Former Notre Dame backup center Colin Grunhard transferring to KU

photo by: Photo courtesy of Notre Dame athletics

Colin Grunhard, formerly a walk-on at Notre Dame, announced Jan. 5, 2021, his decision to transfer to the University of Kansas and play his final two seasons with the Jayhawks.

In the case of the Kansas football program, the NCAA’s transfer portal typically taketh away more than it giveth. But the Jayhawks came out on the positive side of the portal for a change on Tuesday, when former Notre Dame offensive lineman Colin Grunhard decided to join KU.

“Can’t wait to do everything I canto help KU win,” Grunhard posted to his Twitter account.

A walk-on with the Fighting Irish for the past four years, Grunhard is a former standout high school center at nearby Bishop Miege who played in three games as a reserve for Notre Dame (10-2) in 2020.

Grunhard shared via his Twitter account on Jan. 2 that he was entering the portal as a graduate transfer, looking to start working on his MBA, with two more years of eligibility left.

Listed most recently on the Irish’s roster at 6 feet and one-half inch and 290 pounds, Grunhard didn’t appear on Notre Dame’s published depth chart for the Rose Bowl. He was a backup center in 2019, appearing in seven games.

Grunhard also came in off the bench in three games as a sophomore, after playing exclusively on the scout team as a freshman and not getting on the field for any games in 2017.

Grunhard told Jon Kirby of Jayhawk Slant he hopes to take on a much larger role with KU.

“I’ve practiced for four years to play football,” Grunhard said. “I want to get back out on the field and contribute early in games and often.”

As a high school prospect in the Class of 2017, Grunhard was a four-year starter at Bishop Miege, starting in 50 consecutive games. Though he didn’t receive any stars in his Rivals ranking, he had offers from Air Force, Colgate and South Dakota before walking on at Notre Dame.

Going with the Fighting Irish allowed the young O-lineman to follow in the footsteps of his father, Tim Grunhard, who played at Notre Dame from 1986-89 and started for Notre Dame’s 1988 national championship team. Tim Grunhard went on to start at center for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1990-2000.

The father also took to Twitter Tuesday afternoon to say he was proud of his son. The message read, in part, “go be you and you will have unlimited success both on and off the field.”

This past year, KU started four different players at center during an 0-9 season. Api Mane, a senior who has since entered the transfer portal, started five games.

As a true freshman, Garrett Jones (6-2, 307 pounds) made his first career start in the Jayhawks’ eighth game of the year.

Grunhard figures to come in and compete for the starting job at KU immediately.

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