Oct. 8, 2004
#83 Jeff Samardzija
Sophomore, 6-5, 215
Sophomore wide receiver Jeff Samardzija is a two-sport athlete at Notre Dame, also excelling on the baseball diamond. As a freshman, he played in all 12 games at wide receiver and on special teams in 2003. As a pitcher for the Irish, he was 5-3 with a 2.95 ERA as a starter and long reliever and was named a freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball magazine. This season, he ranks fourth in receiving with seven catches for 113 yards and a 16.1 yards per catch average. Versus Washington, he recorded three catches for a career-high 68 yards. GameDay Magazine’s Bridget Viehmeyer gives Irish fans a chance to get to know Jeff Samardzija.
Veihmeyer: What is your hardest class?
Samardzjia: Accounting II is my hardest class because there’s a little bit of everything. It’s kind of crazy.
Veihmeyer: What is your favorite class and why?
Samardzjia: My favorite class is Social Psychology because it gives you a different view on everyday activities that you don’t usually think about.
Veihmeyer: What made you pick Notre Dame over the other schools you were interested in? What were the other schools?
Samardzjia: Probably just growing up next to Notre Dame for my whole life, along with the coaching staff and the history of the program are what drew my here. My other top two were Michigan and Purdue.
Veihmeyer: To date, what has been the highlight of your Notre Dame career?
Samardzjia: My highlights would probably be the home victories. I don’t really have just one career highlight yet but it’s great to get out in front of your own fans and win.
Veihmeyer: Who were your sports idols as a kid and why?
Samardzjia: My only real idol was my brother. I never really had a favorite player or team, I just did what he did. He was four years older than me, so I always followed in his footsteps.
Veihmeyer: As a football player is there anyone you’ve modeled your game after?
Samardzjia: Growing up, I was always a running back, so I used to watch Marshall Faulk when he played for the Colts.
Veihmeyer:Who has been your biggest non-sports role model and why?
Samardzjia: My mom is my biggest role model. Everything that I live by I have learned from her.
Veihmeyer: What is one thing in your life you can’t live without?
Samardzjia: I can’t live without my couch.
Veihmeyer: Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Samardzjia: I don’t have any pre-game rituals, but I like to have all my gear almost perfect. I want my tape, my wristbands, and everything else to be just about right. Otherwise, I feel a little bit off.
Veihmeyer: What is the best advice that you’ve ever been given and who gave it to you?
Samardzjia: The best advice that I ever received, I read in a quote: “Dream like you’re gonna live forever, but live like you’re gonna die today.” Basically, live everyday to the fullest and don’t take anything for granted.
Veihmeyer: What is one thing about you that might surprise people?
Samardzjia: I guess my overall outgoing energy. When people see me walking around, I’m not the craziest person, but when I’m around my family and friends, I can be pretty loud and obnoxious.
Veihmeyer: How and what do you do to balance your academic workload and football workload?
Samardzjia: You have to have good time management skills. Knowing where I need to be and when I need to get there is probably the biggest thing, and knowing the dates when I need to have things done by, even if I don’t know what they are (he laughs).
Veihmeyer: What is your most embarrassing moment in sports?
Samardzjia: My most embarrassing moment came during my freshman year in high school. I dropped the game-winning pass in the end zone. It was the playoffs, too.
Veihmeyer: How have you grown as a person since coming to Notre Dame?
Samardzjia: My junior and senior years of high school were pretty crazy, so I think I’ve made big strides since coming here. I’ve grown up a lot, being here on my own and having to make a lot of decisions by myself.
Veihmeyer: If you were stranded on an island and could only eat one meal, listen to one song, and have one person with you; what would you eat, what would you listen to, and who would you pick?
Samardzjia: I would pick my brother, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” and strawberry milkshakes.
Veihmeyer: What is your favorite movie?
Samardzjia: My favorite movie is Dazed and Confused.
Veihmeyer: What is the toughest place you’ve played as a college football player?
Samardzjia: The toughest place I’ve played is Syracuse. Since it’s indoors, it’s really loud.
Veihmeyer: Who is the best athlete you’ve ever competed against?
Samardzjia: The best athlete that I’ve ever faced is Tommy Zbikowski.
Veihmeyer: Describe what it feels like on game day and playing in Notre Dame Stadium?
Samardzjia: There’s so much excitement and adrenaline flowing, knowing that you’re going to play in front of millions of people.
Veihmeyer: What is your favorite thing about playing for Notre Dame?
Samardzjia: My favorite thing is being with your fellow teammates. They’re great guys to be around and they’re your best friends everyday.