Notre Dame’s best players all-time from Nebraska

Before Notre Dame and USC began meeting annually the Irish (who weren’t yet known as the Irish) had quite a rivalry going with Nebraska.  The two met every year from 1915-1925 with the two going an even 5-5-1 against each other.

The Irish and Cornhuskers have met just five times since 1925 as Notre Dame’s links to the Cornhusker State don’t run particularly deep.

Full disclosure, I’ve had an appreciation for Nebraska for a long time.  The football team is a blue blood despite recent years, but I’m talking about the state.  For a school state report in second grade I remember pulling the name of states out of a basket and my friends were getting some stellar places like New York, Florida, and California.

Meanwhile, I got Nebraska.  Talk about having to work for that A…

A couple years later the assignment we had was to create a travel brochure for a state and a specific landmark we were randomly assigned.  My friends were pitching the Smoky Mountains and Tennessee, the Alamo and river walk in San Antonio, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.  I

had the duty of pitching Chimney Rock in Nebraska as a vacation destination.

A few of those memories certainly crossed my mind when Notre Dame landed their newest recruiting commitment in the 2024 class.  Linebacker Teddy Rezac of Omaha announced his decision on Friday, May 12.

For being a state that produced a powerhouse program for decades, Nebraska isn’t known for turning out worlds of high school football talent.  Who are some of the biggest names to play for Notre Dame who have come through Nebraska?

Here is a short list of some of the better ones.

Trevor Robinson

Nov 19, 2011; South Bend, IN, USA; <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Notre Dame Fighting Irish;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Notre Dame Fighting Irish</a> running back Cierre Wood (20) runs the ball as offensive guard Trevor Robinson (78) blocks in the third quarter against the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Boston College Eagles;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Boston College Eagles</a> at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame won 16-14. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive lineman Trevor Robinson was a USA TODAY Sports All-American out of high school and played in the Army All-American game.  Robinson played on Notre Dame’s offensive line from 2008-2011 and would go on to play for the Bengals, Chargers, and Falcons in the NFL from 2012-2016.

Junior Bryant

Mike Powell /Allsport
Mike Powell /Allsport

Everyone remembers that former star Notre Dame defensive lineman named “Bryant” that was a valuable member of the 49ers defensive line, right?

No, not Bryant Young, Junior Bryant.  The Creighton Prep star played at Notre Dame from 1989-1992 and signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 1993.  He was a practice squad member for two seasons before officially making the roster in 1995 and remaining on it until 2000.

Ty Goode

Ty Goode was a heralded receiver in high school out of Lincoln but played defensive back once he arrived on Notre Dame’s campus.  Goode recorded two career interceptions in blue and gold.

Tim Ridder

Tim Ridder of Omaha played at Notre Dame from 1995-1998 as the Irish made three bowl appearances in his time.  Ridder won the State Farm Student-Athlete Academic Award for football in both 1997 and 1998.  Ridder had a stint in coaching where he was a graduate assistant on Urban Meyer’s staff at Utah before getting into education.

Xavier Watts

Xavier Watts – Image courtesy of Notre Dame athletics
Xavier Watts – Image courtesy of Notre Dame athletics

Xavier Watts came to Notre Dame as a wide receiver in the 2020 recruiting class but a lack of bodies in the secondary played a factor in him switching to defensive back.  Watts enters the 2023 season for Notre Dame having started the final four games of 2022 at safety.  He’s recorded 54 tackles to date with the Irish

Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire