Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 12, 2016

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 18 of 55 SEPT. 12, 2016 19 landing on Tranquill's right knee, re- sulting in a second ACL surgery. A couple of weeks later, Tranquill's younger brother Justin, a freshman safety at Western Michigan, tore his left ACL — and he had been side- lined the year prior in high school with a right ACL tear. It led to some wondering whether the Tranquil ge- netic makeup is predisposed to such an injury. "We joke about it," Tranquill said. "I know my mom was always look- ing into that. I tore my second one, and then he tore his second one two w e e k s l a t e r i n practice. It was a laughing phone call of, 'You've got to be kidding me!' I t ' s s o m e t h i n g where we were able to lean on each other… it was definitely a cool thing. "It's over now, we're past it and hopefully, we move forward, stay healthy and continue to push each other and be the best that we can be." Taking a tentative or negative ap- proach is not in his DNA. "I've played football since I was 5 years old, and I never had issues with knick-knack injuries," Tranquill said. "I don't see myself as an injury- prone guy. It was kind of two fluke injuries where I was like, 'Wow, this never happened before.' "I always had the mindset, 'Let me get back on the field,' and my team- mates were always pulling for me to make me better. If anything, I might be pushing it too hard to get back on the field at times. I'm really comfortable men- tally … stronger than ever." "A true warrior knows he is fighting for something bigger than himself." Off the field, Tranquill joins classmate and starting center Sam Mustipher as the lone engineering majors on the team. Tranquill's mechanical engineering discipline this semester will include 12-semester credit hours in Design of Machine Elements (how to con- struct engines and their functional- ity), Fluid Dynamics (the movement of fluid through pipes), AutoCAD (essentially drawing up parts and computers) and Fundamentals of Engineering and Business Practice, which focuses on high-level execu- tive work including reading financial statements and account summaries. Majoring in engineering is an ardu- ous task upon itself. Then add foot- ball to the mix. And now add that Tranquill's cumulative grade-point average is in the "3.75 to 3.8 range" on a 4.0 scale. Achieving that as a student is exceptional. Accomplish- ing it as a student-athlete while also overcoming two major knee surger- ies goes beyond extraordinary. "Notre Dame just does a great job of putting you in an environment to succeed," Tranquill said of dealing with his workload. "They have all the resources for you, and the people are great at making it an enjoyable process. That's most important. "And then there is a lot of personal growth that has to take place in time management and your effectiveness while doing things. You have only a certain number of hours in a day … it's really been an opportunity to get to know myself really well." From May 17 to June 7, after the conclusion of the spring semester, Tranquill traveled to Jerusalem to take a Notre Dame theology course titled "Three Faiths, Two Peoples: Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land," which included tours of the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth and Bethlehem. "I tell everyone I learned more in three weeks there than I probably would have learned in a year-long course in terms of the social conflict, political conflict and religious con- flict," said Tranquill, whose summer school work also included a computer program class on source coding. "It's a really special place to be. It spurred my academic interest and my faith, just getting to see a lot of different sites … it was pretty surreal." While his body and mind have led him to Notre Dame, it is his spirit that is the foremost bedrock of his life, which is why dealing with per- sonal setbacks the past two years h a v e k e p t h i m grounded. "It's my faith in my Lord Sav- ior Jesus Christ," Tranquill said. "It's just a perspec- tive in life. I have the opportunity to come back and enjoy this great game of football, whereas a lot of people sometimes — whether they're born with something or come down with cancer — they are not afforded that opportunity. "I just consider myself extremely blessed to be out here again, being able to play this game. I definitely cherish that. I was able to keep a perspective on what I was going through and keep a certain reference point, and that really helped me." On the opening day of fall practice, Tranquill gathered dozens of team- mates around him, hand in hand, to say a prayer for former teammate Greg Bryant, who left the school last August and died May 8 from gun fire in his home state of Florida. Grade-A Student-Athletes In 1952, the NCAA began its recognition of Academic All-American football players — athletes that excelled on the field of play and in the classroom. Since then, 46 different Fighting Irish players have received the honor, beginning with the lone three- time Academic All-American in halfback Joe Heap (1952-54). To be nominated, a student-athlete must, among various attributes, be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) at his current institution, and must have participated in at least 50 percent of the team's games at the position listed on the nomination form. With a cumulative grade-point average in the 3.80 range and an opportunity to star at strong safety, Notre Dame junior Drue Tranquill could continue an impressive string of the football team producing at least one Academic All-American the past 10 seasons. The list has included, chronologically, tight end John Carlson (first team in 2006, second in 2007), special teams star Mike Annello (second team in both 2008 and 2009), kicker David Ruffer (first team in 2010), linebacker Manti Te'o (second team in 2011 and first team in 2012), offensive lineman Mike Golic Jr. (first team in 2012), and wide receiver Corey Robinson (first team in 2014), the current school student body president whose multiple concussions prompted him to end his football career. — Lou Somogyi "I JUST CONSIDER MYSELF EXTREMELY BLESSED TO BE OUT HERE AGAIN, BEING ABLE TO PLAY THIS GAME. I DEFINITELY CHERISH THAT. I WAS ABLE TO KEEP A PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT I WAS GOING THROUGH AND KEEP A CERTAIN REFERENCE POINT, AND THAT REALLY HELPED ME." TRANQUILL

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Sept. 12, 2016