Notre Dame football loses possible RB1 for entirety of 2024 season

The Notre Dame football team got some rather sad news on Thursday as one of the contenders for starting running back is out for the season.
Gi’Bran Payne runs the ball against Stanford
Gi’Bran Payne runs the ball against Stanford / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

One of the biggest mysteries around the Notre Dame football program was “who will be the starting running back in 2024?” On Thursday afternoon, that mystery deepened. Despite an offense that is thought to be among the most talented in the country, the Fighting Irish have an actual problem on their hands. And we’re still months away from the regular season.

On Thursday afternoon, the Notre Dame football program announced that sophomore running back Gi’Bran Payne underwent surgery on a knee injury. Because of that surgery to fix his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee, the running back won’t be playing football until 2025.

Notre Dame football will be without Gi’Bran Payne for 2024 season.

One thing is true. The Fighting Irish have guys who could step up. But Payne’s injury really does create some questions. Irish now have just four scholarship running backs. Two of whom finished the spring ahead of Payne on the depth chart, Jeremiyah Love (6-0, 196 pounds) and Jadarian Price (5-10, 201), and two freshmen looking to climb the depth chart.

Among the freshmen, Aneyas Williams showcased his skills extensively in the Blue-Gold Game, leaving a strong impression. Kedren Young on the other hand, has some health questions of his own. He missed most of spring practice with a tweaked hamstring. He also missed the Blue-Gold Game.

Even if Payne wasn’t on a path to be the starting running back this season, it’s clear the Notre Dame football team lost a weapon. His main role in 2023 was as a third-down specialist and he was said to be ND’s best blocking/blitz pickup running back.

He also happens to have quite a bit of experience compared to the other guys in the stable. Payne carried 45 times for 168 yards and 2 TDs while also catching 9 passes for 58 yards and another two scores. 

The loss of Gi’Bran Payne might not be crippling. But the Notre Dame football team was better when they thought he was going to be around.