Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2023

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 27 of 55

28 AUGUST 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY JACK SOBLE T he Jaden Greathouse "wide re- ceiver glove budget" was a thing at Austin (Texas) Westlake High School. Greathouse, then Westlake's star receiver and now a freshman at Notre Dame, has massive hands. His dad, Chris Giles, said that they're like NFL star DeAndre Hopkins' hands. Accounts of his glove size range from double extra-large to quadruple extra-large. Whichever it is, it makes his gloves dif- ficult to find and expensive to buy. They would also go missing, his parents no- ticed, more often than they should. "Jaden, he used to ask us to buy him gloves 24/7," Giles told Blue & Gold Il- lustrated. "At first, it was fine and he would get gloves here and there. Then he was needing new gloves every single week." Chris and Nicole Giles, Jaden's mom, didn't know why this was happening. One theory was that they just kept rip- ping, which they suspected wasn't true, because they were ordering him Nike VaporMax gloves in his size. Westlake coach Tony Salazar knew the answer. "Little kids watch our practices and our games," Salazar said. "He kept giv- ing them away to all the kids on the sideline. So, we had the Jaden Great- house 'wide receiver glove budget.' But that's just who he is. He's a man of the people." Greathouse's coaches and parents weren't thrilled that they had to re- peatedly spend $50-60 on gloves. They are thrilled, however, with what it rep- resents about his character. And they know how several high-character traits helped Greathouse become a receiver many believe can help Notre Dame this season. 'DON'T WASTE MY TIME' Greathouse averaged 13.8 points per game on the basketball court as a ju- nior at Westlake. Basketball was Great- house's main focus until high school. In seventh grade, Greathouse asked his dad, who works with young ath- letes in Austin as a sports performance trainer, to help him with an objective. He wanted to dunk. "I treated him like any other athlete," Chris Giles said. "I told him, don't waste my time." Greathouse and his dad trained for an hour or more, four days each week, with workouts that Chris Giles usually gives to high schoolers. Greathouse gained muscle, got stronger and could jump higher. "That's when a light flipped in him," Chris Giles said. "He was just like, 'This is what I have to do to be better than anyone else out there.'" The work ethic immediately trans- lated to high school. "When your best players are your hardest workers, that makes coaching a lot easier," Salazar said. "I'm not having to worry about having prima donnas as my best players, taking reps off or thinking they can skip a practice be- cause they can be there for a game. That ain't it." No freshman had ever started for Westlake, which Greathouse's parents couldn't believe at the time, given it's a program that has produced Super Bowl MVP quarterback Drew Brees and six- time Pro Bowl kicker Justin Tucker, both likely future Pro Football Hall of Fam- ers. Westlake offensive coordinator Kirk Rogers and then-coach Todd Dodge, who retired after a legendary career with the Chaps after the 2021 season, gave Greathouse a chance. They knew he was talented enough, but they needed him to be mentally tough enough to compete with the older players. Even though he was only 14, he was. "He's been blessed with physical tal- ent and the mental part of the game," Salazar said. "He allowed his parents to instill it in him, and when he got to us, he let us coach him hard." The upperclass- men on the roster to o k G rea t h o u s e under their wing. Instead of feeling like he was threat- e n i n g t h e i r jo bs, t h ey h e l p e d h i m with the transition. "It's such a family there," Nicole Giles said. "I mean, he didn't know where any of his classes were. All these kids could drive. But it was such a great experience for him." Chris Giles remembers when he re- alized his son belonged on the varsity team. It was Westlake's game against Lake Travis in 2019, the "Battle of the Lakes." He wasn't necessarily impressed by Greathouse's offensive showing. The Chaps lost, and Greathouse wasn't tar- geted as much as he was in some other games. But he saw his son going all-out on routes he knew he wouldn't be tar- geted on. "He had some battles with him and the corners, and he got a couple [pass Greathouse had 11 catches for 118 yards in the Blue-Gold Game this past spring, both of which led all participating players. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER READY-MADE Freshman wide receiver Jaden Greathouse has been groomed to make an immediate impact for Notre Dame

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - August 2023