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Sources: Popular former Notre Dame player, assistant to join Clark Lea's Vanderbilt staff

Nick Lezynski is set to join the Commodores as linebackers coach

One of the most beloved figures in the Notre Dame football program across much of the past decade-plus is getting a prime opportunity in the Southeastern Conference.

Nick Lezynski, a former Fighting Irish player who began his career as a walk-on quarterback and became a four-year varsity letterwinner on defense and special teams, is reuniting with former Notre Dame defensive coordinator Clark Lea at Vanderbilt University.

Per sources, the affable Lezynski is set to become the Commodores’ linebackers’ coach for Lea, entering his second season as head coach at his alma mater.

It’s a move set to continue an impressive career arc for Lezynski, who returned to his alma mater in February 2018 and immediately had an impact on Notre Dame’s defensive and special teams units. The team’s senior defensive analyst, Lezynski helped the Fighting Irish to a pair of College Football Playoff appearances, as well as undefeated regular seasons, in both 2018 and 2020.

Additionally, as Notre Dame transitioned from the Brian Kelly era into the onset of the Marcus Freeman era late last season, Lezynski was elevated into the full-time role of special teams coordinator throughout the month of December and for the Irish’s Fiesta Bowl appearance opposite Oklahoma State.

In addition to his past four seasons at Notre Dame, Lezynski also served three seasons on staff at UConn, including serving as the Huskies’ linebackers coach during the 2016 campaign.

After that three-year run, Lezynski spent the 2017 season as linebackers coach at Football Championship Subdivision program Lafayette College prior to his return to Notre Dame.

Lezynski has routinely been praised through the years by Notre Dame’s players, those on scholarship and those living the walk-on experience as Lezynski did for the blue and gold from 2008-11.

Just last week, 2022 Notre Dame signee and midyear enrollee Josh Burnham, among the most highly decorated players in Freeman’s first class and for whom Freeman was a huge asset in signing, heaped praise on Lezynski’s role in keeping things steady during the Kelly-to-Freeman transition.

“He’s been here every step of the way. I remember when I was first offered, we were on the phone just talking,” Burnham said of Lezynski. “I remember our relationship growing. It feels like each day, it’s just gotten better.

“We’ll be on FaceTime calls with him, we’ll see his family, he’ll see mine. Just knowing that all the coaches around here care so much about each and every one of us.”