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Xavier Lezynski was destined to be part of the Notre Dame football team

| Friday, November 22, 2019

Xavier Lezynski has a long list of family members who have played for Notre Dame football and attended the University — including his great-grandfather who played under Knute Rockne, his uncle who was on the 1977 National Championship team, his parents who were both Irish student-athletes and two other uncles.

Allison Thornton | The Observer

Irish senior tight end Xavier Lezynski warms up before Notre Dame’s annual Blue and Gold game.

Most recently, his sister was a cheerleader, his brother Nick was a football walk-on from 2008-2011 (and a current defensive graduate assistant for the team), and his brother Blaise played baseball at Notre Dame from 2011-2015. Having nearly his whole family come here made Notre Dame the obvious choice for Lezynski.

“Ever since I was a little kid, this is where I wanted to be,” Lezynski said. “I wanted to come to Notre Dame and play football. There was no other choice for me. I grew up loving Notre Dame. Notre Dame is the perfect university for me, in my opinion. My upbringing definitely influenced me, and all my experiences here growing up definitely led me here.”

Lezynski plays tight end, resided in Sorin Hall and is majoring in sociology. The Newtown, Penn., native has many fond memories of attending Notre Dame football games as a kid.

His most notable memory was in 2010 against Pittsburgh, when his brother Nick got into the game for the first time.

“It was a very memorable experience for him,” Lezynski said. “I actually remember being in the stands and looking out and seeing #42, and thinking I must be seeing things, but it ended up being Nick out there. I remember my family and I were overcome with emotion and joy because I know how hard he worked.”

He also idolized former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn as a kid.

“[Quinn] was another major reason I had a deep affinity for Notre Dame football,” Lezynski said.

Lezynski walked onto the team spring of his sophomore year. He said his teammates helped him adjust to the new workload between school and football. 

“It was my teammates who kept pushing me and wanted me to be a part of this,” Lezynski said. “I met some of my best friends for life through Notre Dame football, and being able to be a part of such special seasons with these guys has made it so much more special. I think I have earned the respect of my teammates, and I have had great times with those guys. Day in and day out it’s a grind, but we do it together, and that’s probably what’s most special for me.”

Lezynski’s most memorable moment was when he came onto the field against Bowling Green this year and got a chance to play in his first game.

“I got in towards the end of the game, and I remember after I had gotten in for a couple of snaps, I walked over to the sideline and my brother Nick was waiting for me,” Lezynski said. “I ran over there and he embraced me, and after that we did the Alma Mater together, and that was very emotional for both of us because it was the culmination of our dreams. We grew up loving Notre Dame football and to be able to share that experience with him right there was indescribable. That was the best moment I have ever had.”

While Lezynski hopes to come back for a fifth year next year, he can see himself pursuing a profession in college sports following graduation.

“I would love to be a part of college athletic administration or recruiting in the future,” he said. “Before I walked on, I had the opportunity to work in the recruiting office, and that was a really positive experience for me. I think that has shaped what I want to do for a profession.”

Lezynski has also had an impact on his community in Sorin Hall during his time here. 

“I implemented something called ‘Mass and Cheese,’ where after our Thursday Masses at Sorin we have mac ‘n’ cheese afterwards,” Lezynski said. “I created this with some of my friends, and we prepared mac ’n’ cheese and used it to create camaraderie within the dorm.”

In continuation of his family’s legacy of excellence at the University, Lezynski has made an impact both on the team and Notre Dame community since walking on his sophomore year — and he only plans to continue doing so.

“My dream job is to be the athletic director here,” Lezynski said. “I love this place, and to be able to stick around here would be awesome.”

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