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August 31, 2010The Notre Dame career of Shaq Evans won't get back on track.
The sophomore receiver will transfer out of the Irish program, according to head coach Brian Kelly. Evans met with Kelly on Monday after failing to establish himself in the slot receiver rotation, with the former four-star recruit likely headed to UCLA or Oregon, per a source. Kelly said he would release Evans to any school.
"I'm disappointed anytime we lose a player we've invested a lot of time and effort with," Kelly said. "It would be easy for me to say he just needed to be patient, but he didn't' see it that way.
"I don't know that it was anything he couldn't do, maybe some (other receivers) were able to move a little bit quicker along the process but we were happy with his development he was moving in the right direction."
Evans appeared primed to make a run at playing time during training camp with the receiver rotation open beyond starters Michael Floyd and Theo Riddick. But the sophomore never made a move up while others did as Duval Kamara and TJ Jones separated themselves in the competition for the final starting spot.
The coaching staff moved Evans to the slot, where he was stuck behind Riddick and Roby Toma.
Still, Notre Dame wanted to find six reliable receivers before kickoff against Purdue, meaning even if Evans didn't earn a starting nod there was opportunity for playing time. But when offensive coordinator Charley Molnar said last week that Toma had secured the fifth receiver slot behind Floyd, Riddick, Kamara and Jones, it pushed Evans further to the fringe.
That's not a place Evans wanted to be after getting yanked out of the lineup following Notre Dame's bye week last season.
After playing in the season's first five games, including four catches for 34 yards against Washington, Evans didn't see another rep at receiver all season. While former head coach Charlie Weis protested that Evans wasn't in the "dog house" it was hard explain how the former national recruit could have fallen so far, so fast.
A year later, Evans is out.
Kelly didn't try to convince the departed wide out to stay.
"I don't know that my role is really to talk somebody out of quitting but maybe pointing out have you considered this," Kelly said. "I will always say this, 'Have you talked to your family? What are your family's thoughts about this?' If they haven't talked to their family, that's a red flag for me. He said he did, he talked to his family about it and that's why we wish him the best.
"This was not a two-way conversation, this was a one-way conversation."
The former U.S. Army All-American was a recruiting coup for Notre Dame two years ago when the Irish plucked the Inglewood product out of Southern California and away from USC. Evans was ranked as a four-star recruit out of high school and the nation's No. 160 prospect overall.
Evans' departure leaves Notre Dame with 10 scholarship receivers.