Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said defensive end Ethan Johnson is looking better as the senior returns from a high right ankle sprain.
Johnson missed the 59-33 win over Air Force, but he is expected to play in Saturday night's home game against USC.
Johnson started the first five games this season and has nine tackles with one for a loss.
"He's not 100 percent, but he's been able to practice," Kelly said of Johnson. "I'd say he's in the mix, but I wouldn't expect him to play his normal 50 to 60 plays."
Long snapper Jordan Cowart, who broke his hand in a skirmish in the 38-10 win at Purdue, may not play against USC.
Kelly said Cowart has been cleared to play, but he has competition for the long and short snapping jobs.
"He's been snapping," Kelly said. "It's competitive. We're working with him, (long snapper Ryan Kavanagh) and (center/short snapper Braxston Cave)."