If you follow me on Twitter, which a good number of you probably don’t, you know that for the last few weeks I’ve been posting photos of old and current ND players in countdown to the first game. Today we are officially 29 days away from kickoff against between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Temple Owls, and thus here are my 29s for you.
Stan Smagala - DB - 1986-89
The St. Laurence High School alum was a three-year starter at cornerback for the Fighting Irish from 1987-89 and was a member of the most recent National Title team in 1988.
Initially a running back in high school, Smagala made the move to corner once he got to Notre Dame. As player, he was one of the fastest players on the team (ran a 4.3 40). If it weren’t for Tim Brown and Rocket Ismail being there during his time, Smagala would have been the fastest guy on the team. He made some huge plays during that title run in ‘88, most memorably a 60-yard pick six in a win over the USC Trojans to close out the regular season. He went on to get drafted by Los Angeles Raiders in the 5th round of 1990 NFL Draft, but was immediately traded to the Dallas Cowboys. Smagala played three seasons in the NFL, two with the Cowboys and one with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Kevin Stepherson - WR - 2016-Present
Stepherson’s Notre Dame career got off to a rocky start last season as he was part of the infamous Fulton Five that were arrested weeks before the first game. Despite that, he was able to rebound and have a fairly productive rookie season. He became one of DeShone Kizer’s favorite targets, especially with the deep ball. Stepherson finished his freshman season with 25 catches for 462 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Even with solid freshman year in the books, Stepherson was reportedly in the coach’s doghouse for much of spring practice. There is plenty of talent in the wide receiving corps this season, but outside of Equanimeous St. Brown the other receiving spots seem to be wide open (no pun intended). If Stepherson can recover from a disappointing spring and have a strong fall camp, look for him to make an even bigger impact in his sophomore campaign.
That’s it for the 29s. Which ones did we miss?
We’ll be back tomorrow with some 28s. Who do you guess they’ll be? Stay tuned!