Sixth year not an option for Notre Dame's Jarrett Grace


SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame graduate student linebacker Jarrett Grace will not pursue a sixth year of eligibility after being informed he does not fit the NCAA’s requirements for an additional season. 

Grace suffered a severe, devastating broken leg against Arizona State in 2013 and missed Notre Dame’s final seven games that year plus the entire 2014 season. He redshirted the 2011 season, and because he still played half a season in 2013, he wasn’t eligible to apply for a sixth year waiver from the NCAA.

The Cincinnati native had previously expressed a hope to play again for Notre Dame next fall, but his final collegiate game will be the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. 

“I have no regrets for this season,” Grace said. “It’s unfortunate I won’t be back but I can still give to Notre Dame once I leave this place.”

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Grace was one of Notre Dame’s more inspirational figures this fall, as he returned to the field after working through a grueling rehab process that saw him undergo a pair of surgeries and essentially have to re-learn how to run again. With graduate student captain Joe Schmidt locked in as the team’s starting Mike linebacker, Grace’s biggest contributions came on special teams, though he did play a significant role in muting Navy’s offense in the second half of Notre Dame’s Oct. 10 win over the Mids. 

Applying for that sixth year was always in the back of Grace’s mind, but he said he didn’t think about it much just in case 2015 did wind up being his final season at Notre Dame. Grace found out a little under a month ago that he wasn’t a candidate for a sixth year, though there is something serendipitous about his final game coming against his home-state team that he grew up watching. 

“Last game, regardless, you’re going to be jacked up,” Grace said, “but my last game happens to be Ohio State so I’m extremely jacked up.” 

Grace will remain in South Bend after the season to complete his Master’s degree and train at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex with an eye on giving the NFL a shot. Chances are, Grace won’t get an invite to the NFL Combine, but he’ll get an opportunity to work out for what likely will be a gaggle of scouts at Notre Dame’s pro day this spring. 

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While he won’t play another down in college after New Year’s Day, he’s not ready to give up playing football without a fight. 

“Hopefully somebody will give me a shot,” Grace said. “That’s all I want, just a shot to prove I can play.”

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