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KeiVarae Russell comeback nearly set; Ishaq Williams, Greg Bryant less clear

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- KeiVarae Russell's full reinstatement to the Notre Dame football team could be coming soon, while the status of Ishaq Williams' eligibility remains unclear.

"KeiVarae has gone past one of the hurdles with the NCAA and now he has one left, which is more of an academic waiver situation that has been submitted and we should hear something pretty soon," coach Brian Kelly said Thursday after practice. "One hurdle has been cleared, positively, and we have one left out there for him. And we should hear something pretty soon on that. Ishaq’s still pending and there is not much to report on that, other than that one is still pending."

Both players were suspended last August as part of the school's internal academic investigation and ended up missing the entire 2014 season.

As for the ongoing saga of suspended running back Greg Bryant, Kelly said he knows as much as everyone else, though he would welcome Bryant back. Notre Dame announced last week that the redshirt sophomore would not play this season after failing to live up to standards, reportedly academic ones. An assistant coach for ASA College Miami, a junior college near Bryant's hometown of Delray Beach, Florida, tweeted Wednesday night that Bryant would be playing there this season.

Asked if he had heard that bit of news, Kelly said, "I have. I’m following it like you guys, though. Third-hand.

"My feeling, as for most, would be that I want Greg back here if he wants a Notre Dame degree and if he’s committed to a Notre Dame education. Obviously from what I’m hearing, that’s not what he’s interested in. I think he’s interested in playing football. And at Notre Dame, you have to do both. You have to be committed to an education.

"And listen, it’s not to say anything about what his decision is. His decision, it seems like, is he’s going to go to junior college and that’s fine. But to be here, you've got to be committed to your education. I love Greg, he’s a great kid, but it seems like from what I’m hearing right now that’s he’s choosing to go to (junior college). But I have not spoke to Greg, so it’s purely the speculative version of it."

ASA's head coach, Ernest Jones, previously was a player development director at Notre Dame under Kelly. Kelly said he and Jones have texted but not spoken in-depth about the Bryant situation.

"(Bryant) could be a bounce-back here," Kelly said. "I haven’t had a conversation with him. I’d love to have one with him but he seems to be a bit elusive right now in terms of trying to get a hold of him."

Bryant's father, also named Greg, told IrishIllustrated that if his son committed to ASA, he did it on his own.