Staying or going? Braxston Cave

This week we will take a look at each of Notre Dame's fourth-year scholarship players with eligibility remaining and examine whether he will likely return to the Irish next season. We don't play favorites here, so we will be going in alphabetical order. Today, we start with Braxston Cave.

Before Notre Dame: From nearby Penn High School in Mishawaka, Ind., Cave entered Notre Dame as ESPNU's No. 126 overall prospect, and its No. 1 overall center.

At Notre Dame: The 6-foot-3, 303-pound Cave played in 34 straight games and started 22 in a row before suffering a season-ending left foot injury Nov. 5 at Wake Forest. Mike Golic Jr. has started in his place since.

What's next?: Cave underwent surgery Nov. 10 and will probably be held out of contact in the spring. Brian Kelly said he had two centers suffer similar injuries before -- in which a ligament pulls off the bone mid-foot -- and both came back strong. He estimated the recovery time is similar to that of a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

The verdict: Staying. Cave has been an anchor on the line the past two years. He grew up on Notre Dame. And he will provide more stability to a unit that loses its entire right side next season, in guard Trevor Robinson and tackle Taylor Dever.