OLYMPIA FIELDS — Notre Dame's re-admission board met Thursday to review the case of DaVaris Daniels, though coach Brian Kelly said a decision on the wide receiver's return to school won't be made for a few weeks.
The expectation, from the moment Daniels was exiled from campus in January due to academic issues, has been the senior-to-be would return to campus for summer classes and be eligible to play in the fall. Nothing has changed on that front, and the precedent set by Everett Golson last year would indicate a smooth transition back to Notre Dame.
While Daniels missed important practice and conditioning time last semester, Kelly thinks the more hands-on nature of summer workouts now allowed by the NCAA will help Daniels re-acclimate quickly. Coaches can have eight hours of contact per week with players, be it for conditioning, weight training and up to two hours of film study — all of which Kelly can use to get Daniels ready for fall camp in August.
"Because we'll have that individual face time with him this summer, I have no question we'll be able to bring him back in without any problems," Kelly said at Olympia Fields Country Club prior to playing a round of golf as part of the eighth-annual Irish Legends Annual Charity Event.
Daniels is Notre Dame's leading returning receiver after catching 49 passes for 745 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013. But much of that production came at the beginning and end of the season, as Daniels struggled to fight through a few nagging injuries in October and early November.
Irish coaches have said the next step for Daniels is to maintain his on-field productivity through those minor knocks that every player deals with over the course of a season. Kelly reiterated that point, adding that Daniels has to take the right mental approach not only to his game but to everything else in his life at Notre Dame.
"He's immensely talented," Kelly said. "He's got to have his foot on the pedal all the time. If he does, he's as good as anybody out there that I've coached. But there's only so many times you can go to the whip. This is proved positive, right — sooner or later you gotta do it. I think this hopefully is that time where he goes, I gotta be cognizant of the fact I got a lot riding on this, I gotta be that guy every single day."
For Daniels, there's no room for low grades or a lack of concentration. He's been given his second chance, and Kelly said Daniels has to grasp the magnitude of the opportunity ahead of him this coming fall.
"He's a smart kid, that he knows that he's on the clock now," Kelly said. "He's gotta walk the line, he's gotta do things the right way. It's not just Notre Dame, it's his career, it's everything now. I think he knows that all eyes are on him."