Fuller returns home a leading man

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Will Fuller left Philadelphia as a relatively anonymous high school football player. Yes, he had committed to Notre Dame, choosing the Irish over Penn State. But on Signing Day in February of 2013, not many had an inkling that Fuller would become the next great Notre Dame wide receiver. Even when Brian Kelly talked about the three-star receiving prospect, he mentioning Fuller was a guy that “flew under the radar a little bit.”

Fast-forward three football seasons and Fuller returns home to Philadelphia as one of college football’s leading men. His 23 touchdowns over his last 20 games have turned him into one of the most dangerous receivers in the game, a long way removed from the skinny kid from Philadelphia’s Roman Catholic High School.

“I don’t know that anybody has slowed down Will Fuller,” Temple coach Matt Rhule said on Tuesday.

The usually quiet Fuller spoke with the local media on Wednesday, shedding a little light on what it’ll be like playing in front of a hometown crowd and in a city that means so much to him. (Fuller has a prominent tattoo on his arm dedicated to Philadelphia.) Especially doing it on college football’s center stage, a primetime ABC broadcast following ESPN’s College GameDay broadcasting live from the City of Brotherly Love.

“It’s like a dream come true. I would never have thought about this happening,” Fuller said. “It’s going to be real cool.”

Fuller knows Temple well. He was recruited by Steve Addazio’s staff, offered a scholarship as a junior before drawing national attention. He’ll have an army of family and friends in the stadium, watching to see if Fuller will continue his big play ways in Lincoln Financial Stadium.

After using his matchup with Adoree Jackson to rectify some of the struggles he had against Clemson, Fuller seems to be embracing the challenge of being a marked man against one of college football’s stingiest defenses.

“It’s an exciting feeling right now, going back home, being one of the good players on the Notre Dame team and just having that target on your back,” Fuller said. “Going home is going to be fun.”

With five games left in a regular season that still has all of its goals intact, Fuller has a chance to put together another year that’ll vault him into Notre Dame’s record books. And while a stay-or-go decision is likely on the horizon, keeping the focus on the present—a special trip back home and the November road ahead—is challenge enough.

“This is a real important game for us and we know it, not just this game but all five games left,” Fuller said Wednesday. “We have to win these five games, so we are just going to take it one game at a time and see what happens from there.”