SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -Mike Anello doesn't feel like the ``cult hero'' Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis says he is.
``It's a normal life for me,'' he said.
That's if normal is living your dream by playing football for Notre Dame, going from unknown walk-on to key special teams contributor in one year. Despite his success, Anello has been stopped by security at Notre Dame Stadium because they don't believe he's a player and walks past a crowd of fans unnoticed after a game - even though they go crazy when he makes a play.
Explaining the confusion, Anello said, ``I look like every other guy on campus.''
koff in the fourth quarter.
Not bad for a former walk-on.
Anello still finds it surreal that he's playing for the Irish. His primary sport at Carl Sandburg High School in the Chicago suburb of Orland Park, Ill., was wrestling. He didn't even play football his junior year.
He returned to football his senior year and was elected captain for eight of 12 games. He decided to try out at Notre Dame as a walk-on. He didn't play as a freshman because at Notre Dame walk-ons have to go through a spring tryout before they are allowed on the field.
He practiced with the team his sophomore year, but never dressed for a game. Coaches began noticing him, though, and early in his junior year, Weis noticed that Anello was a nuisance to the regular punt return squad.
During practice before the Michigan game last year he heard Weis bellow: ``Where the heck is Anello at?''
``I was like, 'Oh, what did I do wrong here.' He's like, 'Anello get on this line. Because you're going to Michigan this week and you might be running down the field.''
Anello didn't call anyone to let them know he might be playing because he didn't believe it.
He barely missed making the tackle his first time on the field, and on his next chance he made the stop.
``From then on out I've been starting at gunner,'' Anello said.
chance and makes good. Sounds a little like a movie script doesn't it?
Only Anello is out-Rudying Rudy. The move ``Rudy'' was about Daniel ``Rudy'' Ruettiger getting on the field for the final 27 seconds of his final game at Notre Dame in 1975. Anello's story goes further. He not only gets on the field, he got a scholarship. Funnier still, he knows Ruettiger's nephew Daniel, whom he wrestled against regularly in high school.
Anello wore No. 36 for his first game, then he was switched for the rest of the season to No. 45 - the same number Ruettiger wore. He called his old wrestling friend right after he was given the number.
``I called him and told him, 'You're never going to believe this,''' he said.
Weis said it's not hard to explain why Anello is getting on the field.
``Give me a bunch of Mike Anellos on special teams that run like that and show heart,'' Weis said. ``And he doesn't just show heart; he's a playmaker. I'll take a bunch of guys like him.''

Recent NCAAF Discussions

NCAAF Headlines

  • PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) The Whitman County coroner has concluded Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
    Coroner Peter Martin says Thursday...
  • (STATS) - Northern Colorado will face a strong nonconference schedule with the goal of being improved in the Big Sky next season.
    All three of the Bears' opening opponents are coming off a win...
  • (STATS) - ETSU continues to add future FBS opponents, announcing a Nov. 19, 2022 matchup at North Carolina on Thursday.
    The first-ever meeting between the two programs will be held at Kenan Me...
  • (STATS) - Northern Colorado will face a strong nonconference schedule with the goal of being improved in the Big Sky next season.
    All three of the Bears' opening opponents are coming off a win...
  • NEW ORLEANS (AP) Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield has been named the 2017 Manning Award winner after a season in which he passed for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns.
    Mayfield is the first Sooner and f...

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail 2019 College Football Title Odds After winning their fifth national championship in the Nick Saban era, the Alabama Crimson Tide are once again favored to win it all next...
Thumbnail Alabama Beats Georgia, Fails to Cover In what turned out to be a national championship game for the ages, the Alabama Crimson Tide won for the fifth time under Nick Saban but did not cash for...
Thumbnail Alabama vs. Georgia Prediction Will the Alabama Crimson Tide cover as a small favorite tonight when they take on the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff National...
Thumbnail Bama vs. Georgia Over/Under Total Will Monday night’s college football national championship game fall under the betting total when Alabama takes on Georgia at 8:00 p.m. ET?
Thumbnail Money Pouring in on 'Bama We're still hours away from kickoff of the college football national championship game between Alabama and Georgia but as of this writing, money continues to pour in on the...

NCAAF Team Pages