Notre Dame: Is Kevin Stepherson’s Fighting Irish career over?

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Notre Dame’s Kevin Stepherson can’t stay out of his own way, and it may cost him his career with the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame football just couldn’t have all positive news.

Sure, they signed all of their verbal recruits during the early signing day. And yeah, the offensive line won the Joe Moore Award.

But any optimism that comes with Notre Dame’s football team comes with a catch, doesn’t it? And just as he did before last season, wide receiver Kevin Stepherson had a hand in the trouble.

The Notre Dame football program suspended Stepherson, a sophomore, and freshman running back CJ Holmes indefinitely following a shoplifting arrest in Mishawaka.

Apparently, Stepherson and Holmes decided that walking out of a Macy’s wearing $60 sweatpants and an $80 North Face coat, respectively, was a good idea.

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Charges have not been filed yet, but Notre Dame acted swiftly in disciplining the two players. And in Stepherson’s case, this might not be the end of the punishment. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Stepherson doesn’t play another down in South Bend.

For one thing, this incident may well represent Stepherson’s third disciplinary strike with the program.

The first one occurred last summer when he and four teammates were booked for misdemeanor marijuana possession, for which Stepherson is on probation. He did not miss a game last year, though, posting 25 catches for 462 yards and five touchdowns.

Then, Notre Dame suspended Stepherson for four games for a reported violation of team rules, though Brian Kelly and others stayed relatively mum on the topic. He returned to put up 19 catches for 359 yards and five more touchdowns.

At this point, though, there’s recent precedent for Notre Dame letting players go due to off-the-field issues. Look no further than former Notre Dame safety Max Redfield, one of the teammates arrested with Stepherson.

The team dismissed Redfield his senior year after prosecutors charged him with misdemeanor possession of an unlicensed handgun in addition to the marijuana charge everyone also got.

Before that, Notre Dame had also served him with suspension as a junior for violating team rules. And those are just things we know about.

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With Stepherson ostensibly having three strikes against him, one being major, his Notre Dame career could very well be over.

The Irish would lose a lot of talent in off-loading Stepherson, but actions have consequences. And when you don’t learn from your mistakes, you lose. Soon, he could lose out on a golden opportunity.