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Steve Botsford: After initial denial, walk-on chases, and fulfills, dreams

Joseph Monardo | Thursday, November 11, 2010

As a lifelong Notre Dame fan from Chicago, senior linebacker Steve Botsford considers himself lucky to have played for the Irish.

Botsford always dreamed of playing football for the Irish, but he had to wait. He was not recruited by Notre Dame, so he enrolled at the University of Indiana before transferring to Notre Dame after his freshman year.

“When I got rejected from Notre Dame after high school, I knew I wanted to try to transfer,” Botsford said. “And then once I got in, I knew I was going to take the next step and see what I could do to with this football thing.”

As a sophomore, Botsford became a resident of Fisher Hall and began his Notre Dame football career immediately as a member of his interhall team. In the spring, Botsford decided to take the next step and pursue his goal of joining the varsity squad.

“[Tryouts were] rough,” Botsford said. “We started out three days a week, and then we went to five days a week at, like, 5:30 in the morning. It’s funny looking back on it now, but during it was horrible.”

Most people would not be able to recount 5:30 a.m. practices with a hearty laugh, but he managed to do just that managed to do just that. Botsford, who describes himself as “fun-loving” and “goofy,” makes sure that everyone knows how happy he is to be part of the Notre Dame football team.

“I’ve always got a smile on my face, I’m always goofing around,” Botsford said.

While Botsford said he cherishes the fact that he has a role on the team, he harbors other passions as well. Although the economics major already has one job offer, he hopes to work on Wall Street in the future.

“I like economics a lot,” Botsford said. “It’s tough, but it’s fun, and it’s helping me get a job. It’s something that’s really easy to talk about when you get in an interview.”

Botsford said his biggest surprise at Notre Dame has been managing both football and academics. Although those two areas require a huge time commitment, he still finds time to relax.

“If I’m not studying or playing football, I’m probably either watching movies or playing the NCAA [football] video game,” Botsford said.

The movies Botsford may be watching, however, might surprise the average Notre Dame student. While the movie buff likes movies like “The Matrix,” “Remember the Titans” and “Rudy,” his favorite is the 1942 classic “Casablanca.”

“It throws people off because it’s old, but I love it,” Botsford said. As he prepares for his final home game, Botsford said he has come to appreciate his time at Notre Dame.

“The team has been great and everything I hoped it would be,” Botsford said. “Growing up a Notre Dame fan, obviously you want to be on the team, but you hope it’s a whole bunch of good guys out there who really work hard. And you get here, and everyone does. Everyone works hard, and everyone is really nice and open.”

Botsford said he has learned a lot during his time at Notre Dame.

“It’s taught me a lot about time management, and just working for a team,” Botsford said. “In high school, you get a little more credit, and as a walk on, you don’t really get that. But you still work hard and you get success from seeing the team succeed.”