Irish star safety Hamilton (knee) out vs. UNC

Notre Dame standout safety Kyle Hamilton will miss this week’s game against North Carolina with a right knee injury, coach Brian Kelly said Monday.

Hamilton, who earned All-America honors in 2020 and leads Notre Dame with three interceptions, left Saturday’s game against USC late in the first quarter and did not return. He fell awkwardly along the Notre Dame sideline while pushing USC star wide receiver Drake London out of bounds on a 29-yard gain.

Kelly said after the game that Hamilton did not have any structural damage to his knee. The coach on Monday said Hamilton would undergo further testing.

“There’s a lot of moving pieces here, but I can tell you there’s some confidence here that we’ll have him back,” Kelly said. “Our medical people have done their due diligence. We want to be sure to give everyone a chance to weigh in on this matter.”

The 11th-ranked Irish are 6-1 following a 31-16 win over USC.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper projects Hamilton as the No. 2 overall prospect for the 2022 NFL draft. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Hamilton has 139 career tackles, eight interceptions and 24 passes defended in 31 career games for Notre Dame. He was a unanimous first-team All-ACC selection in 2020, when Notre Dame played as a conference member, and earned third-team AP All-America honors.

Junior DJ Brown is expected to start in Hamilton’s place against North Carolina. Brown has 24 tackles and an interception in five games this season.

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