Quartet of ex-Notre Dame football players left in lurch by Chip Kelly

Four former Notre Dame football players transferred to UCLA this winter, now their head coach has deserted them in February.

Ex-Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Rico Flores Jr.
Ex-Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Rico Flores Jr. / Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
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When Chip Kelly took a voluntary demotion from UCLA head coach to Ohio State offensive coordinator, it shook the college football world. It likely also shook the foundation of four former Notre Dame football players who thought they would play for him in Los Angeles next fall.

Not one, not two, not three, but four former Fighting Irish players will suit up for UCLA next season. All four transferred to the Bruins this year. It’s a safe bet they all thought that Kelly was going to be around, especially considering the time of year.

Then he started looking around. He started working harder at finding another job than he has at recruiting in the last few years. And he finally found one. And now Rico Flores, Ramon Henderson, Michael Carmody, and K.J. Wallace all have to decide if they want to transfer again or stick it out with a brand new coach.

That brand-new coach will likely be starting a rebuilding job. And he will be doing it with a roster that doesn’t have a ton of young talent. UCLA was in the 80s as far as its 2024 recruiting class.

That’s likely one reason Kelly and company got those four players from the transfer portal. 

Quartet of ex-Notre Dame football players left in lurch by Chip Kelly

Rico Flores is the best offensive weapon of the bunch of former Notre Dame football players who is now left in the lurch. He led the Irish in catches and was among the team leaders in yards and TDs. He was likely quite excited to play in Chip Kelly’s offense.

Ramon Henderson was brought to Los Angeles to bolster the UCLA defensive backfield. It will be interesting to see if he sticks around.

Offensive lineman Michael Carmody joined his former Notre Dame football teammates on what Kelly was likely billing the 2024 season as the year the Bruins finally showed some real life. And then there was the long and winding road that K.J. Wallace took.

The defensive back first transferred to Georgia Tech and is now a member of the Bruins. Will he be on the road again? It should be interesting to watch what these four former Notre Dame football players do now.