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Irish land Stanford transfer Trevor Speights at running back

| Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Editor’s Note: A version of this story was published online May 29.

Notre Dame football has landed another graduate transfer for the 2020-21 season. Trevor Speights, a former three-star recruit and the 19th-rated running back in the 2016 class per 247Sports.com, announced his decision to join the Fighting Irish in a tweet Thursday night. He now joins former Northwestern wide receiver Bennett Skowronek, former NC State cornerback Nick McCloud and former Ohio State safety Isaiah Pryor as the fourth graduate transfer on the Irish roster.

Speights attended Stanford the past three seasons. After not seeing the field in his freshman campaign, he saw action in the 2017 and 2018 seasons before an injury sidelined him for virtually all of 2019. In January he announced his decision to transfer as part of a mass hiatus that saw 15 Cardinal players elect to enter the transfer portal.

The Texas native was underwhelming at Stanford. He appeared in 11 games as a sophomore and nine the following season. In 2017 he recorded 142 yards rushing on 36 attempts (3.9 yards per carry) and in 2018 posted just 221 yards on 59 attempts (3.7 yards per carry), including the lone score of his career. He has also caught seven career passes for 54 yards.

Speights’s commitment comes after the Irish lost to Clemson in the sweepstakes for 2021’s No. 1 all-purpose back, Will Shipley. Speights will be immediately eligible for the Irish and will likely have one year of eligibility in South Bend barring a medical waiver for a sixth season.

He was recruited to Stanford by former Cardinal running backs coach Lance Taylor, who currently holds the same position for Notre Dame and rekindled the relationship soon after Speights announced his intention to transfer. The Notre Dame scholarship depth chart at running back now includes Speights, senior Jafar Armstrong, juniors Jahmir Smith and C’Bo Flemister, sophomore Kyren Williams and incoming freshman Chris Tyree, plus senior Avery Davis who could see action at both receiver and the running back position in the backfield next season.

Armstrong is expected to be the lead back next year and, like Speights, has an injury history. The rest of Notre Dame’s backs are largely unproven, although both Flemister and Smith have more career touchdowns than Speights with five and two, respectively. Tyree is a highly touted four-star recruit and a high school state champion and track star, and Davis has shown the speed and pass catching ability to be a nice utility player on offense.

All this to say Speights may have trouble breaking out in a crowded backfield that is looking for someone to fill the role of former Irish lead backs such as Josh Adams in 2017, Dexter Williams in 2018 and Tony Jones Jr. last season.

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