Blue and Gold Illustrated

June-July 2022

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

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22 JUNE/JULY 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY TODD D. BURLAGE F or Notre Dame junior Rylie Mills, nothing short of perfection will ever do — and that's in whatever he's doing. And in an effort to achieve it, Mills tirelessly practices and reps his craft over and over, undeterred by the trials and er- rors during his quest for perfection. Mills, a talented Notre Dame defen- sive lineman, shared stories this spring of the patience, passion and exhilara- tion he gained after finally accomplish- ing his latest personal challenge that had nothing to do with swim moves or quarterback sacks. Instead of discussing what it will take to become a starting Fighting Irish line- man this fall, Mills celebrated his gui- tar mastery of an intricate song titled "The Worst" by instrumental rock band Polyphia. "It took me like six months to really get it down," Mills shared. "It's pretty meticulous. I like learning the details of it." Be it through his music — Mills plays guitar, drums, bass and ukulele — or juggling, acting, football or anything else that tests him physically and men- tally, the Chicagoland native dives in headfirst and won't stand for shoddy workmanship or incomplete results. A story in The Athletic explained that when Mills wanted to learn how to jug- gle, he needed only a couple of YouTube videos and three days to master it. Rubik's Cube? Two days. Shot put and discus? One of the best in Illinois. And with football, Mills demonstrates that same passion, work ethic and push for perfection. "Rylie is self-motivated," explained Chuck Spagnoli, Mills' head coach at Lake Forest High School. "And as im- possible as it is to understand because he's so big and imposing, he's still a baby and he still has a lot of room to grow and improve. The fact is, he's still young in this football business." A massive but clumsy young man through grade school and his early high school years, a commitment to intense training helped Mills go from a proj- ect player to a four-star recruit and the No. 4 player in Illinois in the 2020 class, according to On3. STRIVING FOR PERFECTION Never satisfied, junior defensive lineman Rylie Mills is poised for a breakout season Mills, who recorded 16 tackles and 3 sacks while seeing time as a reserve at both tackle and end, settled in as the starter at strong-side end during spring practice. PHOTO BY KEITH LUCAS - SIDELINE MEDIA

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