Oct. 21, 2004
By Greg Touney
Fans of Notre Dame might be mildly surprised that the favorite singer of Irish football players has never even charted a hit before.
That’s because the preferred vocalist of the team is none other than tight end Billy Palmer.
Traditionally, players select one person among themselves to lead the team in the fight song while in the locker room after games. This year, Palmer is normally the one chosen to stand in front of his teammates and start the “Notre Dame Victory March.”
“It’s definitely an honor and it’s a great tradition we have here,” Palmer explains of his singing role. “I’m extremely proud to be able to do that and to lead the guys in the fight song.”
While Palmer has been and continues to be a valuable member of the Irish on the field, playing time this year on offense has been hard to come by. Notre Dame is extremely deep at the tight end position this year – four different tight ends have caught passes this year for the Irish. Palmer, however, is not one of them.
This fact has yet to faze the native of Canada, though.
“Everybody in that group (of tight ends) is extremely talented and very gifted and they’re all great guys,” Palmer says. “(The depth) definitely elevates the competition. We all have the same goal in mind and that’s to win and help this team out.”
Palmer is also not alone in his family in terms of football experience. His father, Bill, played in the Canadian Football League and his brother, Jesse, is a backup quarterback for the New York Giants. Both have served as good influences for the younger Palmer.
“I definitely look up to both my dad and my brother,” Palmer says. “They’re great role models – extremely hard-working and talented individuals. Whatever information I can soak up and whatever advice I can soak up from them I’m always trying to do so.”
Like a damp sponge, Palmer still shows the effects of soaking up as much as possible. The focus visible in Palmer comes from the determination that he shares with his brother and father.
“There’s a drive to be successful in all of us,” Palmer explains.
A solid blocker and pass catcher, the fifth-year senior has a chance to continue that drive once his Notre Dame career is over. Earlier in the year, Palmer was selected by the British Columbia Lions in the CFL draft. While the tight end position is not utilized in the Canadian game, Palmer still sees his selection as a “great opportunity that I’m very thankful for.”
While the CFL may seem like the next logical step for Palmer, he plans on taking his time to decide his future.
“I think I’ll see where the chips fall at the end of the year and make a decision then,” he says.
The 6-foot-3, 256-pounder is also thankful for his chance to don the gold and blue each Saturday, calling his chance to suit up for Notre Dame “a great honor.” After his five years at school beneath the Golden Dome, Palmer will leave a much different individual than when he came.
“I’ll leave here as a better overall person,” Palmer says. “I wouldn’t change my experiences or change my decision (to attend Notre Dame) for anything. I don’t have any regrets whatsoever. I’ll leave here a very proud and happy individual.”
Palmer is clearly one of the most well-liked players on the team. The sentiment is definitely reciprocated by his teammates.
“Anytime you play a sport like football you can’t help but build that chemistry and be close to each other,” Palmer explains. “I love everybody on this team.”