Considering yesterday’s commitment from 2024 New Jersey DL recruit Owen Wafle (which unfortunately is actually pronounced as if it rhymes with “playful”), and considering Oklahoma just picked up a commitment from a kid named “General Booty” over the weekend, I do believe it is once again that magical moment in the offseason when we all take stock of the punnable names on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football roster and begin workshopping our punny tweets for the upcoming season accordingly.
Sure, the roster will probably have a few more subtractions/additions prior to kickoff in Columbus on Labor Day Weekend. But champions are made in the offseason, and so if we’re wanting to be in A+ pun-making form for that humdinger of a season opener (and I think we all want that), then we need to make some moves now to whip ourselves into pun-making shape.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the punny possibilities we’ll possess this fall.
Names With Great Puns We Won’t Be Able to Use Much, If At All
This is a shout-out to all the walk-ons and/or young guys buried on the depth chart, because no matter how great some of their names might be and how many puns we might be able to make with them, if they won’t see the field much, we won’t have many relevant opportunities to riff on their monikers.
So, here’s to the following names — you’ve got real potential, and we hope at some point next year, or at least in the next few years, we might have a good reason to make lots of jokes using your names!!!
- Chase Dixon/Chase Ketterer: we’ll certainly be in hot pursuit of opportunities to drop some Chase puns, but we shouldn’t get our hopes up.
- Mike Graves: normally, a safety roaming around the secondary looking to put some receivers deep into the ground would be ideal — but this grad student walk-on probably won’t get the action we’d need to really execute on those puns.
- Brennan Wicks: a name like this would absolutely light our candle in terms of pun-driven excitement, but unfortunately the junior walk-on from Maryland likely won’t see the field in 2022, except maybe for a tiny sliver of garbage time.
- Henry Cook: we could easily spend some time in the kitchen this offseason whipping up a batch of “Cook” puns, but I have to imagine our time would be better spent on other names than boiling the ocean here (bonus corporate jargon right there for anyone who misses the W.I.N. articles).
- Davis Sherwood: would we love it if we’d be able to make lots of puns using this guy’s name? SHER-WOOD! And hey, maybe this fullback does see some time if Tommy decides to commit fully to a power running game with a lead blocker, but we probably can’t count on that just yet.
- Holden Staes: Staes is a promising young tight end, but unless there’s some unforeseen horrible attrition at the position, we’ll be Holden our puns here until a couple years from now when he becomes a major contributor in the offense.
- Gi’Bran Payne: it hurts to say, but Gi’Bran probably won’t get a ton of action in his true freshman season, what with Chris Tyree, Logan Diggs, Audric Estime, and impressive fellow frosh Jadarian Price ahead of him in the pecking order. So, I recommend we all make sure we eat our daily bowl of Raisin (Gi’)Bran for the next year or so to make sure we get big and strong with puns here, so that when it’s finally time for him to get some PT, there won’t be any growing Paynes. Aligned?
- Chance Tucker: the cornerback depth chart is still a bit of a black box after Cam Hart, but it sounds like some others have emerged as likely rotational guys and Tucker will probably need another year or two before he has a Monopoly on a specific role in Al Golden’s defense. When he gets that Chance, we’ll make sure we’re well rested and pace ourselves with his puns to ensure we don’t get Tuckered out too quickly.
- Joshua Burnham: Burn ‘em? I barely know ‘em!!! This kid is gonna be a stud in Golden’s defense in short order, but I have a feeling he’s a year away from breaking into a large contributing role, especially considering his move to Vyper and the front seven depth above him in the depth chart.
- Jason Onye: listen, it’s completely Onye and ye alone if you want to spend a lot of time on Jason Onye puns this summer. The kid is reportedly huge and could be a good one at DT in a year or two, but likely won’t see the field much unless something goes wrong with the upperclassmen above him.
Group Themes We Can Hit Hard
Aside from one-off great names, I want to take a quick detour to acknowledge some fun little themes we can play around with if we group certain player names together from this 2022 squad.
- DJ Brown: bonus points for the jokes we can also make about turn tables and “the drop”
- Al Golden: bonus points for his last name doubling to mean something super valuable/awesome
- Houston Griffith: largest city in Texas, and it enables us to make plenty of Apollo 13 references?? You betcha.
- Matt and Chris Salerno: you can bet your culo we could make some puns here about the Italy port city just southeast of Naples
- Al Washington: aside from all the clean options we’ll have when you abbreviate his last name to “Wash,” referencing both the US Capital and the Pacific Northwest state will engender lots of political puns, as well as a number of explosive options when you consider Mount Saint Helens
Religious — I Mean, It’s a Catholic School After All, Right?
- Christian Opperman: this walk-on linebacker from South Africa also probably won’t give us too many opportunities for in-game puns, but he fits too perfectly into this category not to include him.
- Moses Rogers: Rogers is a walk-on, so there’s very little chance we’ll get to see him return a punt against Ohio State by parting the Red Sea...but we can dream of having such an awe-inspiring vision, right? Eat your heart out, burning bush.
- Steve Angeli: He already provided us with a heavenly performance in the Blue Gold Game, earning his wings as he flew into the end zone for the walk-off TD. Just imagine what other miracles he might perform over the course of his career!
- Howard Cross III: This man is about to have himself one helluva senior season, splintering opposing ball carriers/QBs and just absolutely nailing folks in the backfield. Wood you believe it if he ended up garnering some national attention and playing his way into a draft spot next spring? I woodn’t.
- Marist Liufau: His name is literally that of an international community of Catholic religious institute of brothers who focus on educating young people, especially those most neglected. Considering his injury last season, opposing offenses were certainly neglected a bit by Irish linebackers teaching them lessons with their speed and athleticism...Liufau is back to serve them there, folks.
Okay, it’s time to get into the thick of it — what are the best of the best punnable names for the 2022 ND team, especially considering names we will hopefully get to tweet about often during this coming season? I have some favorites, but before we get to the elite of the elite, let’s give out some Honorable Mentions:
- Rocco Spindler: like any of the names on the team ending in “-er,” he lends himself well to “________ her, I barely know her!” jokes. Add in a fun name like Rocco allowing for South Bend pizza references and Nickelodeon cartoon wallaby homages, and there’s plenty we could play with here if the rising sophomore is able to play his way into a key role on Harry Hiestand’s first line since returning to ND.
- Jacob Lacey: like Cross, he seems primed for a fantastic senior season in the middle of Al Washington’s defensive line, and so his nastiness and brute force are going to be a fun juxtaposition with all the fancy, elegant puns we can make with “Lacey.”
- Alex Ehrensberger: obviously the young German athlete will enable us all to tweet plenty of funny German-related things if and when he sees more serious playing time, but in terms of puns using his name, I think it’s really going to be a whole menu of “burger” jokes that I look forward to most here.
- Ryan Barnes: Ryan might just be a key rotational guy in the secondary this season, and if he is, you KNOW we’ve got acres of farm puns ready and waiting.
- Rylie Mills: I personally think he’s about to have a borderline All-American season, and so that certainly will make things fun for all of us who love talking about devices that break solid materials into smaller pieces by grinding, crushing, or cutting!!!
- Tobias Merriweather: the true frosh may have no choice but to play significant time in the fall considering wide receiver depth, but considering his size and skill, I think he’s about to make it rain on opposing DBs and bring about happier weather for all Irish fans this season.
- Nana Osafo-Mensah: We could make jokes about Nanas (as in, grandmothers) or make plenty of fun references to “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” which certainly makes THIS Remember the Titans super-fan happy. And honestly, some of you are much cleverer than me and can probably do some great stuff with Osafo-Mensah. Lots of potential here, just not as obvious.
- Joe Alt: are there other ALTernatives to making “alternative” puns with Joe Alt’s name? You bet, ALThough we’d be climbing to ALTitudes we’ve never been before with puns about the baby-faced sophomore monster tackle.
- Tosh Baker: Gotta think he and Henry Cook should team up for something — that would be a recipe for success right there!!!
- Jaden Mickey: Mickey Mouse, Mickey Rooney, Mickey Mantle, Mickey D’s? All those could be fun ways to riff on Jaden’s last name.
- Blake Grupe: whether it’s a dumpster-fire of a Grupe project to get kicks through the uprights this season or whether things start to get fishy with some Grouper jokes, Blake transferring in from Arkansas State certainly offers some fun ways to get our Tweets off during Special Teams
- Lorenzo Styles: puns about fashion, hair, and even music are all options here and should be PLENTIFUL considering how much action Lorenzo is going to get as the Irish’s #1 wideout in 2022. Bonus points if you can use “Lo Styles” to somehow riff on the opposite of high styles, which we obviously aren’t dealing with here.
- Gerad Parker: The new tight ends coach could find his name being punned while talking about parking cars, walking in a park, going to a ballpark, watching the show Parks and Rec, and much, much more.
- Marcus Freeman: There’s definitely plenty you can do with a last name like Freeman, and turning Marcus into “Mark Us” could open up some fun possibilities. Just spitballin’ here.
- Brian Mason: let’s make jokes about building and working in stone, or toss our conspiracy caps on and dive into Freeman and Mason teaming up at ND for a classic “Freemason” society looking to control the entire collegiate landscape from the shadows
- Chansi Stuckey: There’s a Chansi you might get Stuckey in coming up with puns for some of the names on the coaching staff, but I doubt this will be one of them.
- Harry Hiestand: This one is simple: let’s make “hairy” jokes and switch back and forth between “I stand” and “He stand” pronunciations of Harry’s last name, just for kicks (and versatility of jokes).
Pat Rick’s Favorite Punnable Names for 2022
Okay, it’s time to list out my favorite names that we should have plenty of chances to pun this season, and probably for the next few seasons as well on top of that.
These are in no particular order, but I DO want to hear from y’all in the comments on which are your favorites and what specific puns you look forward to launching in September for these guys (because I don’t have the time or the elite sense of humor to come close to covering all the best options), so please pay attention and chime in!!!!!!!!
- Cam Hart: Not to get too flashy right off the bat, but starting cornerback Cam Hart has an incredible name for puns, considering both his first and last name lend themselves to a lot. You can use Cam to give a snapshot into the world of photography and videography humor, or use it in place of similar/rhyming words to do all sorts of neat things (Cam-puter, Cam-plete domination, “We are Cam-ily!”, Cam’s Premium, Cambchop, Camwise Gamgee, etc.). And then obviously Hart allows you to make all sorts of biological and love-related puns, which should get your blood pumping. Cam Hart’s name is elite and needs to be utilized as such — when he makes more big plays in 2022, it’ll be time for a Total Eclipse of the Hart.
- Drew Pyne: Similar to Hart, Drew Pyne also has both a first and last name that are punnable, but he even goes another step further in terms of his full name being a complete thought. What happened after #10 threw an interception? He Drew Pyne — the coaches benched him. It could also mean he sketched a tree, but you might have trouble working that as naturally into a tweet about his play. Still, Drew makes it easy to paint a picture with all sorts of art-related puns, and Pyne gives us lots of tree and wood-related material to build with. Considering he’s the backup for 2022, we may not have a TON of opportunities to make puns with his name, but knowing how football works, he’ll be called upon at some point, and when he is, the fans’ puns for him will already have taken root and be ready for harvest.
- Jaylen Sneed: At first glance, I honestly didn’t see much I could do with the blue-chip freshman linebacker’s name. My only real idea was that Sneed kind of sounds like “Thneed,” which would allow for lots of references to The Lorax and, in turn, other Dr. Seuss works. But then I realized there’s a lot more to work with here. Maybe Sneed will be out there just locking up receivers in coverage — essentially Jaylen’ them with his defense. Or maybe you make some sort of play with “Jaylen Sneed” to become “Jaylen’s Need” and discuss his requirement to dominate. Or perhaps it’s slightly changing his last name to be something relevant, like Jaylen Speed when he shows how quick he is or Jaylen Sheed when he guaranSheeds a victory for the Irish. I guess what I’m trying to say here is Sneed has a lot more punnability to his name than it seemed at first — he’s gonna be a fun one to tweet about for the next few years.
- Jadarian Price: Price’s first name will be a tough one to pun, but his last name is absolute money in terms of how easy it is to sell its punnability. Considering how good he looked this spring and his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, I think we’ll get plenty of chances to pay tribute to this wonderful last name with a fire-sale of excellent puns.
- Logan Diggs: Logan’s first name could easily open you up to a world of Wolverine and X-Men references, but it’s really his last name that I Digg, to be honest. You could use it to talk about how the opponent’s end zone is his new home (e.g. “Logan’s once again gone to check out his new Diggs, the Ohio State end zone!”) or to make lots of Holes/shovel/graveyard references — which could go a ton of different, very enjoyable ways.
- Jack Kiser: The upperclassman linebacker from Royal Center, Indiana is yet another great name flush with punnability, considering Jack could be used to deal out some card-game/poker/casino/gambling puns or be used to describe his propensity for stealing the ball from the other team or his knack for lifting his team up, just like a car jack. Kiser, meanwhile, could be used to crack wise about everyone’s favorite integrated managed care consortium, or about German tanks and WWII (always a hilarious topic for jokes), or even to reference The Usual Suspects. Simply put, Jack Kiser’s name — though seemingly simple/ordinary at first glance, can be used in a multitude of ways in order to get our pun-fix.
- Xavier Watts: There’s not a ton you can do with Xavier aside from plays off of “X,” but Watts is an incredibly fun and versatile last name for pun-making. It can be used to ask questions (e.g. “Watts the opponent thinking trying to block Xavier with a slot receiver??”) or to plug into some pretty electric puns about light bulbs, energy, and anything else related to electricity. Wired with Watts’ athleticism and aggression and potential for a breakout year in 2022, this could be a fun season to make some puns for this young man.
- Prince Kollie: This one is too straightforward for me to spend too much time on it. There’s the royal opportunity to increase your majesty in your tweets by riffing off of Prince, or referencing one of the greatest musical artists of all-time or a classic Disney movie with the same moniker. “The linebacker formerly known as Prince” has a nice ring to it, and we could all sing “Prince Kollie” to the tune of “Prince Ali” and have one helluva time. And then the dog puns you can fetch from your creativity are endless here with Kollie, and there are probably some other rhymes or similar words you could play with there as well (e.g. Folly, Molly, Golly, Holly, Jolly, Polly, Wally/Wall-E, etc.). Here’s to hoping this promising 2021 prospect emerges as a real player in the 2022 defense and we’re able to take advantage of all of the above.
- Zeke Correll: Zeke could of course be used with rhyming words like Eke, Beak, Geek, Leak, Meek, Peek/Peak, Reek, Week, etc., but then Correll is a fun one if you want to lasso up some western/ranch-themed puns and/or just talk about shepherding together some large hoofed animals.
- Blake Fisher: I’m sure there are things you could do with Blake, but the real sunken treasure here is Fisher and its connection to anything related to the ocean, rivers, lakes, fish, etc. Maybe you want to tweet about how Harry Hiestand needs to reel in his star tackle because he’s doing too much, or how Rees needs to have Fisher lure an opponent into a devastating pulling block, or maybe you just want to talk about how the sophomore has us all on the hook and biting at the idea of him being an All-American tackle. No matter what route you take, Fisher is an elite punnable name and it will be nice to have Blake around for more than a quarter of football so we can give him the puns he deserves.
- Josh Lugg: Joshin’ is an elite way to talk about someone making a joke, and Lugg is such a fun, endearing way to call someone big/oafish without it being mean. Enter Josh Lugg, super senior utility man on the offensive line — that big ole Lugg who can step into multiple positions as a serviceable member of the line, and we certainly aren’t Joshin’ about that. He won’t have to be the one Lugging the offensive line around with stars like Fisher, Alt, and Patterson leading the charge, but he will still be a critical member of the rotation up front.
- Cane Berrong: Does this name really have a lot of pun potential? For me to put it in this section, with this much confidence, honestly I Cane(t) Berrong about that, you know? He certainly Berrongs here, and I Cane prove it. Also we could make jokes about canes (the ones old people walk with, or candy, or sugar), so that’s pretty sweet.
- Michael Mayer: We all know we will have tons of great opportunities in Michael’s final season for pun-making, considering he’s going to be one of the best players in all of college football in 2022. He’ll be ruling the gridiron like he was elected to do so, and has my vote of confidence as someone who’s got a very punnable name. Maybe we delve into John Mayer’s discography to describe Michael’s elite physical attributes as a wonderland, or maybe we slice into all sorts of Michael Myers references during October. Hell, we could even stretch it to be Mike Myers and open up layers and layers of Shrek references. The opportunities are endless with this All-American tight end.
- Tyson Ford: His first name is a big meat producer and his last name is a big automobile manufacturer. It would be fowl not to drive each other to manufacture as many puns about Tyson Ford as possible, even if he doesn’t play a ton this coming season. We still should have them ready, and find every opportunity to steer the conversation toward any of the b(r)e(a)st puns we’ve got.
Which Is Your Favorite Punnable Name for 2022???
Well friends, that’s all I’ve got on this topic for today. But this needn’t end here, especially considering we’re still 3+ months away from the season opener.
So, it’s time to take this conversation to a poll and to the comment section — WHAT PUNNABLE NAME IS YOUR FAVORITE?
What is the best and most punnable name on the 2022 Notre Dame football roster?
This poll is closed
Other (explain in the comments)
SOUND OFF IN THE COMMENTS AS WELL — I want to be swimming in groan-worthy puns by the time I dive into the comment section tomorrow evening after work. Gimme your best puns and let’s get ready for a fun ND live-tweeting game experience next season.