An already thin depth chart in the Notre Dame defensive backfield may have one less body come fall camp.
Freshman safety Chris Badger, who enrolled in January after graduating from Timpview High School in Provo, Utah, a semester early, has begun the process of scheduling a two-year Mormon mission that would begin in August.
Badger's brother, Troy, confirmed the news Monday.
"He turned in his papers, which is kind of your application for it," Troy Badger said. "They basically decided where you go and when you go. We put in a request to see if he can go in August because of special circumstances. Where he's going and when he's going for sure hasn't been finalized."
On the chance that Badger's request is denied and he can't leave for his mission until later in the fall, there is some thought he would play out this season, Troy Badger said.
From a football perspective, that would be good news for head coach Brian Kelly. The defensive backfield has already lost cornerback Spencer Boyd, another early enrollee. If Badger left as well, the Irish depth chart at safety would include only Harrison Smith, Jamoris Slaughter, Zeke Motta and Danny McCarthy.
But regardless of the depth chart impact, Badger's mission decision comes with the blessing of Kelly and the Irish coaching staff.
"(Chris) talked to coach Kelly and Chris said he was extremely supportive about it," Troy Badger said. "He really thought that it would be a great experience for him and allow Chris to develop physically and maturity-wise and be able to come back. From my perspective in talking to Chris is there wasn't a question of whether or not his sport would be held."
With Badger away, his eligibility clock would stop and he would have four years remaining upon his return, which would come before the 2012 season.
At this point there is no question the freshman safety would return to Notre Dame, Troy Badger said.