May 8, 2013, 6:58 PM EDT
Sad news out of the Notre Dame football program. Former fullback Asaph Schwapp has lost his battle with cancer. He was just 26 years old.
News of his grave condition broke earlier today when former Irish coach Charlie Weis tweeted, “One of the first young men I ever recruited to ND, Asaph Schwapp is gravely ill. Please share with me in praying for Ace and his family.”
Just hours later, news began to pour onto social media that Schwapp had passed away, losing a lengthy battle with lymphoma. Schwapp’s mother lost a fight to ovarian cancer when he was a youngster.
Blue and Gold’s Lou Somogyi shared some wonderful insight into Schwapp, who Somogyi points out might be the last true fullback in Notre Dame history:
The 6-foot, 257-pound Schwapp enrolled at Notre Dame in the summer of 2005 after earning Gatorade Player of the Year honors in his home state of Connecticut. One of the first recruits under new head coach Charlie Weis, Schwapp was an inspiring story because he made the most of his talents after his mother, Evelyn, died from ovarian cancer when he was nine years old.
Raised by an aunt and uncle, Schwapp grew up in the rough inner-city of Hartford, Conn., but was ranked among the top five students in his senior class at Weaver High School and was one of the strongest freshmen ever to attend Notre Dame, bench-pressing 455 pounds upon his arrival. He also ran a 24.0 in the 200 meters at Weaver.
“My whole thing is trying to make my family proud,” said Schwapp during his first month at Notre Dame. “That is driving me, and that is part of why I chose Notre Dame. It doesn’t get much better.”
Schwapp saw the field his freshman season as a lead blocker for Darius Walker. Used primarily in short yardage situations, Schwapp contributed early as a blocker and carried the ball 44 times in his career for 98 yards, while also catching eight passes.
Schwapp signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys but never suited up. He played a season in the UFL before moving onto a business career.