Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 4, 2023

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM NOV. 4, 2023 17 It's not difficult for those who knew him to do that. Osafo-Mensah called Jordan "a sensation" — on and off the field. He said he was happy to be in- volved in all things football. That was infectious. Moss saw it the same way. "Ty Jordan was a people person," he said. "Never met a stranger. Biggest smile in the room. Probably the tough- est competitor we've ever had at True Buzz when it comes to wanting to go best on best." Osafo-Mensah wanted to be around such drive. Such fire. He spent the sum- mer of 2020 working out with Jordan at True Buzz before he went north to Indiana and Jordan went west to Utah. Neither had any idea those workouts under the hot Texas sun would be the last they ever had together. Football was supposed to be something they shared throughout college and possibly into the pros. It wasn't meant to be. 'ALWAYS A PLAN' Osafo-Mensah found a glass half full where others would have thrown a glass half empty at the ground and given up. He wears No. 31 at Notre Dame because there are 31 chapters in The Book of Proverbs. He's a man of religious con- viction, and he leaned on it heavily in the wake of his friend's sudden passing. "People go through a lot of situations out of their control, but they can re- ally stay strong in their faith," Osafo- Mensah said. "There is always a plan for you. There is always a reason for why something is happening. "It can take you a long way. It can re- ally get you out of some dark places." It's taken Osafo-Mensah to the point of being one of the most reliable play- ers on a Notre Dame defense that has excelled, perhaps beyond expectations, in 2023, even though he isn't a starter or a team captain in his fifth season. Osafo-Mensah had back-to-back games with a sack to begin October. He previously had 1 sack in four-plus years at Notre Dame. He's coming on strong, and he still has another year of colle- giate eligibility if he wishes to prove he can come on even stronger. He said he's still contemplating his future. Jordan would be proud of the success of his companion regardless of what he decides. They were both bound for a ton of it. Only Osafo-Mensah is able to keep the pair's dream alive. He does so through the strength of four letters and the empowerment that comes from playing for something — for someone — bigger than himself. "He is an outspoken leader," Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman said. "He leads through the way he performs but also sometimes through his ver- bal emotion. He's a well-respected guy amongst our players. He's done a great job. "And [he's] another guy that takes advantage of his opportunities. A guy that probably deep down would want to be the starter and get more reps, but he doesn't complain. He gives you ev- erything he has with his reps and gives his team as much leadership as he has in his body. "We need guys like Nana to reach our full potential. You can't just rely on only the head coach or only the captains to be leaders. … Nana is a true example of a leader for our program." ✦ "It is such a blessing to have so many guys who remember Ty fondly. I love it. And I'm very thankful for them to continue to keep Ty's name and legacy alive." TAKKA JORDAN, TY JORDAN'S AUNT

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