Notre Dame was looking to sign at least two running backs in its 2012 recruiting class, but now it appears it will get three. According to a South Bend Tribune report, USC freshman running back Amir Carlisle will transfer to Notre Dame for the 2012 spring semester that begins Jan. 17. He will have to sit out the 2012 season, per NCAA rules, but he will have three years of eligibility remaining from 2013-15.
BlueandGold.com’s Jason Sapp reported on Friday that Carlisle was visiting the Notre Dame campus this week. The name couldn't be revealed at the time of the initial report because it was still in the earlier phases of transfer process.
FightOn247 reporter Scott Schrader, which is USC's site on the 247Sports national network, has also confirmed Carlisle's transfer via multiple sources.
The 5-10, 186-pound Carlisle opted for in-state USC over the Irish last winter, but he now will join Notre Dame a year later.
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Carlisle’s father, Duane, told the South Bend Tribune that it was “a family decision.” A strength and conditioning coach for several pro teams, including the San Francisco 49ers in 2010, Duane Carlisle is now the director of sports performance at Purdue, also located in Indiana.
A Parade All-American, the younger Carlisle rushed for more than 2,000 yards each of his last two seasons at Kings Academy in Sunnyvale, Calif., while averaging 11 yards per carry and scoring 57 touchdowns.
At USC this past season he played in eight games for the 10-2 Trojans while playing behind players such as Marc Tyler, Curtis McNeal, and D.J. Morgan. In pre-season camp, veterans such as quarterback Matt Barkley and linebacker Chris Galippo told Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times that Carlisle stood out among the freshmen.
"What made [receiver] Robert Woods so special wasn't his speed and it wasn't his ability — it was just his maturity as a freshman to handle the amount of [information] load that he did," Galippo said. "Amir has that same maturity."
Carlisle’s best game came in a 42-17 blowout of Colorado on Nov. 4. Carlisle had 10 carries for 90 yards and two catches for 23 yards and a score. He finished the year with 118 yards rushing and seven receptions.
Carlisle joins the Youngstown, Ohio’s 5-11, 205-pound William Mahone and Everett, Wash, 6-0, 175-pound KeiVarae Russell as running backs who are scheduled to sign with the Irish.
In addition to the two incoming freshmen, Notre Dame's 2012 backfield stable will include seniors Cierre Wood and possibly Theo Riddick, junior Cameron Roberson and sophomores George Atkinson III and Cam McDaniel.
In 2011 Wood became Notre Dame's first 1,000-yard rusher in a season since 2006, and he has a fifth season of eligibility in 2013. Riddick, who has played running back and slot receiver his first three years, moved back to running back for the regular season finale and the Champs Sports Bowl after a season ending injury to Jonas Gray.
Roberson is coming off a serious knee injury incurred last spring. Atkinson, who returned two kickoffs for scores in 2011, had nine carries for 27 yards and one touchdown. McDaniel carried three times for nine yards.