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Olsen brothers transfer from Notre Dame

Joe Hettler | Monday, August 25, 2003

Greg Olsen, a freshman tight end on the football team, asked for his release from the Monday morning and will transfer to another school, two days after older brother Chris left the Irish to enroll at the University of Virginia, father Chris Olsen Sr. confirmed Monday afternoon.

Both brothers were highly-recruited out of high school, with Chris Olsen being a top 15 quarterback recruit and Greg being the top tight end recruit in the nation, according to many publications.

Chris Olsen Sr. said that Chris called him last week and told his dad that he had four years left to play football and Notre Dame may not be the place for him. After debating for another day, Chris decided to transfer to Virginia, a school that had recruited him heavily out of high school. Under NCAA rules, the sophomore must sit out one year, and then he will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Chris Olsen Sr. said that Greg, a freshman who had yet to take one class at Notre Dame, then made his decision to change schools in part because his older brother had left.

“One of the reasons [for Greg transferring] was the fact that Chris left . [Notre Dame] wasn’t the right place,” Chris Olsen Sr. said.

Chris told the Associated Press he left because, “I felt like I was possibly not the guy they were looking for in the future and I respect that.”

Neither Chris nor Greg could be reached for comment.

Chris Olsen Sr. also said that the relationship between Chris and the coaching staff was not an issue in the decision to transfer. However, Irish coach Tyrone Willingham said he would not comment on the relationship between Chris and Greg and the Notre Dame coaching staff. He did say that the team would move forward without the two players.

Notre Dame offensive coordinator Bill Diedrick said he was “extremely disappointed” that Chris and Greg were transferring, but the situation was in the past now. He also said that he was comfortable with Chris as the No. 2 quarterback and that Greg may have played this season.

“I think [Greg] could have made some contributions, but that’s past history now,” Diedrick said.

Chris Olsen Sr. said that Greg has shown strong interest in the University of Miami (Fla.), but had not enrolled at the school as of Monday. Miami recruited Greg out of high school and even offered him a place on the team during Greg’s sophomore year of high school when the Hurricanes were coached by Butch Davis.

The loss of Chris gives Notre Dame three quarterbacks — starter Carlyle Holiday, junior Pat Dillingham and freshman Brady Quinn. Diedrick said that he has not selected a backup for Holiday yet.

At tight end, fifth-year senior Gary Godsey is battling a leg injury. Jared Clark and Billy Palmer are the most likely to see action this season at tight end, with a number of players backing them up, including sophomores Anthony Fasano and Marcus Freeman.

Chris was a first-team all-state quarterback in New Jersey, throwing for 1,824 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior. He also lead his team to a 31-4 record as a starter and participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Greg was a USA Today first team All-American selection and caught 38 passes for 703 yards and 14 touchdowns during his senior season at Wayne Hills high school.

He was also a top 10 recruit at any position by The Sporting News.