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Scott Daly finds the complete experience at ND

| Thursday, November 12, 2015

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As a senior coming out of Downers Grove South High School in Illinois, Scott Daly had plenty of Division I football scholarship offers.

He was named the national high school long snapper of the year for 2011 after winning the inaugural Herbalife 24 Chris Rubio Award and was ranked the No. 1 long snapper in the nation for the class of 2012 by Scout.com. But Daly said making the decision to which school he wanted to attend was easy.

“Notre Dame had the whole package,” the Downers Grove, Illinois, native said. “When you look at academics, athletics, being close to home and the whole family and spirituality aspect, it was just second to none when I was in my recruiting process. It was really the best choice. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere but Notre Dame, and I’m happy with my choice, and I’m glad I got to have four incredible years here.”

Daly started playing organized football when he was in fifth grade and when it was time for the team to find a long snapper, they turned to him.

“Growing up, I was the only person that could do it,” Daly said. “Starting in fifth grade when I first played football, I was the only kid that could throw the ball back there halfway decent enough. I really didn’t think much of it at first, but starting my sophomore year of high school, my sophomore coach came up to me and said, ‘Hey, you have a raw talent, and you can play college football if you really wanted to.’ So I started to go to some camps and met up with Chris Rubio, who is now my long-snapping instructor to this day and really turned me into the long snapper I am today. I owe everything to him. He really took my game to the next level and was a big part of me being able to long snap here.”

Daly has been the starting long snapper for the Irish since 2013, and he said the job requires a considerable amount of mental toughness.

“It’s like a golf swing,” Daly said. “It’s really muscle memory. Throughout when I started long snapping, I would watch a lot of film on guys who did it the right way and noticed that all of them did the same thing every single time. I kind of developed a little routine where, when I went out onto the field, it just second nature to me so I don’t have to think too much except to just go out there and do what I do best and hopefully have great success while doing it.”

It can be tough for a student athlete to juggle his or her sports commitment with schoolwork, but Daly says it’s similar to learning how to long snap. 

“It’s very tough,” Daly said. “I think any Notre Dame student-athlete can attest to that when they’re here at a fine academic institution like Notre Dame but also being in an athletic program that holds you to the highest standards. It’s very tough, especially freshman year coming in here and having to be very wise with time management.

“But as you go on, you definitely start to develop a routine in which you can juggle both athletics and school and be able to have success on and off the field.”

The senior is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business and is majoring in management consulting.

“It’s a great major and something you can use in a lot of areas,” Daly said. “I’m not exactly sure where I want to go after graduation, but I’m just trying to get my foot in the door and try to test some waters in the finance field and the medical field and just anywhere where I can have the most difference possible.”

Growing up, in addition to playing football, Daly was also skilled in martial arts, earning a black belt in taekwondo. Daly says martial arts has helped him with his football career.

“It was just something I did growing up,” Daly said. “My mom and my dad just got me into it and thought it would be something that would be a lot of fun to do. I really enjoyed it when I started in first grade and did it all the way for five or six years until I got my black belt in sixth grade. It was a great learning tool that allowed me to learn a lot about discipline and responsibility and that really transitioned to the football field in making sure I can do the little things and be professional on and off the field.”

Daly says his favorite football moment came during last year’s bowl game, the 2014 Music City Bowl, when he snapped the ball for the game-winning field goal to help the Irish beat LSU, 31-28.

“Last year, being able to cap off a tough five-game stretch to go ahead and hike the game winning field goal in the bowl game against LSU and to send the seniors off with a win after losing on senior day last year was definitely a great memory,” he said.

Daly gives credit to Rubio as his biggest influence in his football career.

“In terms of football specifically, I would have to say my instructor Chris Rubio has helped me the most,” Daly said. “He put me in such a great position to be looked at by Notre Dame as well as other schools during my recruiting process. Not only did he help me in the long snapping and football phase, but he also helped me become a better man. Just to do the little things and be professional on and off the field and I owe almost everything to him.”

Daly will aim for the NFL after graduation, but if that doesn’t work out, he has a few other career paths in mind.

“After graduation, I hope to try out for the NFL,” Daly said. “It’s definitely been a goal of mine since I got here my freshman year. If that doesn’t work out, I have a Notre Dame degree that I can fall back on and take to whatever field I wish to. I’m not exactly sure which field I want to pursue but I would definitely want to do something in the business or medical field.”

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