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June 24, 2009Joseph Fauria's sophomore season is over before it began.
On Wednesday, Notre Dame announced what had been rumored for months, that the tight end from Encino, Calif., would not play for the Irish this fall. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound athlete did not return to campus for summer school this week with his teammates, nor will he join them in the huddle in the coming months.
"Joseph won't be with us this fall but I hope to have him return for the spring semester," said head coach Charlie Weis in a statement.
While Fauria didn't factor into Notre Dame's game plans much last season, he appeared primed for a big role backing up Kyle Rudolph. Despite playing sparingly as a freshman, seeing action in just three games, the former four-star prospect passed Mike Ragone during spring practice. Fauria worked with the starters more than the junior, who suffered a knee injury last summer that knocked him out for the season.
That injury, followed by Will Yeatman's dismissal, left Notre Dame with just one game-ready tight end in Rudolph, who became the first freshman in school history to start a season opener. Even if Ragone bucks his injury trend to remain healthy, the Irish would have just two capable tight ends this season.
Freshmen Tyler Eifert and Jake Golic round out the depth chart along with walk-on Bobby Burger.
Notre Dame cited "personal reasons" for Fauria's absence, although sources tell Irish Illustrated that a disciplinary matter within the University led to the tight end's suspension.