We’ve reviewed the careers of the big names departing the Notre Dame football program. Now, let’s honor the unsung heroes of the Fighting Irish.
Considering the 2015-2016 college football season is behind us and the 2016 NFL Draft is almost complete, Slap the Sign finishes its “Exit Interviews,” where we review the players leaving the program, what they’re leaving behind and taking with them, and how Notre Dame plans on replacing their production and experience.
Production at ND
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We’ve covered the major contributors leaving Notre Dame, but there are plenty more players who have given their fair share of contributions over their Irish careers that deserve a proper sendoff. These are the under-appreciated, depth-providing, scout-team-and-special-teams warriors who made both sizable and small contributions on the field and in the locker room. Whether it was Nicky Baratti coming in and making some plays as a freshman safety (goal line interception of Denard Robinson in 2012? Uh, hell yeah) or the numerous walk-ons (Travis Allen, Cam Bryan, Nick Ossello, Eamon McOsker, Conor Cavalaris, Hunter Smith, Josh Anderson) who served important scout team and special teams roles over the years, everyone made a contribution to the team’s success.
Chase Hounshell started as a defensive lineman and ended up making huge contributions in 2015 as an in-line blocker at tight end. John Turner was a special teams mainstay and provided solid depth at safety/linebacker throughout his career (and went to my high school, shout out to CHS!). Mark Harrell provided important depth on the interior of the offensive line and pushed the starters to continue to bulldoze opposing defenses.
Most of these players’ contributions cannot be quantified, but they were important nonetheless, and should be recognized as such as they all graduate and move on to their post-football playing lives.
What Their Departure Means
Very simply put, their departures mean the loss of experienced, veteran presences in the locker room who knew how to come to work, put in their time, and push everyone else around them to be better. They are leaving Notre Dame with a fantastic degree and plenty of fond memories, but they’re also taking with them leadership, depth, and all of the little things they did to make this program stronger.
Favorite Personal Memory from Players’ Careers
No question, it’s running back Josh Anderson and this wonderful moment he was able to share with his teammates and coaches after 4 years of hard work. This is what it’s all about, guys:
So, thank you to all of these fantastic players for giving your time and talent to the ND football program! As a die-hard fan, I could not appreciate more the little things you all did to make the product on the field that much better for us in the stands. Good luck in your post-Irish endeavors, and God bless!