Dec 11, 2012, 2:00 PM EDT
When you comparing dorm life at Notre Dame to other perennial football powers, a cinder block room on north quad probably doesn’t look too appealing for potential student-athletes. And while schools like Oklahoma erect $75 million living quarters that feel more like penthouses than college dorms, there’s a certain charm to campus life at Notre Dame, where students and athletes live together.
Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde spent a little time on campus last week for a story on dorm life, trailing Irish football players KeiVarae Russell, Romeo Okwara, and Matthias Farley. The entire story is worth a read, but there are some wonderful tidbits worth sharing here.
On KeiVarae Russell finding his place in Sorin Hall.
KeiVarae is a freshman starter from Seattle. They’re two of several players living in Sorin, intermingled with the general student population.
KeiVarae’s roommates are from Brazil, Michigan and North Carolina. None plays football.
“I’ve really enjoyed that,” KeiVarae said. “A lot of schools I visited, the players were isolated from the rest of the students. This makes you fit in.
“Football players, I know how we got here. I didn’t know how my roommate got here from Brazil, or how guys got here from Michigan or North Carolina. I’ve learned a lot.”
Last Thursday, KeiVarae walked a visitor through Sorin introducing him to a wide cross-section of students: the studious kid who is always in the dorm’s basement kitchen on his laptop; the preppy kid who dresses like a male model; the kid who plays saxophone in the marching band; the kid from Mississippi on his way out to buy a gift for the dorm’s Secret Santa freshman present exchange.
Russell lives in Sorin with walk-on defensive lineman Grant Patton as well, along with story-stealer Alvin Hu, a computer science and engineering major with Asperger Syndrome, who is enjoying this title run.
Here’s Romeo Okwara on the challenges that come with jumping from high school to Notre Dame, especially for a (ridiculously large) 17-year-old.
As a freshman, Romeo has a mandatory two-hour study hall Sunday through Wednesday. There are tutors and academic advisers assigned to the players to help them as needed. If they attain a certain grade-point average their first year, they don’t have to attend study hall.
“In high school I felt like I could breeze through,” says Romeo, who is from Charlotte and hopes to major in accounting or finance. “Here, you have to do a lot of studying on your own, outside of class.”
Finally, Forde catches up with safety Matthias Farley, who is on the inside track for being the team’s true Renaissance Man.
Even with math out of the way, Matthias’ days are full. He’s taking 15 credit hours this semester, which means many of his weekdays go like this: weightlifting from 8-9 a.m., class from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., meetings at 2:15 p.m. and then practice. After dinner at the training table, it’s time to study for a few hours.
“If you manage your time, you have enough hours in the day,” he says. “I learned last year that I can do it – I can manage the academic load, the social aspect and football, and still be fine and sane.”
This year he lives in Dillon hall with two teammates, but that’s not who he spends all his time with. The night before his last Satire class, Matthias was playing soccer video games with a bunch of non-football friends.
“I feel like living in a football dorm would really limit you socially,” he says.
When the Irish are a five-loss team, stories like this from student-athletes can be used to explain why Notre Dame might never make it back to the top of college football’s mountain. But when the team is 12-0 and playing a program like Nick Saban’s Alabama team — run more like an NFL squad than anything collegiate — well, it feels a little bit like Nuke Laloosh’s shower shoes.
Jul 27, 2014, 12:59 PM EDT
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Jul 26, 2014, 11:17 AM EDT
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Jul 24, 2014, 5:42 PM EDT
Notre Dame broke the mold when they signed offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey. With a body better suited for Mike Brey’s hardwood, the Philadelphia native looked like a developmental project when he pledged his commitment to Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish. Irish A-to-Z continues with a look at Notre Dame’s starting right tackle.
Jul 24, 2014, 3:54 PM EDT
Wide receiver Will Mahone, whose future at Notre Dame is still uncertain, was sentenced to 10 days in Mahoning County jail on Wednesday stemming from an arrest in June. Mahone has been indefinitely suspended from the football team by Brian Kelly and is not enrolled at the university.
Jul 23, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT
Against just about all odds, senior Cam McDaniel led the Irish in rushing in 2013. Our latest installment in the Irish A-to-Z looks at the veteran running back, who now battles sophomores Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston for carries.
Jul 23, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
In case you haven’t been following along on social media, the installation of Notre Dame’s new synthetic surface is nearly complete. With the team from FieldTurf working this week to lay down the playing field, the Irish will have a playable field to practice on when camp begins on August 4
Jul 22, 2014, 7:17 PM EDT
A recruiting cycle before Notre Dame went hunting late for big bodies to play along the defensive line, they signed a player who might be able to fit that mold in 2014. Fresh off a redshirt, Jacob Matuska has the chance to add some much needed size and strength to Brian VanGorder’s defensive line.
Jul 22, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
The founding member of the 2014 recruiting class, linebacker Greer Martini enters a football program that looks decidedly different than the one he committed to back in July of 2012. Irish A-to-Z continues as we look at the freshman inside linebacker.
Jul 21, 2014, 3:22 PM EDT
No, he’s not his brother. But center Nick Martin should solidify his standing as one of the top centers in the country in 2014. After an injury ended his debut season in the starting lineup early, Martin returns healthy after knee surgery, giving Notre Dame a key anchor in the middle of Harry Hiestand’s offensive line.
Jul 21, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
After losing Troy Niklas and Alex Welch from the depth chart, Notre Dame needed to restock a position that’s been very kind to the Irish over the past few years. Irish A-to-Z continues with freshman tight end Tyler Luatua.
Jul 20, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT
A year after contributing as a freshman, Cole Luke’s assignment will be a bit more ambitious in 2014. One of three cornerbacks who is expected to play major minutes, Irish A-to-Z continues with the sophomore cover man.
Jul 19, 2014, 5:01 PM EDT
One of four graduate students on the Irish roster, Christian Lombard feels like he’s been a part of the Notre Dame football program for a long time. As one of Charlie Weis’ earliest commitments in the 2010 class, Lombard has seen coaching changes, position switches and injury challenges in his five years in South Bend.
Jul 19, 2014, 3:24 PM EDT
After two underwhelming seasons in South Bend, Ben Koyack finally emerged as a legitimate threat late last season. And with Troy Niklas’ unexpected departure to the NFL, Koyack has a chance to be the next in a line of impressive tight ends playing on Sundays. The Irish A-to-Z continues with a look at Notre Dame’s starting tight end.
Jul 17, 2014, 3:04 PM EDT
With just two other scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, incoming freshman DeShone Kizer begins his college career a bit closer to the playing field than any head coach would like. Our latest in Irish A-to-Z looks at Notre Dame’s quarterback from the 2014 recruiting class.
Jul 17, 2014, 12:27 PM EDT
Injuries to Louis Nix and Kona Schwenke gave Jarron Jones his shot at a new position. The rising junior took advantage of his opportunities. Our next installment in Irish A-to-Z takes a look at Notre Dame’s new starting defensive tackle.
Jul 16, 2014, 6:06 PM EDT
When Notre Dame added Torii Hunter Jr. to the roster on Signing Day 2013, the Irish did more than just add another famous father to the family section at Notre Dame Stadium. Our next installment on Irish A-to-Z looks at a rising sophomore who is healthy after entering Notre Dame with a major injury.
Jul 16, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT
Few football programs need a press release to discuss the markings on their home football field. But after months of wonderment by certain segments of the Irish football fanbase, the athletic department gave us an early “look” at what the new synthetic playing surface will look like when Notre Dame takes the field this fall.
Jul 15, 2014, 12:43 PM EDT
Entering his senior season, Chase Hounshell’s career has been defined by what’s kept him off the field, not his performance on it. Our next installment in Irish A-to-Z looks closer at the Ohio native who has battled back from multiple shoulder injuries.