John Montelus find inspiration in Brazil
Elizabeth Greason | Friday, November 18, 2016
On Sept. 6, 2014, the Irish ended their yearly rivalry with Michigan by shutting out the Wolverines, 31-0, under the lights at Notre Dame Stadium. It was a game that Notre Dame fans will not forget in the near future.
The same is true for Notre Dame senior offensive lineman John Montelus, but for a different reason: Montelus made his collegiate debut against Michigan, which he said he considers the highlight of his career.
“It meant a lot to me, especially now because I haven’t played a game in a while,” Montelus said. “It was really big, and it was against Michigan, so that was like really huge, you know. That was like a dream. So, I was really excited for that. … It was a while since I had really played football. I was injured throughout my freshman year, so getting that first snap in a while, that was really big.”
Montelus, who hails from Massachusetts, was a top recruit coming out of high school. He helped lead his team to three division titles and was the first lineman to be a finalist for the ESPN Boston Mr. Football Award. While he had a variety of choices with respect to college football, Montelus said nothing compared to Notre Dame in terms of the combination of academics and athletics.
“I chose [Notre Dame] because it was good academically,” Montelus saud. “It was going to challenge me academically and with athletics.”
Montelus noted that the appropriate balance between the school and football can be difficult to come by, but some of his teammates have provided the support necessary for him to power through.
“It’s pretty hard [to balance academics and athletics],” Montelus said. “You have to basically just make sure you have everything straight. You can’t really just let things go. You have to always get help. You can’t just keep thinking, ‘Oh, I’m fine with school.’ Just, get your help and get your stuff done. It’s really hard. Not anyone could do it. … I would say [former Irish lineman] Steve Elmer [is a role model]. When things got tough academically, he kind of talked to me and told me to just calm down and get through it.”
Montelus, a sociology major, has hopes of going to graduate school to achieve a masters degree in business after he graduates in the spring. The lineman developed an interest in the business world after studying abroad in São Paulo, Brazil, over the summer.
“I want to pursue business because I recently went abroad this summer and I took a business course and that was really interesting,” Montelus said. “I’m taking a couple business courses right now and I feel like, I feel business is my thing now, since I took all these little business courses, so it would be great to have a master’s in business.”
Montelus discussed the fact that taking the “Doing Business in Brazil” class over the summer afforded him a unique opportunity to dive into the business world head-first and participate in a valuable hands-on experience.
“We learned about the Brazilian economy, and we helped this company, a cosmetics company, Natura, with their portfolio,” Montelus said. “We helped them out. It was really fun.”
While business school is in sight for Montelus down the line, his short-term goals are focused on Notre Dame football. Currently he is striving to help his team bounce back from a difficult season and has goals of the Irish earning a spot in the postseason.
“My goal is to help our team win right now,” Montelus said. “Just make it to a bowl game; just finish strong.”
As his Notre Dame career comes to a close, Montelus looked back at the start of his experience as a member of the team. He discussed the fact that nothing can compare to running out onto the field sporting the gold helmet and Notre Dame jersey, and that it gives him a rush that never gets old.
“[Running out of the tunnel for the first time] was just amazing; you know what I mean,” Montelus said. “Going from high school to going through the tunnel, that’s just huge, you know. It’s just like, I got goosebumps. When you run out, you see like 80,00 fans and it’s just, it’s really amazing. Every time I run out it still feels amazing.”