Ladies and gentleman, your Rudy of this generation.
Junior wide receiver Chris Winke, listed at 5’9’’ and 177 pounds, is hardly an overwhelming presence when lining up for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish against opposing secondaries at the line of scrimmage. Still, his grit and hard work has turned Finke from walk-on to scholarship player who will likely see his snaps continue to increase in 2017.
Finke saw no action as a freshman in 2015, but appeared in 10 games for the Irish in 2016, catching 10 passes for 122 yards and a couple of touchdowns. We’re not expecting Finke to haul in passes like fellow slot receiver CJ Sanders, but he is a prideful presence that is another embodiment of what Notre Dame football should be about.
3 Things to Know About Chris Finke:
- Finke was a formidable punt returner during his time at Archbishop Alter High School in Kettering, Ohio. He returned six punts for touchdowns and set a school record for return yards in his senior season. Finke’s ability to return punts is part of what attracted Brian Kelly to him, and Finke could play a minor role on the punt return team this season.
- Speaking of high school, Archbishop Alter High is also the former school of former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire. The two used to throw the pigskin together before practice, and Finke saw Zaire as a mentor.
- Thanks to his play-making ability on special teams, Finke was coined the awesome nickname, “The Slippery Fox” during his high school years.
YouTube Hot Fire:
Here’s a catch from the Blue-Gold game that shows some of Finke’s explosiveness and how dangerous he can be with some space. Finke has an entertaining high school highlight reel to say the least, but YouTube dropped the ball on that one and doesn’t seem to have it. Oh well.
I, RyChi, Dub Thee...
“The Finke Panther.” According to animals.com, panthers can reach speeds up to 50mph during certain bursts, and easily hurdle around obstacles like rocks and bushes. Watching some high school footage of Finke, I’d say he’s channeling his inner panther. And Finke Panther sounded too much like Pink Panther to ignore it.
With a group of receivers like Sanders, Equanimeous St. Brown and Kevin Stepherson, Notre Dame is sure to have one of the better receiving corps in the nation this season. It is likely that Finke will be overshadowed by this elite trio, but we’ll see if Wimbush finds Finke for some big plays out of the slot.
Don’t count Finke out for a field receiver role in 2017, perhaps behind St. Brown. He could also see some punt returns if Kelly doesn’t trot Sanders out there. There are plenty of possibilities for using Finke, but just how much he will be used remains to be seen. Regardless, he is another great Notre Dame story of working hard and earning his gold helmet.