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Notre Dame Has Four Enter Portal as Transfer Madness Begins

Written by Phil Kowalis|Writer|Twitter/X: @PhilKowalisIT

Photo by The Irish Tribune


Less than 48 hours after their regular season ending 56-23 victory over the Stanford Cardinal that improved Notre Dame's record to 9-3, the Irish saw three members of the roster announce their intention to enter the transfer portal. Wide Receiver Chris Tyree, Center Zeke Correll and Defensive Lineman Nana Osafo-Mensah all announced their intention to enter the transfer portal and seek new opportunities for their final season of eligibility on Monday.

The Trio was joined by Defensive Lineman Aidan Keanaaina who entered the portal on Tuesday.


Reaction to the news of the players entry into the portal has brought mixed reaction from fans on Notre Dame social media, ranging from those who think that Marcus Freeman has lost the locker room and that the players are abandoning a sinking ship, to those that think the four are leaving because they see their playing time being reduced due to the rising talent of Notre Dame's underclassmen. Let's take a closer look at the four players that have entered the transfer portal, their contributions to the Irish this season, and what impact their departure may have on the Irish as they prepare for the upcoming bowl game as well as next season.





Zeke Correll, Center

Correll had started 23 straight games beginning with the season opener of the 2022 season until he was sidelined with a concussion during the first half of the contest against Clemson.

Correll's concussion symptoms forced him to miss the final two games of the regular season against Wake Forest and Stanford.. In Correll's absence, sophomore Ashton Craig has stepped into the lineup and has been impressive in his two starts against the Demon Deacons and the Cardinal. Craig's impressive play will help ease the transition to a new center heading into the bowl season and into the 2024 campaign. In all likelihood, the writing was likely on the wall for Correll.


Nana Osafo-Mensah, Defensive Line

Osafo-Mensah saw action at defensive end, backing up Ohio State transfer Javontae Jean-Baptiste for the Irish in the 2023 campaign. The Senior from Fort Worth, Texas recorded his most impressive season of his career totaling 20 tackles 12 of the solo variety and was also credited with three sacks. Osafo-Mensah would have been a candidate for the starting defensive end position in 2024, but the impressive play of sophomore Joshua Burnham and the prospect of sophomore Tyson Ford and freshman Brenan Vernon pushing for more playing time make the future playing time of Osafo-Mensah far from certain.





Aidan Keanaaina, Defensive Line

Keanaaina saw limited action for the Irish in 2023, totaling seven tackles and recording a half sack in mop up duty for the Irish. Keanaaina's prospect for playing time in the 2024 season looked to be slim, as the Irish could possibly return both starters at defensive tackle from the 2023 season as Rylie Mills and Howard Cross both have eligibility remaining - although Cross and Mills could (and likely will) declare for the upcoming NFL Draft. In addition, the Irish also anticipate the return of Donovan Hinish and Gabe Rubio to the mix at a talented defensive tackle position.


Chris Tyree, Wide Receiver

Tyree is undoubtedly the biggest loss of the four players to enter their names into the transfer portal thus far. Tyree made the successful transition from running back to wide receiver this season and led the Irish in receiving yards with 484 yards and finished third on the team with 26 catches, trailing only freshman wide receiver Rico Flores Jr. and tight end Mitchell Evans who finished the regular season with 27 and 29 catches respectfully.

Tyree also finished the regular season tied for third in touchdowns with three.

Tyree's departure leaves not only a void in production to fill going forward, but more importantly will be the loss of leadership and experience in what is and will continue to be a young wide receiver room that is inexperienced but loaded with potential.

The emergence of freshman Jordan Faison who was quite possibly Notre Dame's best wide receiver over the last half of the season undoubtedly played a role in Tyree's decision to enter the transfer portal.


Summary

In my opinion the departure of the four players to the transfer portal is nothing more than an example of the current state that exists in college football, and not as some suggest a sign of impending doom for the Notre Dame football program under Marcus Freeman.

The transfer portal has provided a convenient escape hatch for players seeking what they see as greener pastures elsewhere, where they can find playing time in what is in most cases the players final year of eligibility.

That is the case for the four now former members of the Notre Dame football team that have entered the transfer portal this week. Of these four, only Tyree had a starting position locked down entering the 2024 season.

Both Osafo-Mensah and Correll would be locked in heated position battles next season, and even Tyree faced the possibility of being passed up on the depth chart by the conclusion of the 2024 season by a talented group of young receivers.

The departures this week mark the beginning of what will be a turbulent period of roster upheaval as more players can be expected to both depart and arrive through the portal before the beginning of the 2024 season.




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