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Brandon Garcia prepares himself for the future

| Friday, November 22, 2019

Brandon Garcia is no stranger to perseverance, seeing as he almost didn’t get into Notre Dame. The senior member of the Irish secondary from Casa Grande, Arizona said it took effort just to be able to call himself Irish.

“I was actually waitlisted at Notre Dame, so I didn’t get in right away,” Garcia said. “I decided to email my admissions counselor back and forth for like three or four weeks, and then I thought that I had to do a little bit more to get myself on the radar, so I decided to fly out for a night with my mom and showed up for about 15 minutes to talk with my admissions rep. And I flew back home, and three weeks later they called me, so [it] worked out pretty well.”

Allison Thornton | The Observer
Irish senior cornerback Brandon Garcia lines up before a snap during Notre Dame’s annual Blue and Gold game.

Garcia, a three-year varsity letter winner at Seton Catholic Prep, played both sides of the ball in high school. He made his presence felt on defense, recording 179 tackles and seven for a loss, as well as putting up big offensive numbers with 1500+ yards receiving for 25 touchdowns on 107 receptions and 500+ yards rushing for seven touchdowns. While he hasn’t seen much action for the Irish, serving on the offensive and defensive scout teams throughout his career, Garcia says it’s been a great experience to share a position with future NFL talent.

“It’s really cool because these guys are really good leaders. They’re really strong leaders and they have good backgrounds, so they’re always just kind of pushing us to be the best to our abilities,” Garcia said. “[They are] really cool guys on and off the field, and it’s cool to see them going to ball every weekend.”

Formerly a member of Stanford Hall, Garcia won an interhall football championship playing running back for the Griffins in 2016. He says that, as big a part of his life playing varsity football is, the relationships he formed with his dormmates still mean just as much to him.

“It’s been really cool because I made a lot of friends with my dorm. I met a lot of really cool guys who I’m still friends with and I live with right now,” Garcia said. “And it’s cool to watch them go and be successful in, like, the business world or the tech world and stuff like that, and just kind of do their own thing. So it’s been cool to have my friends from football and my friends outside of football, and just have those two presences merge sometimes and have them separate, too.”

His bond with his dormmates is so strong, in fact, that his favorite memories of his time at Notre Dame are of goofing off with them.

“[I’d think of] all my favorite memories and I’d give like the most mediocre one I can think of,” Garcia said. “[But] I lived in a six man for two years. So some of my favorite memories are just, like, coming home after practice and being able to hang out with those guys and procrastinate when we didn’t want to do homework and play video games or just mess around. And just [distracting] ourselves because we had such a big room, so we could always find something new to do every day. So living in a six man in Stanford was really cool.”

Aside from his work on the football field, Garcia took advantage of the opportunities presented to him at Notre Dame. He says another fun experience was being thrown into a cultural melting pot while getting to spend a summer studying abroad.

“Well, in the summer of 2018, last summer, I was able to study abroad in Berlin for eight weeks. I got an SLA, so it was like a grant to go and study over there. And it was at this school where everyone was from a different place, whether it was someone from Russia, or Chile, or Egypt or Mexico, they’re just from all over the world,” Garcia said. “I was the only American there, so it was really cool. And our one common thing was that we all spoke German. So we were all practicing it together, and it was like that for eight weeks, and I just met a lot of really cool friends that were nothing like typical Notre Dame students. So that experience was awesome.”

As for why he speaks German, Garcia said he picked it up on a whim.

“I had taken Spanish forever, and so I felt like I was really comfortable with that language, and I kind of just wanted to do a third one for fun, because I felt like I had a pretty good grip on [Spanish and English],” he said. “So yeah, German was really fun, just for the heck of it.”

As for what he’ll do when his career comes to an end, the psychology major with a minor in German has a unique career path lined up.

“Yeah, it’s really funny. I actually missed [a couple of] days of practice because I was in Chicago interviewing with a company called E. & J. Gallo Winery,” Garcia said. “They’re a huge wine distributor, they’re like number one in the U.S. and they have a huge presence abroad too. I’ve been interviewing with them for two months, so I think I sealed the deal.”

All in all, Garcia says the familial element of his team is what means the most to him.

“It means a lot just to be playing college football in general, but to be playing here is pretty special because everyone feels like a family, and when I talked to other guys at different schools, they don’t really get that sense,” he said. “We all just kind of appreciate the tradition that’s embraced here. It’s really cool.”

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About Hayden Adams

Hayden is the former sports editor of The Observer. When he's not working toward his four majors (physics and film, television & theatre) and three minors (journalism, ethics & democracy), you can probably find him hopelessly trying to save his beloved Zahm House from being wiped out. He plans to attend law school at a TBD location after graduation.

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