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Matt Romine: Notre Dame fulfills two dreams for lineman

Andrew Owens | Thursday, November 11, 2010

When many scholarship football players step on campus for the first time as a freshman, they have dreams of someday playing on Sundays. Irish senior Matt Romine has realized since the start that there is life after football.

Despite being one of the most highly recruited prospects in the nation coming out of Union High School in Tulsa, Okla., the 6-foot-5, 292-pound offensive lineman said he is always focused on academics. He chose Notre Dame to give himself the best chance to fulfill his two dreams.

“The main reason I came here was to be a business major and I picked marketing because I really like the shoe industry,” Romine said. “I’d like to work for Nike someday and either market their shoes or work in the Nike football department. It’s always been my dream to work in the Nike marketing department if the NFL doesn’t work out.”

While Romine has excelled in marketing while at Notre Dame, the football end of things has not always been so easy. In his freshman year, he played in each of the first two games before getting injured during the third. He missed the rest of his first season on the team. That injury, however, has opened the door for Romine to play another season if he so chooses.

“I medically redshirted after getting injured after the third game of my freshman season, so I have the opportunity for a fifth year,” he said. “The decision of whether I return or not will be made after the season is over.”

If Romine chooses to return, he would be one of several returning linemen on a very experienced unit, which could be the key to an improvement in wins and losses.

Injuries are not the only roadblock that Romine has faced during his time at Notre Dame. This year, he has played under the third different offensive line coach the Irish have employed in four seasons. John Latina led the unit in 2007 and 2008, Frank Verducci in 2009 and Mike Elston is currently coaching the linemen.

Romine has not used the experience as an excuse, but rather as a challenge to get better and as a valuable lesson for his future.

“It’s taught me to adapt to anything,” Romine said. “I’ve had three offensive line coaches in four years and they’ve all had a different style and system and want something different. Going through all that has taught me to adapt and be ready to change for any situations that arise.”

Through it all, he has always been able to depend on the support of his family.

“My parents have been so influential in my life,” Romine said. “I’ve been injured a lot during my four years here so relying on the support of my parents has been huge for me. They come to a lot of home games and are here for me a lot.”

After battling through injuries and coaching changes for three years, Romine earned his first career start earlier this season against Pittsburgh. He considers it his most memorable moment at Notre Dame.

“I finally got the chance to get on the field and run out of the tunnel as a starter. It was great to help lead the team to a win because Pittsburgh is one of our biggest wins this season.”

Even if Romine opts to depart from Notre Dame following his graduation this spring, he will leave with a very favorable outlook of his time here.

“I didn’t realize coming in how tightly knit the Notre Dame family is,” he said.