Noie: Chicago has long been Notre Dame's kind of town - for football talent
CHICAGO — Suburban guys need not apply.
That means you Cole Kmet and Tom Zbikowski. You too Tommy Rees. And we’re not talking about you either, Bryant Young. Or, thankfully, you too Rudy.
Saturday morning finds the No. 12 Notre Dame football team back in Chicago to play a game (against No. 18 Wisconsin) for the first time in nine years. Chicago’s been good to the Catholic school about 77 miles down the Indiana Toll Road.
The CITY of Chicago, that is.
Following is our all-Chicago Notre Dame team, a squad selected based solely on players who hail from the city of Chicago. Unofficially, there are 204 of them listed in the Notre Dame football media guide. And they’re all Chicago guys. Not from the suburbs. Not from Northern Indiana. Just guys who were/are as Chicago as Italian beef sandwiches (always hot and dipped), deep dish pizza (Lou’s!) and the El.
Players are listed alphabetically. For good measure, we’ve thrown in a coach, and a director of football operations kind of guy. Enjoy!
George Connor (OT)
A two-time All-American and national champion, Connor won the 1946 Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman.
Ziggy Czarobski (OT)
He served two years in the military, then went to Notre Dame where he started at right guard and earned All-American honors on the 1946 and 1947 national championship teams.
Darius Fleming (DE/LB)
He made 158 tackles with 32.5 tackles for loss and 15 sacks in his collegiate career.
Bill Fischer (G)
A two-time All-American and three-year starter, he was the captain of the 1948 national championship squad.
Tony Furjanic (LB)
Furjanic was an undersized captain and a tackling machine of the 1985 squad. Close your eyes and you can still hear his name being called by former play-by-play guy Harry Kalas.
Tim Grunhard (C)
Grunhard started every game in 1988 and was the cornerstone of the Irish offensive line during its last national championship season.
Brian Hamilton (DE)
A quarterback terror during his time, he’s not the same guy who once covered the Irish for the Chicago Tribune, though that guy now lives in Chicago.
Robert Hughes (FB)
One of the program’s last true throwback fullbacks, Hughes rushed for 1,462 yards and 15 touchdowns in his career. He also caught 43 passes for 370 yards.
Moose Krause (T)
The guy lettered in four sports at Notre Dame, later coached at the school and was athletic director. He really did do it all.
John Lattner (HB)
If this squad needs a captain, the 1953 Heisman Trophy winner certainly would qualify.
Corey Mays (LB)
Reportedly the first Chicago public-league player since Chris Zorich to be extended a scholarship offer to Notre Dame, Mays made 80 tackles with 12 tackles for loss and five sacks his senior year in 2005.
Bert Metzger (G)
A two-time national champion (1929, ‘30) Metzger was considered by legendary coach Knute Rockne as the greatest guard he’d ever seen. Metzger stood 5-foot-9 and weighed 149 pounds. As a GUARD.
George Streeter (FS)
Anybody who played on the last Irish national championship team makes this team, though Streeter also was a really good defensive back in his college days.
Renaldo Wynn (DE)
Soft spoken and downright quiet away from the field, he had the look of a future pass-rushing pro in 1995-96.
Chris Zorich (NT)
Wearing a half jersey and a scowl of a backyard brawler, few were as fierce in the trenches as Zorich, who personified the city’s blue-collar work ethic from 1987-91
Coach: Knute Rockne (LE)
A former Irish player, Rockne opened the 2021 college football season as the winningest football coach in school history with 105 victories. He might be No. 2 by the time Saturday ends.
Director of Football Operations: Pete Schivarelli (DT)
A two-year letterman at defensive tackle, Schivarelli is best known as the manager for the group Chicago. He’d do a good job overseeing this outfit.
Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI