Paskorz Prepares For ND

All eyes are on Steve Paskorz, one of Notre Dame's future inside linebackers. He is in the weight room, doing the workout program Irish strength and conditioning coordinator Ruben Mendoza sent him. He takes the heavy dumbbells and holds each one on his shoulders behind his head. He bows forward and comes back to the set position, ripping off one good morning. Paskorz does a few sets.

This exercise is new to everyone inside the gym.

Weightlifting has changed for Steve Paskorz. He isn't doing the same workouts he is used to, the same ones his buddies do. He is doing dead lifts, clean pulls, good mornings and several other new things, on top of the familiar bench press, squat rack and curl bar.

"I didn't think it was too bad," said Paskorz when he first got his hands on the workout program after inking his Notre Dame letter-of-intent in February. "I saw it and I just glanced over it and thought this wasn't too bad because it didn't have too many things to do. Then you get into it and its tough because it's a lot stuff you usually don't do, a lot of sets and it takes a toll on the body."

It's been working. Paskorz, who was very sore at first, played his senior football season at Hampton High in Allison Park, Pa. at 215 pounds. He missed the last half of the year because of a hamstring injury. He has since added 15 pounds of muscle, standing in at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds.

Besides lifting, Paskorz has been working with a local trainer on the conditioning program Mendoza sent, getting quicker and faster. If he isn't lifting or conditioning, he's fishing, and that's about all Paskorz has time for.

"I feel bigger and more powerful, and moving around it's the same," Paskorz said. Just the other day, he bench pressed 315 pounds three times to end his workout. "When I do the agility stuff, I feel just as good or better."

By the last week of summer, Irish football players are expected to be able to run 20 110-yard sprints. Paskorz started out being able to do only eight, but he can already do 20 now.

Hampton High runs a 3-4 defense, and Paskorz played inside linebacker for the first time this past fall. The hamstring injury cut his season short, but he got a taste of where he'll be lining up at Notre Dame. The two years before, Paskorz played defensive end and outside linebacker.

Paskorz was also a standout running back at Hampton, running for 2,187 yards including five 200 yard rushing games as a sophomore. Junior season, Paskorz was slowed by an ankle injury, but rushed for 1,291 yards.

The hamstring injury hasn't slowed him down. Paskorz said he is still running in the 4.5 range.

"That still needs to come down, and will come down before I get there in June," Paskorz stated.

Paskorz opted to not play basketball and baseball his final prep season, rehabbing his hamstring and getting ready for the grind of college football. He felt 100 percent by January, but still started Notre Dame's workout program with light weights. He is now stronger than he has ever been.

Paskorz made the trip to Notre Dame for the Blue-Gold game capping off spring football camp, and hanging out with future teammates and hanging out on campus, has him really looking forward to getting to South Bend. He is ready for something new.

"We live in Hampton Township, and Hampton around here is a bubble. I'm just happy to get out of the bubble," Paskorz explained.

Well since Paskorz decided on Notre Dame, that bubble, once a Penn State bubble, now has been popped by the Irish. Paskorz said many in the community have changed their allegiances to Notre Dame.

It's been awhile since Paskorz has suited up, and football activities can't get here soon enough.

"I'm real excited to get on the field and start hitting people," Paskorz said. "I have a lot built up after missing half the season.

"I don't have a concern for my body, and I'll do what I can to get on the field."


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