St. Ignatius started the season with tons of talent and hopes that they'd compete for their first state championship since 2001. All that started to unravel as Robby Parris suffered a season ending injury in the team's sixth game of the season.
"We're struggling big time," he said of his team's fortunes. "We have a lot of people down right now. The game I go hurt, we were winning, but then we ended up losing with five minutes left in the game. We won the next one and then we've lost our last two, so we've lost three of the last four."
Parris is a tall, rangy receiver that is known to make the spectacular catch. If his team needs him to, he can take over a game and dominate the defensive secondary. His style and penchant for the big play has drawn comparisons to his future teammate Jeff Samardzija.
"Yeah, I've heard that from every single person," he replied when asked he was aware of the comparisons to Samardzija. "I always knew who he was. People have told me that since I was a junior playing football, so I checked him out to see who I was being compared with.
"I look up to him because he's such a great receiver, and he's doing all this as a junior in college, and putting all these numbers up. Being compared with him is an honor even --he's doing the best he can, and he's doing it really well right now."
Like Samardzija, the ease at which Parris makes catches is impressive. Robby is the type of player that makes the difficult catch looks simple, you wonder if he does things consciously or if they simply happen.
"Kind of both I guess," he responded when asked if he was aware of what he was doing as he catches the football. "When I see Rudy throw the ball and it starts coming, you start to think about how you want to set your cornerback up so you'll have a little more space between you and him to make the catch.
"Then on the other hand, having enough athleticism to move your body around to make the catch is just natural. You can't think about that or anything. I think playing basketball all my life and having it being my primary sport up until my sophomore year in high school really helped. I also never really grew out of my body. I was always able to maneuver even as I was growing."
Charlie Weis and wide receivers coach Rob Ianello sold Parris on the fact that they would run a pro-style offense and that they'd bring the Irish program back to prominence.
"If they told me they'd throw 45 times a game before I saw it, I'm not sure I'd honestly believe it," he said of his impression of the Irish offense. "It's real exciting. It's definitely different seeing it on the field, because now you know when you get there most likely it's actually going to happen.
"In the beginning you were just wondering if they are going to pass a lot, or if they were going to run a lot. Now you can just see kind of what the team is doing and it definitely brings some gratification in choosing Notre Dame knowing their offense is doing so well and putting up so many points and competing at the highest level."
The Irish will lose at least two of their top receivers with Maurice Stovall and Matt Shelton moving on after this season. That should mean that there will be opportunities for freshmen to step in and contribute.
"It's obviously going to be much harder (than high school), because you're going to be playing against a lot more coverages and playing against more elite defensive backs," he said of his chances of playing in his first season. "But you just need to know your routes and catch the ball."
Parris' hip injury has ended his high school career, and many thought he might be done playing altogether. Short of four weeks he has set aside his crutches and healing better than expected.
"My hip is doing great; I'm already three weeks ahead of schedule," he explained. "I'm already off my crutches. I've been off them for a little less than a week. I can already jog. I'm not going to sprint until I get a chance to talk to my therapist about it, but I'm doing most everything. It just feels like I have a hip pointer really. If I'm just walking around, you really wouldn't even think anything happened to me."