#13 Alan Page, Defensive End, 1964-1966
Alan Page was a High School All-America at Canton Central Catholic when he was recruited by Hugh Devore to come to Notre Dame in 1963. Page was industrious in the high school classroom as well as on the gridiron.
Alan Page was also industrious with his part-time job. Page also worked on a construction team that erected the Pro Football Hall of Fame building in Canton. It is some kind of irony that while Page helped lay the groundwork for the Hall, he would later make a triumphant return and be enshrined in that very NFL Hall of Fame in his home town, matching his enshrinement in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Page spent his freshman year on the freshman quad with fellow Ohioan Jim Lynch. Freshman were ineligible and he, Lynch and their classmates watched the Irish struggle to a 2-7 record. They would be joined by a third Ohio native that December as Akron native Ara Parseghian accepted the job of coaching the Irish.
Ara brought in Johnny Ray from John Carroll in Cleveland to coach his defense and Page was immediately “enshrined” at Right Defensive End, preparing to attack the quarterback’s “Blind Side.” This occurred quickly in the Spring of 1964. Ray was a jarhead and a WW II veteran and had somewhat higher standards for pain and effort than the average guy. Page once referred to Ray as “the meanest white man I ever met.” But Johnny Ray sure coached Page up.
Page was good sized at 6’4” 235 pounds but was easily the most athletic Irish defensive lineman since the legendary George Connor. His speed off the edge was ahead of his time. Page started all 29 games in his varsity career. 12 of those efforts were shutouts. The most points the Irish D ever yielded in his three year career was 25 to Bob Griese and Purdue in ’65.
Alan Page was a scourge coming off the right end position and totaled 134 career tackles, recovered four fumbles, broke up two passes and scored one touchdown. Page was not alone on that great defense, joined by Jim Lynch, Kevin Hardy, Pete Duranko and Tom Schoen. Sure the game was different then, but in three years, the defenses on which Page played yield 188 points in 29 games. That’s LESS than 7 points per game.
In evaluating statistics, keep in mind that defensive statistics are suppressed if you have a lot of three-and-outs, and if you have a lot of romps enabling the second-string to play. Nevertheless, in the epic 1966 championship season, Page had 66 tackles, culminating in a 51-0 shutout over USC in the Coliseum that was not nearly so close as the final score indicated.
He was a first round draft pick and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
When not dreaming dreams and seeing visions of Notre Dame Football glory days, he serves as a Minnesota Supreme Court Justice.
#13) Alan Page, Defensive End, 1964-1966
#14) Frank Carideo, QB, 1928-1930
#15) Creighton Miller, Halfback 1941-1943
#16) Jaylon Smith, LB 2013-2015
#17) Raghib “Rocket” Ismail, ALL PURPOSE, 1988-1990
#18) Tom Clements, Quarterback, 1972-1974
#19) Chris Zorich, Nose Tackle, 1988-1990
#20) Aaron Taylor, Guard/Tackle, 1990-1993
#21) Nick Buoniconti, Linebacker/Guard, 1958-1961
#22) Ken MacAfee, Tight End, 1974-1977
#23) Bill “Moose” Fischer, Left Guard, 1945-1948
#24) Todd Lyght, Cornerback, 1987-1990
#25) Louis “Red” Salmon, Fullback, 1900-1903