Chase Anastasio: Receiver makes biggest impact on special teams
Ken Fowler | Friday, November 17, 2006
Somewhere deep in the Notre Dame archives, the record for most blocked punts sits in bold capital letters.
Whatever name holds that spot has some competition from a wide out sometimes mistaken for Jeff Samardzija but much more lethal than No. 83 when Notre Dame drops back to field a punt.
Over the past four years, Irish wide receiver Chase Anastasio has blocked three punts. In fact, all three came last year – one against Washington, and a pair of deflections at Stanford.
“Someone told me that if I get one or two more, I’ll have the school record,” Anastasio said.
But that he would have two blocks by this point of his career is no fluke. Anastasio, usually the man attacking the right side of the offensive line when opponents are punting, always seems to get close.
“It can get a little frustrating,” he said. “But you go out there each time [with the same motivation].
And, he said, the record has no place in his mind.
“I’m just trying to help the team on every single play,” he said.
Anastasio has just three receptions in his career, but that makes him the leading pass-catcher at wide out with another year of eligibility left. After sitting out as a freshman, he saw most of his action on kickoff returns as a sophomore. Anastasio returned a team-high 19 kicks for an average of 18.6 yards per attempt. He also had one catch for 15 yards.
As a junior, Anastasio touched the ball only three times – his three big plays on special teams.
He said he is used to being a role player and works just as hard every day because helping himself improve helps the team improve overall.
Anastasio grew up in Burke, Va., and graduated from Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Va. Like many of the role players on the Irish, he was a star before coming to college. Anastasio was a member of USA Today’s top-100 team. As a senior, he rushed for 681 yards and seven touchdowns on 112 carries to go along with his 20 catches for 433 yards and six receiving scores.
At Notre Dame, the receiver is a sociology and computer applications double major with a 3.17 GPA, including a 3.5 in the spring of 2006. He said he is on track to graduate in May.
Anastasio said he wasn’t sure if he would return for a fifth year yet – he wouldn’t dedicate time to think about that until December, when Irish coach Charlie Weis said he would meet with all seniors with a fifth year of eligibility remaining.