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Badger returns to Notre Dame

Chris Badger will finally play a game in Notre Dame Stadium.

It just won't be for the Irish.

The safety enrolled at Notre Dame early in 2010 but left the university that spring for his two-year mission in Ecuador for LDS Church. He returned to the Irish in 2012 but did not play and decided to transfer in August.

Badger transferred to BYU and was allowed to play right away because of a personal hardship.

"I'm excited. I have a lot of friends out there from football, from school, from the ward, so I'm definitely excited for the fireside on Friday night," Badger told reporters about being a member of the Cougars (7-3) in Saturday's game against the Irish (7-3).

"I'm excited for Saturday. Every time I get to be out on the field is a great time for me. This week will be especially great. I'm just excited to play football."

Badger, a 22-year-old redshirt freshman, has played in seven games for BYU and has made six tackles, including assisting on one takle for loss.

Irish coach Brian Kelly said Badger never played for his team because the safety was recruited to fit into a different systme than what Notre Dame runs now. Badger was recruited when Charlie Weis was the coach.

"They were looking for more of a middle-of-the field safety that could run the alley from the middle of the field," Kelly said Tuesday. "As you know, we are a two-deep safety team that we like to play off the hash a lot more. So I think that there was probably a better fit from that standpoint, because that's how they play, BYU. They are not a huge cover-two team.

"I think from a football standpoint, at the time he was recruited, the systems he was looking at, BYU and Notre Dame had some similar features. I think obviously the fit for him from an academic standpoint, Notre Dame in terms of going into pre-med was huge for him, as well. Those things changed as it relates to football; I don't think they changed academically."

Kelly also said he wasn't concerned that Badger will tip off the BYU offense to what Notre Dame will do in the game.

"The signaling system is fairly complicated," Kelly said. "You would have to dissect those, then you'd have to get them and get them back out to the offense. You know, it's not where you start but where you finish defensively. And with an up-tempo offense, I guess the short answer would be, we've taken measures and we're not concerned about it."