Notre Dame football welcoming back Gabriel Rubio after absence

The Notre Dame football team is welcoming back Gabriel Rubio to the team officially after taking a leave of absence.
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Friday brought a ton of unexpected news from the Notre Dame football team. Among the tidbits that stood out the most, was when head coach Marcus Freeman announced that defensive tackle Gabriel Rubio is officially back with the team.

Rubio has been taking a leave of absence since the spring. While he was still in South Bend from time to time during this period he was only allowed to observe practice. At one point, it was thought he might enter the transfer portal, but he stuck around when the smoke cleared.

Notre Dame football welcomes back Gabriel Rubio

The rising redshirt junior, who wasn’t listed on the roster back in March, observed early-morning drills from close range while dressed in a T-shirt and shorts. Rubio even flashed a knowing grin when practice briefly moved outside amid a few scattered snowflakes.

It’s clear that he was still enjoying being around the team. He still seemed to love being a part of the Fighting Irish. 

Back on March 7, Freeman told the media that he expected Rubio to come back at some point in the summer. In that regard it appears that the return was a bit quicker. Instead of the summer, the defensive tackle was back before June 1.

There were other indications that while Rubio was stepping away, he wasn’t really checking out. Back when he was watching practices, one of his teammates  -who also happens to be a close friend - Jason Onye talked about how Rubio was teaching some of the younger defensive linemen how to carry out Al Golden’s defense.

“While (Rubio) was here, he was teaching Devan and Armel how to use their feet,” Onye said this spring. “Inside drills, he’s teaching me a bunch of stuff. He’s heavy, he’s powerful, so just having a guy like that around … we really need him.”

Now, Notre Dame football has him again. And the Fighting Irish defense is only going to be better because of it.