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Irish safety plans to take Mormon mission

Notre Dame will likely have one less player in its secondary when the football season begins.

Irish freshman safety Chris Badger, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, applied for a two-year Mormon mission that would begin in August, a school spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

If accepted, Badger would return to Notre Dame in 2012 and have four years of eligibility remaining.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder from Timpview High School in Provo, Utah, has discussed his plans with first-year coach Brian Kelly, and Kelly supports Badger’s decision, the spokesman said.

In December, linebacker Manti Te’o decided to delay his Mormon mission and return for this season. Te’o, who started the last eight games for the Irish and was fourth on the team with 63 tackles, said he will delay his mission trip for at least one year and possibly until later in his life.

Badger enrolled at Notre Dame in January and participated in the Irish’s spring practices. In the Blue-Gold Game he had six tackles for the Gold team.

Badger had 77 tackles and three interceptions as a senior at Timpview.

If Badger leaves, Notre Dame will have Harrison Smith, Jamoris Slaughter, Zeke Motta and Danny McCarthy.