Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Consensus Reached | by Pat

This is a bit late, but certainly deserves to be mentioned. After we wondered aloud about the possibility earlier last year, Jeff Samardzija was ultimately named a 2005 Consensus All-American wide receiver.

Coming into the season with only 23 career receptions, the lanky wideout with the unpronounceable name was lightly regarded, expecting to help out merely as a third receiver behind Stovall and McKnight. (Witness Keith Jackson in the Pitt clip below, struggling with the name: "Jeff...Smart-cha"). Instead, the secret weapon kicked off the year with a fantastic diving touchdown catch against the Panthers, following that up by catching a touchdown in every single regular season match save the Navy game. When the dust settled he had not only acquired a catchy nickname, but had become Notre Dame's third-ever 1000-yard receiver, and finished second in the nation in touchdown receptions.

As noted by, Samardzija is now Notre Dame's 79th Consensus All-American, which is the highest single school total in college football. At his position, Samardzija is now one of a dozen ND receivers to be awarded with the Consensus title. (Amazingly, he's only the second in the past 10 years; cornerback Shane Walton being the other.)

With all of the awards and honors, Samardzija is sure to be a pre-season All-American next season. If he is able to match his junior year numbers, it is very likely that he will have a chance to pull off the rare feat of being named a two-time Consensus All-American. In ND's long and productive history, only 16 players have managed to acheive that distinction. Should he get it, Samardzija will join the ranks of the following illustrious Irish:

Frank Carideo - 1929-30
Marchy Schwartz - 1930-31
Bob Dove - 1941-42
George Connor - 1946-47
Johnny Lujack - 1946-47
Bill Fischer - 1947-48
Leon Hart - 1948-49
Emil Sitko - 1948-49
Johnny Lattner - 1952-53
Ross Browner - 1976-77
Ken MacAfee - 1976-77
Bob Crable - 1980-81
Michael Stonebreaker - 1988, 1990
Chris Zorich - 1989-90
Todd Lyght - 1989-90
Aaron Taylor - 1992-93
As a side note, no Irish player has even been named a three time Consensus All-American in football, although football player Moose Krause was a three-time Consensus All-American in basketball (1931-32, '32-33 and '33-34). Unfortunately, Samardzija won't get a chance to play for that honor as next year is his final in a Notre Dame uniform. And it should be a great one.