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Avery Sebastian sidelined early after transfer

| Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sebastian 20150905, 201509056, Avery Sebastian, Chris Collins, Football, Football 2015, Longhorns, Notre Dame Stadium, vs. TexasChris Collins | The Observer

Graduate student safety Avery Sebastian’s path to Notre Dame stadium wasn’t a traditional one.

The McDonough, Georgia, native spent four seasons with the Golden Bears before moving to South Bend for this season, taking advantage of the NCAA rule that allows graduate students to move to another program without sitting out a season if pursuing a degree not offered at their first institution.

Sebastian was reunited with junior defensive lineman Isaac Rochell, who he played with at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in 2010, this year at Notre Dame after graduating from California with a degree in sociology in December 2014.

While at Cal, he had a mixed bag of results — he played as a freshman and emerged in 2012 as a sophomore, starting four games in addition getting on the field as part of the special-teams unit.

Going into his junior year, Sebastian was slated as the Golden Bears’ strong safety, and started the season brightly, recording 10 tackles and an interception in the season opener against Northwestern. However, Sebastian suffered a season-ending injury in the second game, giving him the year of eligibility that allowed him to arrive in South Bend.

After starting the season as a backup safety for Notre Dame, Sebastian has been sidelined since the season-opening, 38-3 win over Texas on Sept. 5. It is possible, however, he returns to the field for Notre Dame before the season is out after Irish head coach Brian Kelly announced Tuesday he was cleared to return to practice.

Despite being cleared, Sebastian may not play the remainder of the season — with the Irish set to lose graduate student Matthias Farley and senior Elijah Shumate at the position, Kelly said Sebastian could sit out the next three games, plus postseason play, so he could potentially return to the Irish as a sixth-year player next season.

“Well, we’re going to get him going,” Kelly said. “If we need to play him, because we need to win games, we’re going to play him. But I’m not going to run him down on the kickoff team, you know. We would preserve his year unless he needs to go in there and start for us and help us win these last three games.”

Sebastian was unavailable for an interview.

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