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 our countdown to the first game. Today we are officially 25 days away from kickoff between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Temple Owls, and thus here are some 25s for you.
Rocket Ismail days until kickoff... pic.twitter.com/7wlbxRd3jB— Bobby Norell (@RENorell_III) August 8, 2017
Rocket Ismail - FL - 1988-90
With all due respect to Jonas Grey, Al Hunter and others, when you think of No.25s to wear a Notre Dame there is only one that comes to mind and that is Raghib “The Rocket” Ismail.
Perhaps the most explosive player to ever don the blue and gold, Ismail was a star on some on some of the greatest teams in Notre Dame history. He wasted no time showing off his explosiveness, as he quickly became a starter on the 1988 National Championship team. That season he caught 12 passes for 331 yards and two touchdowns. Ismail also showcased his skills in the return game as he returned 12 kickoffs for 433 yards and two touchdowns.
His role became bigger the following year as he received touches both in the passing game and in the backfield. In 1989 he carried the ball 64 times for 478 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught 27 passes for 535 yards. He did damage in the return game as well — returning 20 kickoffs for 502 yards and two memorable touchdowns. Roll the tape.
His 1989 campaign was good enough to garner All-American accolades.
He followed up his All-American campaign with a Heisman caliber season in 1990. That season he rushed 69 times for 537 yards and three TDs, caught 32 passes for 699 yards and two TDs. He also returned 14 kickoffs for 336 yards and a TD. Ismail arguably should have been awarded the Heisman Trophy, but was given to pass-happy QB Ty Detmer. Ismail was named Walter Camp Player of the Year and was a unanimous All-American.
He left South Bend after the 1990 season and shocked the world and took his talents to the CFL. After a couple seasons with the Toronto Argonauts, he joined the NFL and the Los Angeles Raiders. Ismail would play nine seasons in the NFL with the Raiders, Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys.
All right, we’re one day closer to the kickoff! What other 25s would have you liked to see? Let us know in the comments below!
We here at OFD hope this countdown is getting you excited. Also make sure to check out the other great content on the site! Go Irish!