NCAA denies Slaughter's appeal

Jamoris Slaughter's college football career officially came to an end Wednesday when the NCAA denied his appeal for a sixth and final season of eligibility.

Jamoris Slaughter made 98 tackles during his five years at Notre Dame.

The Irish safety missed the final 10 games of the 2012 season after rupturing his Achilles tendon during a game at Michigan State. Slaughter also sat out during his freshman year in 2008. Notre Dame petitioned the NCAA for an extra season for Slaughter on the grounds that both years he spent on the sideline were a result of an injury. The NCAA turned down the school's original request in mid-January and its appeal was officially rejected Wednesday.

"I understood that a sixth year was far from a guarantee," Slaughter said in a statement released by Notre Dame Thursday morning. "It is sad to know that my time at Notre Dame as a football player is complete, but it doesn't lessen my love for this University and its football program. This decision simply begins the next chapter of my life and I'll be forever grateful for my coaches, teammates and all the Irish fans that supported me throughout my career."

Slaughter previously said that if he wasn't able to play again for the Irish he would spend his spring preparing for the NFL Draft and rookie camps in his native Georgia.

He received an invitation to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis next week. It isn't likely that Slaughter's Achilles will be healthy enough to participate in drills, but he can still attend for interviews and to meet with interested teams. The rehab process for his injury typically takes at least six months. Notre Dame's Pro Day will likely fall right around the end of that time frame in late March.

The safety made 98 tackles and two interceptions while playing in 39 games for the Irish. He emerged as a leader in the defensive backfield during his final two seasons with the team and helped to establish a hybrid outside linebacker/safety role in Notre Dame’s defensive package.

“I appreciate the NCAA taking the time to thoroughly look into Jamoris’ application for a sixth year,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said in a school statement. “Jamoris is a first-class young man and most importantly leaves Notre Dame with his degree. We wish him all the best as he now pursues his dream of playing in the NFL.”

Notre Dame has a long line of young safeties who will vie to take Slaughter's spot on the field. Sophomore Matthias Farley replaced the veteran in the starting lineup last fall. Junior Austin Collinsworth was expected to play a big role at the position before shoulder surgery kept him out for the entire season. Freshman Nicky Baratti played sparingly during his rookie season. They will be joined this summer by incoming freshman Max Redfield, who was rated as the fifth-best safety prospect in the country this year by 247Sports.

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