The wait is over for KeiVarae Russell.
One of the top cornerbacks in college football has been cleared by the NCAA to play for Notre Dame this fall, Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly confirmed Tuesday. Russell was suspended last year during a school investigation into academic misconduct, and has not played since. Notre Dame had already submitted its findings to the NCAA, and Kelly hinted more than a week ago that there was confidence within the program that Russell would be cleared.
He fortifies a tough Notre Dame defense that features defensive lineman Sheldon Day and linebacker Jaylon Smith. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein selected Russell as one of the top 10 defensive backs to watch in college football this fall.
Kelly revealed Tuesday that defensive lineman Ishaq Williams, also suspended in the investigation but not yet cleared, had to write a personal appeal to the NCAA. That could explain why Williams is still awaiting NCAA clearance.
Russell missed all of last season amid the investigation. As a sophomore in 2013, he made 51 tackles and broke up eight passes with one interception for the Fighting Irish. He also started as a freshman on Notre Dame's 2012 national championship runner-up team.