Yeah, Notre Dame has the tradition and the national titles and the TV contract (and unlike most of my Big Ten brethren I actually have a soft spot for the Irish), but the Rudy story just isn't that great.* The movie is pretty good. I liked the movie.
Jim Leonhard. He's the real deal. 5'8," unrecruited, walk on, became a starter, became an All-American (on one of those teams that, you know, wins bowl games -- something Notre Dame doesn't have much experience with this century), is first all-time for the Badgers in picks (tied with Fletcher with 21) and picks in a season (by himself, 11), passes defended in a season (25), all-time punt return yardage and single-season punt return yardage, was an undrafted free agent in the NFL, becomes a starter (incidentally, ahead of Notre Dame's all-American Tommy Zbikowski on the Baltimore roster) and now he makes the free-agent market dough (yup, thats a 6 with 6 zeros). Anyway, this is a nice story the Journal Sentinel pointed out. He's a classy guy on top of being one heck of a football player. Good on ya, Jim. Five feet nothin'? He's got your five feet nothin' right here:
* Rudy isn't even the best ND walk-on story. Walk-on kicker Harry Oliver stuck a dagger through one of their biggest rivals' hearts (the link is worth it to hear Michigan's pain) with this 51-yarder. Here's the Notre Dame announcer's version.