John Huarte, QB, 1962 – 1964
You can’t leave a Heisman Trophy winner off this list. In the early 1960s, Notre Dame was not very good. Huarte saw little action during his first two seasons, as the Irish went 7-12. Then, in 1964, he burst onto the scene and turned the program around.
Huarte threw for 2,062 yards, had 17 passing touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He led the Irish to a 9-1 record, was an All-American, and won the Heisman Trophy — becoming the sixth Notre Dame player to take home the award at the time.
During that 1964 season, Huarte shattered the previous Irish record for completions in a season, passing yards in a season, and passing efficiency. He would break a total of 12 school records in 1964.
Huarte was the first true passing quarterback for the Irish. He set the Notre Dame standard when it came to being a quarterback that can pass the ball and make plays — not just run the ball all day out of the Wing-T. Combine this with his Heisman Trophy, and you can lump Huarte into the conversation of all-time Irish greats, not just one of the best to wear No. 7.
Huarte was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.