The #3 jersey number at Notre Dame has a special history and tradition. Some of the all time greats to ever put on the blue and gold have done so sporting the #3. Montana. Mirer. Powlus. Floyd. All players who you all know by their last name alone. Incoming freshman 5-star defensive tackle is apparently about to throw his name in the mix as well.
In an interview on Signing Day, Vanderdoes stated that he wouldn’t be wearing his familiar #47 that he wore throughout high school opting instead for #3 to continue a recent tradition of Irish defensive linemen wearing single digits.
“They have someone at #47. In tlaking to Louie Nix and them and Louie is going to be #1 1 this year and Stephon is #7. He goes, ‘Bro, you’ve got to get a single digit number.’ Itwas either three or five, and I took three,” Vanderdoes said on Signing Day.
And with that, the #3 jersey gets a 5-star defensive tackle added to its tradition and history – a history that until recently was dominated by quarterbacks.
Joe Montana, Rick Mirer, and Ron Powlus all wore #3 throughout the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s for Notte Dame. Since then the jersey has been reserved more for special players. Darius Walker was given #3 by Tyrone Willingham and could have left Notre Dame as its all-time leading rusher if he stayed for his senior season.
Michael Floyd was given #3 by Charlie Weis and all Floyd did was completely rewrite the Notre Dame history books and leave the University as the undisputed all-time greatest wide receiver to ever wear a Notre Dame jersey – regardless of number.
Vanderdoes though will be the first prominent defensive player to start off his career wearing the #3. He won’t be the only #3 on the Irish roster though. Junior to be Amir Carlisle was also given #3 by Brian Kelly last year – a good indication of what Kelly thinks the running back is capable of for those who keep forgetting about the USC transfer.
Vanderdoes being given #3 by the Irish staff should give everyone a good indication of their expectations for the crown jewel of the 2013 Notre Dame recruiting class. Big things are expected of the big defensive tackle from California from the fans and coaches alike. Vanderdoes became an instant fan favorite for his Signing Day decision to come to Notre Dame after previously being a commitment to USC early on in the recruiting process.
Notre Dame is going to have a lot of mass upfront sporting single digit jersey numbers this year with Nix wearing #1, Tuitt wearing #7, and now Vanderdoes at #3. It is very possible to see some formations with the three of them all lined up next to each other this year which will make for an interesting jersey alignment that is equally intimidating to opposing offensive lines for it’s talent.