Matthias Farley's move to cornerback came as a surprise Friday — after all, this was the guy who started nearly the entire 2012 season at safety — but it's a move that makes sense for the Irish. Safety is a position of strength, with plenty of depth there.
But while Notre Dame's cornerback depth chart looks strong, too, it didn't have great depth even with Cody Riggs transferring from Florida this summer. And as coach Brian Kelly explained it Friday, Farley has the type of skill set that can transfer well to cornerback.
"We think that he can be a very good player, especially a tackler from an outside‑in position," Kelly said. "He's been playing inside‑out, right — he's been running the alley inside‑out. We think he can be a very good force player from an outside in position, and he's really a good athlete. He can run, and he's got very good ball skills."
Farley had a handful of high-profile missed tackles last fall playing inside-out at safety, and the move to cornerback was made to give him a better angle to make tackles. It's an admission of Farley's struggles last year but a nod to the talent he still possesses.
Beyond KeiVarae Russell locking down the field/wide side, there's still plenty in flux for Notre Dame at cornerback. Devin Butler is out after undergoing shoulder surgery, and Riggs still has to finish up at Florida before he can compete for playing time this summer.
Farley likely won't join Russell atop the depth chart, with Cole Luke the early favorite to fill Bennett Jackson's shoes on the boundary. But Farley's role will remain important, even if it's diminished.
"We are going to play more than two corners," Kelly said. "We are going to play as many as four. So we are going to take a look at it this spring."