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David Posluszny matures into confident adult at Notre Dame

Cory Bernard | Thursday, November 17, 2011

As a senior in high school, David Posluszny saw in Notre Dame many of the same qualities his fellow recruits saw, but also harbored some anxiety about the transition to big time football. Now as a senior in college, he can appreciate how Notre Dame’s unique qualities transformed that nervous high school kid into the adult he is today.

“I had an opportunity to go to bunch of really good schools, but I really chose here just because of the tradition,” Posluszny said of his decision to commit to the Irish. “It’s a great football program, and it gives you an opportunity to play at the most elite level. Then also it’s really a faith-based community. I really wanted to go to a place where I could grow my spirituality and grow my religion, which is another reason why I came here.”

Though all of the selling points on the recruiting trail sound promising, the reality of becoming a Notre Dame student quickly sets in, according to Posluszny. He said through hard work and persistence, he was able to overcome the culture shock.

“It was a big jump graduating from high school and then two weeks later being enrolled at Notre Dame,” Posluszny said. “Working out and then going to practice and then going to these tough classes — it was definitely a big jump. I was just persistent and all about getting through it.”

Another lesson in persistence came during the fall of Posluszny’s senior year of high school. The 2007 Irish campaign ended with a 3-9 mark, their worst in decades.

Posluszny said despite the difficulties of that year, he never wavered on his commitment to Notre Dame.

“It was definitely a tough season, but absolutely no regrets,” he said. “I’ve always been taught from a young age to be persistent and just keep pushing through things. I’ve never thought about transferring or never had any negative thoughts about it. I just keep grinding.”

Hailing from Aliquippa, Penn., Posluszny is not even the most well-known athlete in his family of five kids, let alone his town. Older brother Paul twice earned All-American honors while playing linebacker at Penn State and has become a mainstay in the NFL since being drafted in 2007 by the Buffalo Bills.

As fate would have it, the younger Posluszny would become close friends with a fellow freshman in a similar situation. Safety Dan McCarthy saw his older brother Kyle earn a starting job in the Irish secondary and then a spot on the Denver Broncos.

“When I came in in the summer, I really didn’t know anybody on the team,” Posluszny said. “My roommate was Danny McCarthy, and ever since we met freshman year in the dorms we’ve had a really good relationship. Ever since, him and I have really been working with each other throughout all these four years. Because we’re such good friends, we definitely can lean on each other whenever we need it.”

As brothers constantly competing with their older siblings, Posluszny and McCarthy have experienced much of the same pressure to perform. While he has seen only limited action in his career, Posluszny said that he no longer feels the need to prove himself.

“That’s one funny thing about Dan and I,” Posluszny said of chasing older brothers. “We both have that unique bond and we’ve definitely talked about that before. I definitely felt pressure when I was younger in high school, but when I moved on to college and when I matured and grew up as a person — even away from football — I didn’t really feel that pressure anymore.”

With friends like McCarthy, Posluszny said he was able to push through the challenges of having to sit on the sidelines while also maintaining his academics. Through the support of the Irish community, he said he will be ready for his post-football life.

“Just with anything in life, whenever you’re going through a big change or any type of adversity, you always lean on your good group of friends,” Posluszny said. “It’s something I’ve definitely been fortunate to have here. Because of my experience here playing football, and through the classes and the relationships I have with my professors, I don’t really feel much anxiety going into the real world.”