Greathouse in rare company after dazzling debut game
Madeline Ladd | Friday, September 1, 2023
Rarely is a freshman wide receiver a name to watch for a Notre Dame football team. But Jaden Greathouse may be an exception to that rule. The freshman wide receiver had a stellar performance in his debut game for the Irish, hauling in two touchdowns against Navy.
Pulling off such a difficult feat is impressive for any freshman wideout. Let alone one in his first collegiate game. Greathouse’s effort placed him in the Irish record books, joining former wide receivers Michael Floyd, Equanimeous St. Brown, DaVaris Daniels and Will Fuller as the wide receivers to catch two touchdowns in a season opener. Three of those four went on to play in the NFL. Floyd won a Super Bowl. None of those talented receivers pulled that feat off in their freshman seasons. In fact, no one ever has for the Irish.
Greathouse’s first-ever collegiate touchdown was a thing of beauty, a 34-yard catch on a seam route in stride in the second quarter, putting the Irish up by a comfortable 21-0 margin. This was followed by a 20-yard touchdown reception in the third after breaking off his route and getting wide open in the end zone on a Hartman scramble.
Greathouse led all receivers in receiving yards with 68 and finished tied for second in receptions with three. His performance helped instill optimism in the youthful wide receiver room. It also sets the bar for the rest of the season for all of them to step up and make big plays for the Irish.
“To see Jaden Greathouse go up and score two touchdowns today, it’s a reflection of what hopefully [Wide Receivers] Coach [Chansi] Stuckey has done with that room because I think four wideouts caught a touchdown today,” Freeman said. “That room is continuing to improve.”
There was always a path to playing time for Greathouse due to Notre Dame’s thin wide receiver depth chart. No wideout recorded more than 400 receiving yards in 2022, creating an opportunity for someone — anybody — capable of stepping up to do so. Greathouse made a great impression in the Blue-Gold game. He finished with 11 catches for 118 yards, giving onlookers a glimpse of his talent and connection with graduate student quarterback Sam Hartman. Even though both are new to the school, his chemistry with Hartman was evident even then.
“He’s a tremendous player,” Greathouse said of Hartman following the Blue-Gold game in April 2023. “All of our quarterbacks are, so it’s definitely relieving to have guys like that, that confirm in the ball. So, I’m really appreciative that we had those kinds of guys and I’m super excited for what comes next.”
The consensus four-star recruit was ranked as high as fourth among Texas receivers in his class and led his high school team to three state titles. He chose Notre Dame over powerhouses like Texas and Oklahoma, helping to enhance and further build the Irish recruiting pipeline to some of the best Texas players in the country.
Greathouse’s size and skills make him a versatile player. The Austin native’s speed characterizes him as a deep threat to opponents’ defense. His ability to go across the middle for a tough catch makes him an even greater asset for Notre Dame. He may have a few months with the Irish under his belt. But Greathouse’s dedication to the team is evident.
“It was amazing,” Greathouse said after the Navy game. “I’ve dreamt of this ever since I was young. The opportunity is finally here. I’m glad that I was able to make the most of it. My teammates out there helping me, I couldn’t have done it without them boosting me up and elevating my level of play. When we come back to the sideline, everybody is cheering. Everybody is happy for each other. It’s really a beautiful thing.”
With the first home kickoff Saturday, there’s still work to be done.
“We all have a job that we have to do, and so you have to step up to the plate,” Greathouse said. “I’m so grateful my teammates and coaches have that trust in me.”