Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 18, 2021

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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52 SEPT. 18, 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED IRISH ECHOES JIM LEFEBVRE A s the Chicago showdown with Wis- consin approaches, we continue our look at the greatest players from Chicagoland to don a Fighting Irish jer- sey. Today, the defense. All players are from Chicago unless otherwise noted. LINEMEN Dan Shannon, 1951-54 • 6-0, 190 • Mt. Carmel H.S. His Notre Dame teammates had a term to describe an opponent being corralled by the ferocity of this Irish de- fender — "You've been Shannonized," they'd proclaim. He was an inspirational leader of the 1953-54 teams, which went 18-1-1. He served as co-captain in 1954. Backup: Chuck Collins, 1922-24 • 6-0, 177 • St. Ignatius H.S. Chris Zorich, 1987-90 • 6-1, 282 • Vocational H.S. One of the most prolific defenders in Notre Dame history, Zorich contributed to the national champions in 1988, then was a two-time consensus All-Amer- ican in 1989-90, UPI Lineman of the Year in 1989 and winner of the Lom- bardi Trophy in 1990. He was defensive MVP of the 1991 Orange Bowl. Zorich played six years with the hometown Chicago Bears. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007. Backup: Scott Zettek, 1976-80 • 6-5, 245 • Elk Grove Village, St. Viator H.S. Bryant Young, 1990-93 • 6-3, 305 • Chicago Heights, Bloom H.S. After an outstanding Notre Dame ca- reer in which he garnered first-team All- America honors in his senior year (1993), Young was the seventh player chosen in the 1994 NFL Draft and went on to a stellar 14-year career with the San Fran- cisco 49ers. He was a four-time All-Pro selection, the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1999 and was selected to the NFL's 1990s All-Decade Team. Young was a Super Bowl champion with the 49ers and totaled 89.5 career sacks. Backup: Jeff Alm, 1986-89 • 6-7, 270 • Orland Park, Sandburg H.S. Renaldo Wynn, 1993-96 • 6-3, 280 • De La Salle Institute Following the path of earlier stars from De La Salle who excelled at Notre Dame, Wynn became a formidable force from his defensive end position. He made 67 tackles with 6.5 sacks in 1995, then added 61 tackles with nine sacks in his senior year, 1996. A first-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Wynn played 13 seasons for five NFL teams. Backup: Darrell Campbell, 2000-03 • 6-4, 300 • South Holland, Thorn- wood H.S. LINEBACKERS Marty Wendell, 1944, 1946-48 • 5-10, 215 • Evanston, St. George H.S. Wendell's college career was inter- rupted in 1945 for service with the U.S. Navy during World War II. At Notre Dame, he was shifted from fullback to guard to center on offense, but was a mainstay of the Irish defense. After the 1948 season, when Wendell earned All- America recognition, head coach Frank Leahy called him the best linebacker he had ever coached. Backup: Mark Zavagnin, 1979-82 • 6-2, 228 • Evergreen Park, St. Rita H.S. George Connor, 1946-47 • 6-3, 240 • De La Salle Institute Connor took a circuitous route to be- come one of ND's all-time greats. Out of De La Salle, he played two seasons (1942-43) at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., then served two years in the U.S. Navy. In 1946, he was drafted by the New York Giants but chose to enroll at Notre Dame, to be closer to his ill father in Chi- cago. He led the undefeated national champions of 1946 and 1947, earning consensus All-America honors. In 1946, he was awarded the first Outland Tro- phy as the nation's best interior lineman. He followed his time in South Bend with eight years with the Bears, becoming a six-time All-Pro selection and a member of the NFL's 1940s All-Decade team. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1963 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1975. Backup: Corey Mays, 2002-05 • 6-1, 245 • Morgan Park H.S. Two-time consensus All-American (1989-90) Chris Zorich was one of the most prolific defend- ers in Notre Dame history. He won the Lombardi Trophy as the nation's top lineman in 1990. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS George Connor led the Fighting Irish to consecu- tive national championships in 1946-47. After his career with the Chicago Bears, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1975. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS Stars From Chicagoland Have Anchored Many Irish Defenses

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