SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame (4-2) returns from the bye week at full strength as it gets ready to play host to USC on Saturday.
Defensive end Ethan Johnson, who missed the 59-33 win over Air Force on Oct. 8 because of a sprained right ankle, was cleared to play along with linebacker Manti Te’o, who also had an ankle injury, and receiver Daniel Smith, who had a leg injury.
All three of those guys are back with us, coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday.
It isn’t clear if Johnson will start against the Trojans (5-1). The senior started the first five games but is listed as an or with freshman Aaron Lynch on the depth chart.
(Johnson is) not at a point where he can play every snap yet, but he’s certainly going to be able to do something for us on Saturday, Kelly said.
Te’o injured his ankle during practice in the week leading up to the win over Air Force, but he still added 10 tackles to his team-high 59 against the Falcons.
Manti probably feels as good as he’s felt in a few weeks, Kelly said. The rest certainly helped him.
USC running back Marc Tyler, who has run for a team-high 368 yards, and receiver Marqise Lee, who has 404 receiving yards, are recovering from shoulder injuries they suffered in Thursday’s 30-9 win over California.
Tyler and Lee were limited during the Trojans’ morning practice Tuesday but both could still play against Notre Dame, according to a Twitter post by The Associated Press’ Greg Beacham.
Kelly played coy again when asked if the Irish would wear their green jerseys against USC this year.
You know, I haven’t checked with our wardrobe designer. We generally have those conversations on Thursday or Friday, Kelly said. I’ll get back to you on that.
When asked if he would let people know about the green jerseys later, the coach came clean.
Not really, Kelly said to laughter. I fibbed.