The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players, and we want to talk about all of them. One Foot Down’s player profile series will take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys, and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming 2018 season.
#10 Chris Finke
Chris Finke is another in a line of successful Notre Dame walk-on players who have worked their way into major contributing roles, just like Joe Schmidt, Mike Anello, and many more did before him.
He was a preferred walk-on in 2015 as an exciting but diminutive high school star on the same team as Irish signee Nick Coleman. Once at Notre Dame, he was a solid scout team player his first season, worked his way into the two-deep in the slot as a sophomore, and became the starting punt returner last year.
In his limited time at wide receiver, Finke has managed to pull in 16 passes for 224 yards and a couple touchdowns over two seasons. Meanwhile, as a punt returner in the John Goodman mold of “be sure-handed and fair catch no matter what is happening,” he has returned 33 career punts for 226 yards (6.8 yards per return).
In his senior season, Finke has a pretty strong chance of starting — or at least getting some decent playing time — in the slot receiver role, considering CJ Sanders has transferred out and Finke is a reliable senior at the position. He will likely retain his punt return position as well, continuing to make all the fair catches that Special Teams Coordinator Brian Polian could ever hope to have.
3 Things To Know About Chris Finke
- Let’s start with something I’m sure almost every broadcast team doesn’t hammer home every chance they get: Chris Finke began his career at Notre Dame as a walk-on. He was awarded a scholarship just before the 2016 season. NO WAY!!!!
- Finke was a high school teammate of current Irish safety Nick Coleman at Archbishop Alter High School in Kettering, Ohio (also same high school as Malik Zaire), and the story of how he met Brian Kelly and ended up walking on at ND is pretty funny. Basically, Kelly asked him if he was interested in playing D-1 and Finke replied “I think so.” Amazing. Other fun facts from that story: his nickname in high school was “The Slippery Fox” and his Twitter handle is @SlipperyFox10 (gonna call him that ALL YEAR); Brian Kelly called him “Robby Toma with more speed” (hell yeah); he returned six punts for touchdowns and broke his high school’s record for return yards in his senior season (WHAT??? THE SAME GUY WHO THE COACHES HAVE FAIR CATCH LITERALLY EVERYTHING???).
- He apparently has a bird named Chirpie and he tweeted a video a little over a week ago of Dexter Williams meeting the bird and it is ADORABLE:
BONUS FUN FACT: CHRIS FINKE IS A BIG LANCE STEPHENSON FAN AND THEREFORE IS NOW MY FAVORITE NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL PLAYER.
Lance Stephenson I love you— Chris Finke (@SlipperyFox10) April 23, 2018
Here we go. Game 7. Last chance to see Lance Stephenson wet willie LeBron...I need it— Chris Finke (@SlipperyFox10) April 29, 2018
Youtube Hot Fire
I think we might see a couple catches like this one from The Slippery Fox this season...
BONUS YouTube Hot Fire:
Country, Condiment, or Canon
Identifying the player as either a country, condiment, or member of the Star Wars Canon.
Mustard. To be completely frank (hot dog pun unintended) and not the least bit modest, I think I knocked this episode of Country, Condiment, or Canon out of the Goddamn park.
We all know about Chris Finke’s humble origins as a tiny walk-on receiver overlooked by just about everyone. Well, if any of you Irish Catholic fans out there remember what you learned from the best-selling book of all-time (The Bible), you’ll recall that the mustard seed was used in a parable by Jesus himself, as he likened the Kingdom of God to the mustard seed, which is “the smallest of all seeds on earth.” He then continued on about how if it’s planted, it grows to become the largest of all garden plants. Other religions such as Judaism and Islam and Buddhism have similar parables about humility and selflessness that use the mustard seed to get those points across as well.
So, despite the fact that I’m pretty sure neither of those smallest seed/largest plant Biblical claims are accurate (e.g. the smallest seed in the world, according to Google, belongs to the tropical orchid), the point is that something truly brilliant (mustard) can come from something as small and humble and seemingly insignificant as a mustard seed.
Chris Finke is the embodiment of this. He came to ND as a little guy no one knew about or ever considered would contribute in any meaningful way on the field on Saturdays. That little mustard seed of a man was nevertheless developed by the Irish coaching staff into a regular, scholarship contributor who, despite never being anyone’s choice for most exciting or best player on the field (much like mustard in the field of condiments), is a reliable and consistent presence who does his job and makes whoever he is combined with better (just like mustard).
I am truly the wiener of this Country, Condiment, or Canon section — hot dog pun completely and force-fittingly intended.
I think Finke will have a nice, dependable senior season serving as a reliable safety valve for Brandon Wimbush in the slot. He might not begin the season as a starting receiver or even end it as one, but considering there isn’t excessive depth on the WR side of things, Finke will be key in helping establish some semblance of a passing game in the 2018 season.
I think he’ll have his best year yet, and will catch somewhere between 20 and 30 passes for ~300 yards and maybe a touchdown or three (and also set a single season record for fair catches on punt returns!!!). Chirpie will love all that.