Blue and Gold Illustrated

October 28, 2023

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

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16 OCT. 28, 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY TYLER HORKA T he Notre Dame men's lacrosse coaching staff was sitting around a dinner table in Washington, D.C., on the evening of Oct. 7. The topic of conversation was not about any of the players that were with them back at the hotel in the nation's capi- tal for a scrimmage that weekend but rather a player who will soon join them on such road trips after football season is over. Fighting Irish freshman wide receiver Jordan Faison. "We had just been talking about the fact that we had heard rumblings that Jordan was going to play this week," Notre Dame men's lacrosse head coach Kevin Corrigan told Blue & Gold Illustrated. Faison, who showed up at Notre Dame earlier this year with a lacrosse scholar- ship but left Louisville, Ky., on that early October night with one for football, did more than just play for the Irish. He shined. Faison caught a 12-yard zone-beater for a first down on third-and-8. Two plays later, he ran a slot corner for a 36- yard touchdown. Faison burned right by Louisville defensive back Jarvis Brown- lee Jr., tracked the ball over his left shoulder and followed it into his mitts in stride. He caught it just inside the 5-yard line and paced into the end zone. From snap to goal line, which took roughly five seconds, Faison looked like the most athletic guy on the field. All 5-foot-10, 182 pounds of him. Corrigan could have told you he had that in his relatively slender frame. He saw it firsthand in the recruitment of Faison to what is now a national cham- pionship men's lacrosse program at Notre Dame. "There wasn't any question he was athletically gifted," Corrigan said. "He's just got good quickness and explosive- ness. Just a very athletic presentation." Iowa sent Faison his only scholarship offer for football. Penn State and Michi- gan State showed interest, but they never offered him. That was partly because he was injured for a good chunk of his junior year. As a senior at Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Pine Crest, Faison ran for 1,661 yards and 23 touchdowns on 143 carries. He also passed for 280 yards and 6 scores. He was already committed to Notre Dame to play lacrosse at that point. When the Big Ten came calling, Faison had Corrigan talk to Notre Dame foot- ball coach Marcus Freeman about the possibility of preferred walk-on status. "Thankfully, the conversation was, 'Coach, I'm getting attention from other schools but I really want to go to Notre Dame,'" Corrigan said. "'And I really do want to play lacrosse and football if I can.'" Corrigan said Freeman had no quar- rels with the situation. Faison was granted his preferred walk-on opportu- nity. It only took seven weeks of his first football season to shed it. NCAA rules mandate that as soon as a two-sport athlete steps onto the football field, his scholarship switches over to football from whatever it was previously. That comes with more financial aid. Much more. "Money-wise, it was definitely a good feeling," said Faison, who rubbed his thumbs and fingers together like Johnny Manziel used to do immediately after scoring. Former Notre Dame walk-on wide re- ceiver Matt Salerno told him to do that. It took Salerno 35 games to catch his Faison had 2 receptions for 48 yards — including a 36-yard touchdown — during his college football debut for the Fighting Irish at Louisville Oct. 7. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER THE WHOLE PACKAGE Notre Dame wide receiver Jordan Faison earned scholarship status and scored his first career touchdown on the same night "He was routing dudes up, running by them, and I'm like, 'Dang, this kid can run.' He's a baller. He's fast, quick, shifty. He's got the whole package." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR TIGHT END MITCHELL EVANS ON FAISON

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