Notre Dame

Notre Dame players will honor Greg Bryant: 'A lot of this season is for him'

Notre Dame players will honor Greg Bryant: 'A lot of this season is for him'

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame players won’t let Greg Bryant be forgotten this fall. 

Whether it’s through “RIP GB” scrawled on their towels or cleats, T-shirts to wear under their pads, post-practice prayers and down-time social media posts, the memory of Bryant, who died at the age of 21 in May after being found shot in the Miami area, will live on in South Bend. 

“Anything possible to show that this is for GB,” running back Tarean Folston said. 

Folston and Bryant were close, having both come to Michiana from Florida as highly-touted running backs in Notre Dame’s 2013 recruiting class. Along with quarterback Malik Zaire, Folston is working on getting T-shirts made for teammates to wear under their pads that honor Bryant. 

“GB was very loved,” Folston said. “Not just by his teammates, but by everybody. He’s one of those guys you can’t not love, you know what I mean? He was a great guy. He’s definitely going to be missed. Definitely going to be missed.” 

Zaire said Bryant was his “best friend” and fondly recalled when the pair teamed up to be the only bright spots in Notre Dame’s blowout loss to USC in 2014. Both players hadn’t been given a significant role in the Irish offense until that day in Los Angeles, and Zaire after the game talked about how the “1-8 guys” — a reference to their numbers — were primed for promising futures. 

“That was my brother in arms and we did what we did best, and that was to move the football,” Zaire said last month. “It’s sad that we don’t have him here today, but I know he’s looking over me and he means a lot to me and this team."

The impact Bryant made on his teammates shines through as soon as any of them begin talking about him. While Bryant’s five-star football potential didn’t materialize at Notre Dame, his gregarious personality stood out not only inside the Guglielmino Athletics Compex, but across campus. 

“Man, Greg could get along with anybody,” redshirt junior wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. said. “He had his accent, and he kind of maybe seemed out of place, but he could get along with anybody on campus. I hadn’t seen him not get along with anybody. GB was definitely somebody who could always put a smile on your face no matter who you were. He’s always smiling. Yeah, GB was the real deal.”

“You miss a guy like that,” senior linebacker James Onwualu, who was Bryant’s freshman year roommate, said. “He brought so much energy every single day. 

“He was a great guy. He was a little different, probably not your typical Notre Dame mold, but he was so open and willing to meet new people and understand other people.”

Running backs coach Autry Denson knew Bryant from their days in Florida, while Bryant was still at American Heritage High School and Denson — a native of the state — coached at Bethune-Cookman University. They only overlapped in South Bend for a few months in 2015 before Bryant left Notre Dame (he transferred to a Miami-area community college and was going to re-start his career with UAB) after being ruled ineligible for that season, but Denson said it was “an honor” to know and coach Bryant. 

“That was a very tough situation, still is,” Denson said. “His impact is being felt. You see practice, you see GB towels, things of that nature. And that’s a testament to who Greg is because Greg was such a great young man. He needed guidance, just like anybody else, as he was figuring out. But even though he wasn’t here, everybody here was still wishing him well. Nobody had any ill will. It was like, do what you have to do for you and we still have your back. 

“Greg is Greg. He had an unbelievable smile and an unbelievable — it was just infectious, his attitude.”

The love for Bryant isn’t limited to the guys quoted in the this article, it should be noted. When he died in May, players from every unit — offense, defense, special teams — tweeted and Instagrammed their thoughts, prayers and support for their former teammate. 

All those players, too, will have an opportunity to wear Bryant’s old No. 1 this fall. Notre Dame is giving out a No. 1 jersey every week to a player “based upon a number of factors within our program that have to do with character both on and off the field,” coach Brian Kelly said. Kelly didn’t start that initiative because of Bryant, but for Folston or Zaire or Hunter or plenty of others, earning that No. 1 jersey would be a way for them to honor their friend. 

“I mean, if I get it, it would mean a lot,” Folston said. “I’d love to wear it for the whole year. It’s coach’s decision, but it would mean a lot for me to wear that jersey.”

“Me and Tarean talk about it a lot, to get No. 1 and stuff like that,” Hunter said. “If you get No. 1, you gotta have the game of your life. That’s GB’s number. You gotta bring all the sauce.” 

But even if those players don’t get the jersey for a game, Denson said he’s conveyed to them they don’t need a number to honor Bryant. He’s reminded Folston during some of the dog days of August practice, “What would No. 1 do here?” which Folston said gave him a boost. 

Folston said he wasn’t sure what the under-the-pads T-shirts will look like yet, but they’re “definitely” getting made. 

However Irish players can do it, they’re going to honor Bryant. The memory of GB1 won’t fade away this fall, certainly not in South Bend. 

“A lot of love for him and his family,” Zaire said. “A lot of this season is for him.”

Notre Dame - Navy football game scheduled in Dublin moved back to U.S.

Notre Dame - Navy football game scheduled in Dublin moved back to U.S.

The Navy-Notre Dame football game that was set to be played in Ireland has been relocated to the United States, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Notre Dame announced on Tuesday that the game which was originally going to take place in Dublin on Aug. 29 will “likely” be played over Labor Day weekend, either on Saturday or Sunday.

The teams plan on playing at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, which will be a first in the 94-year rivalry history. Every previous matchup hosted by Navy has been played at a neutral site.

“We are obviously disappointed not to be traveling to Ireland this August,” said Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. “But, as expected, our priority must be ensuring the health and safety of all involved.

“I am expecting that we will still be able to play Notre Dame as our season opener, but there is still much to be determined by health officials and those that govern college football at large.”

Jack Swarbrick, Vice President of Notre Dame, and James E. Rorh, Director of Athletics at Notre made a joint statement as well.

“Our student-athletes have had great experiences competing in Ireland and are very disappointed not to be returning to Dublin in 2020,” they said. “The change of venue has been a very difficult decision for our colleagues at the Naval Academy, but we are in full support of their choice. We are also grateful for everything our partners in Ireland have done to make this a smooth transition. We look forward to going back to Ireland for a game in the not too distant future.”

RELATED: Notre Dame will allow students back on campus this fall

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Notre Dame will allow students back on campus for 2020 fall semester

Notre Dame will allow students back on campus for 2020 fall semester

Notre Dame University announced on Monday that it will welcome students back on campus on August 10. That’s two weeks earlier than the fall semester was initially scheduled to begin. In addition, Notre Dame will forgo a fall break in October, and will instead end the semester before Thanksgiving.

In the announcement Notre Dame said they consulted with experts for months to develop their plan to welcome students back onto campus.

The plan to return includes comprehensive COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff. It also includes contact tracing, quarantine and isolation protocols, social distancing and mask requirements, and enhanced cleaning of all campus spaces.

“By far the most complex challenge before us is the return of our students to campus for the resumption of classes in the fall semester,” Notre Dame’s president Rev. John I. Jenkins wrote in a letter to students. “Bringing our students back is in effect assembling a small city of people from many parts of the nation and the world, who may bring with them pathogens to which they have been exposed. We recognize the challenge, but we believe it is one we can meet.”

Father Jenkins also wrote that the university is currently developing a plan to reopen research labs, studios and libraries in coming weeks.

In case of an outbreak, or if the university is unable to provide adequate testing, Notre Dame faculty have been asked to prepare both in-person and remote curricula for their classes. The remote curricula would also help any student keep up with classwork if they need to be quarantined.

The university is also developing criteria to determine whether or not to offer study abroad programs in the fall. That decision will be announced in June.

Notre Dame sent home all students in mid-March to complete their spring semesters remotely. They also canceled all summer classes, except for a small number of students who needed to complete summer work to prepare for the fall semester.