Notre Dame had a very special guest address them on Tuesday. NFL legend and future hall of fame Larry Fitzgerald spoke to the team, telling them how lucky they are to be in the position they are in today.
If you’re looking for connections to the Notre Dame staff, Fitzgerald and wide receivers coach Chansi Stuckey were teammates for a year with the Arizona Cardinals in 2011 – Stuckey’s last in the NFL. Neither Notre Dame or Stuckey have said that it was Stuckey who invited Fitzgerald to campus, but it is the most obvious connection between Fitz and the Irish coaching staff.
Marcus Freeman has made it a point to have as many influential outside voices around the team as he can get in the early days of his Notre Dame tenure. Whether it’s former Notre Dame players or other influential players like Fitzgerald, Freeman’s made it a point of emphasis it seems to get outside voices on campus.
Hopefully, while Fitzgerald was on campus, he got to spend some time with a Notre Dame wide receivers room that took a big hit last weekend with the injury to Avery Davis. The Irish still have plenty of talent available but are lacking in numbers at the position. Youngsters Lorenzo Styles, Deion Colzie, Jayden Thomas, and Tobias Merriweather certainly would benefit from speaking to the legendary receiver as they start to scratch the surface of their talents. Veterans like Braden Lenzy and Joe Wilkins, who are nearing the end of their college careers with a final shot at making an impression on NFL evaluators, would as well.
I wonder what Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi, who has a bug up his butt about Notre Dame for years, thinks of the all-time great Pitt receiver saying that Notre Dame has unquestionably the greatest tradition in college football history. Of course Narduzzi could never claim Pitt comes close to Notre Dame in that regard, but then again, he didn’t let the facts get in the way of his recent revisionist history storytelling about Pitt’s loss to Michigan State in the Peach Bowl either.
Fitzgerald faced Notre Dame twice in his collegiate career (2002 and 2003) – both Notre Dame wins. Fitzgerald did score two touchdowns against the Irish in 2003 in the “Julius Jones game”. Fitzgerald retired from the NFL following the 2020 with 1,432 career receptions for 17,492 yards and 121 touchdowns. He ranks 2nd all-time in both receptions and yards behind only Jerry Rice.