With spring practice going on right now, I figured it would be a good time to look back and talk about my favorite Notre Dame Fighting Irish football players ever. I am 24 years old, meaning most of my favorite players will come from an era when I started getting into Notre Dame football. I am curious to see everyone else’s answers for this. I had an easy time coming up with my first two answer. It was difficult to decide a third but I have to make a decision. Here they are.
This was the easiest one to decide. Brady Quinn was the quarterback for the Irish when I really started to get into obsessing over Notre Dame football. He started as a true freshman after coming in as a highly ranked recruit. It was just the beginning of four years of being the QB.
Quinn grew up in Ohio which made him relatable as I did as well. He was somewhat of a role model to Ohio kids who loved Notre Dame. I will always remember that 2006 road game against Michigan State when Brady Quinn led them on a comeback in the 4th quarter. The 5 touchdown passes got me off my couch and screaming. I can say without a doubt, I love Brady Quinn.
Brady Quinn’s favorite target! I am not going to lie, this also had a lot to do with his name also being Jeff. It was easy to like Samardzija. He was a flashy player from the very beginning. Such a smooth runner and long flowing hair out of the back of his helmet.
The number one moment that sticks with me for Jeff Samardzija is the 2006 UCLA game. That leap into the endzone to win the game. That will forever stick in my mind.
I remember being upset that Samardzija chose baseball over football. I still to this day will wonder what a Jeff Samardzija NFL career would have looked like. Oh, what could have been.
I like Jaylon Smith for many reasons. First off, I feel like he (and the 2013 class) transformed the Brian Kelly era. The amount of talent they brought into the Notre Dame football program was remarkable. Jaylon Smith was an impact player from the very beginning of his freshman year. It just feels different watching a player perform at a high level for three full seasons.
Notre Dame fans got to see a generational, homegrown Indiana talent for three years. If it weren’t for the knee injury in his final game, Jaylon Smith would have been a consensus All-American and top 10 NFL draft pick. The expectations change when a player like Jaylon Smith rolls through your program.
- Will Fuller
- Ryan Grant
- Julius Jones
- Justin Tuck
- Jeff Faine
- Shane Walton
There is my list, who are your favorite Notre Dame football players?