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NCAA Football

USC Running Back Amir Carlisle to Transfer to Notre Dame

Earlier in the day, the Irish got a commitment from safety prospect Elijah Shumate at the Army All-American Bowl. Saturday got even better for Brian Kelly and his coaching staff when the South Bend Tribune revealed that running back Amir Carlisle plans to transfer from USC to Notre Dame.

Here are the details of the process that Carlisle will have to go through, according to the South Bend Tribune.

Carlisle will transfer to Notre Dame and will have three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2013 season. He will enroll at ND for the spring 2012 semester, which begins Jan. 17. Carlisle must sit out the 2012 season to satisfy NCAA transfer requirements.

There have been rumors of a player planning to transfer to Notre Dame for more than a week now. There were a number of names mentioned, but not a concrete one until this story came out this afternoon.

A four-star recruit coming out of The Kings Academy in California, Carlisle was being looked at by both USC and Notre Dame during last year’s recruiting season. Carlisle liked the Irish, but he picked the Trojans, despite having family ties to the Midwest region.

When he committed to Southern Cal last year, Amir’s dad Duane was the head strength and conditioning coach for the 49ers, but he no longer holds that position and is now the director of sports performance at Purdue. Being close to his father might have something to do with the younger Carlisle transferring to campus in South Bend.

Carlisle was highly thought of by USC head coach Lane Kiffin and his staff so much so that the running back was given consideration to be the Trojans starter this past season at tailback, but an ankle injury kept him out for the first three games. He would return for the Arizona State game, but would hurt his ankle again and suffered a sprain of his MCL.

The running back ended up with a brace on his knee for the rest of the season. His only real good game of the 2011 campaign came in garbage time against Colorado where the freshman run for 90 yards on only 10 carries against a really bad Buffaloes defense. He also had a pair of catches, one of which went for a touchdown.

That ability to catch the ball out of the backfield might make him an attractive option at the slot receiver for Kelly’s offense. Robby Toma and Theo Riddick will both be out of eligibility after next season, which means Carlisle could be a favorite to win the job for start of the 2013 season.

Whether he plays in the slot or stays at running back, this is a real nice get for the Irish. When healthy, Carlisle is an electric athlete with terrific speed. With having three years left of eligibility, he has the tools to produce nice numbers in his time in South Bend.

I am just a tad bit surprised that Kiffin signed off on his former player going to a bitter rival that you play every single season. Carlisle’s knowledge of the USC playbook could help the Notre Dame defense gain an advantage for next season’s matchup, although it would be minimal at best considering how offenses change year after year.