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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame RB Gi'Bran Payne Out with ACL Injury from Spring Game

May 30, 2024
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Notre Dame running back Gi’Bran Payne will miss an extended period of time following an ACL injury he suffered during the Blue-Gold Game, the program announced on Thursday afternoon. 

Payne is expected to miss the 2024 season following reconstructive surgery done by Dr. Brian Ratigan. 

The 5-foot-9, 203-pounder carried 10 times for 58 yards before the injury. 

It’s a loss for Notre Dame, as the Cincinnati native had carved out a role in short-yardage last fall, rushing for 168 yards and two scores on 45 carries. Payne also caught nine passes for 58 yards and two touchdowns. 15 of Payne’s 45 rushes went for first downs and 122 yards came after contact. 

A year ago, Payne took advantage of former Notre Dame running back Logan Diggs's absence with an injury to propel himself into the rotation. Running backs coach Deland McCullough saw a similar ascension from Payne this spring. 

“Gi’Bran is like the silent assassin of the whole thing,” stated McCullough. “Gi’Bran’s vertical went from a 32 to a 37. It shows the guy is a more explosive player and Gi’Bran don't make mistakes. Gi’Bran maximizes.  Gi’Bran is football smart, situational master - all these things. He’s bringing his lunch bucket to the table every day.

“As we continue to move forward, you'll see more of that from him. But short-yardage-wise, he’s got a low center of gravity, a pad level, he knows how to get skinny and other things like that. The same things he brings to the table as a short-yardage back as far as leverage, he brings to the table as a pass protector.”

Payne ran for a career-high 35 yards and one touchdown in the regular season finale win over Stanford. He scored his first career touchdown against Tennessee State as he took a pass from Steve Angeli 42 yards to the house. Payne rushed for his first score against Ohio State as he put the Irish ahead 10-7 late in the third quarter. 

Notre Dame does have depth at the running back position as Jeremiyah Love and Jadarian Price were set to handle significant roles entering the spring.

Payne’s injury will definitely expedite the development of early enrollees Aneyas Williams and Kedren Young. 

Young was in and out of spring practice with a hamstring issue. Williams flashed his potential in the spring game as he ran 10 times for 39 yards and scored a touchdown in the first half, which impressed his head coach. 

“Aneyas played well,” said Freeman. “He played really well. We didn’t have a whole bunch of live periods throughout the spring, so for Aneyas to go out there and make some big plays - I think the thing for me is what prevents running backs from playing at a young age is protection. Pass protection. It’s not being able to run with the football. That’s why we recruited him. We know they can run with the football. Being able to trust them in pass protection - he’s grown tremendously there. 

“He was the one who stuck out to me more than anything.” 

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