammates.
“Especially for the other guys in the locker room who are going to move on later in life, not even try to go to the NFL,” he said. “Playing their last football game is going to be special for those guys as well. It’s not just for me. It’s for the other guys, too.”
Follow Notre Dame football writer Mike Berardino on Twitter @MikeBerardino.