A Long Time Coming

As soon as Barry Gallup Jr. signed his letter of intent to play football at Notre Dame, the star receiver out of Wellesley, Mass. circled a date on the Irish football schedule. Not a game for his upcoming freshman season, but during his sophomore season. That date is finally here, this Saturday, when No. 4 Boston College comes to South Bend.

Making the trip this weekend with the Eagles (6-0) will be a group of 20 family members and friends, including his father Barry Sr., a director of football operations for Boston College.

"It just gives you that much more incentive to work hard in practice, try and get better everyday and try and get on the field," Gallup said following practice Tuesday evening. He made his first collegiate appearance earlier in the season against Penn State, and is hoping his next chance will come against the Eagles.

Who knows if Gallup will get the opportunity, but he is third on the Notre Dame (1-5) depth chart at the Z position behind David Grimes and Robby Parris, and ahead of freshman deep-threat Golden Tate.

"Well, that's because Golden got dinged a little bit in the game," head coach Charlie Weis said of the UCLA game last Saturday. "He got knocked in the head a little bit. Golden will be involved in this mix right here. But it's also BC week. How could I not have Barry Gallup on the depth chart for BC week? By the way, his mother is rooting for Barry Gallup. I know that question will come up. That's who she's rooting for."

Smart answer, though Gallup expects his mother to be very emotional.

Growing up around the Boston College program, the 5-foot-11, 181-pound Gallup knows the Eagles roster almost as well as he knows his Notre Dame teammates. He spent many hours working out with the older guys on the team, preparing for his seasons at Belmont Hill, and eventually getting ready to head off to Notre Dame.

Gallup keeps in touch with most of those guys, but this week, they'll have to leave a message if they try and call.

"I try and stay away from my phone just in case," Gallup said with a laugh. "I don't know their motive. I don't know what they're trying to get out of me."

On the other hand, Gallup talks to his father every night. Including this week.

"We try and keep it real general," Gallup said.

"He loves Boston College, but at the same time he's a great family guy, puts his family first. He wants me to do well, but we're both there to win a game."

A rivalry game that Gallup used to be on the other side of. He was screaming go Eagles back in 1993, and he was pulling for Boston College as they put together a current four-game winning streak against the Irish. He has seen the Leahy Trophy given to the game's winner in the Boston College football office. Now he is hoping to help end the streak.

"I've been on the other side," he said. "I've been in their locker room. I know how intense it is. It's just going to be a great atmosphere on Saturday."

"It's going to be fun. I tell people I know these guys almost as well as I know the guys at Notre Dame. In high school I spent a lot of time with them working out and they really helped prepare me to figure out what it took in college. I have great respect for the guys there. I know how hard they work. It's going to be fun lining up against them."

Gallup remembers seeing Matt Ryan, Boston College's Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback struggle on the bench press in the weight room as a freshman. He has watched his close friend develop into the elite player he is today.

"Matt Ryan is one of a kind," Gallup stated. "He's a very special kid. Great player obviously, and even a better person. I have nothing but good things to say about him. I can't imagine there is a better quarterback in the country than him."

It was tough for Gallup, a U.S. Army All-American that rushed for 1,606 yards, averaged 29 yards per eight receptions and scored 26 touchdowns, to choose Notre Dame over Boston College. He also considered Harvard, where his older brother Darren was set to play before a car accident tragically ended his life. That played a huge factor in Gallup leaving the east coast for the Midwest.

"It was a tough decision," Gallup said. "There was a lot of things contributing to me coming here. I had a lot of personal things going on in my life, tragedies, and I kind of thought coming out here, in Boston everyone knew who I was through my brother and my Dad, coming out here, I made a tough decision, but coming out here making a new name for myself kind of start from scratch. I love Boston, I have a great respect for everyone there, it was a tough decision but one I'm glad I made."

Gallup has spent most of his time in practice running with the main offense. The quick and shifty receiver just hasn't been able to crack the rotation.

"I'm a developing receiver," Gallup said, citing that he has to become more consistent before he earns regular playing time. He also returns kicks and punts in practice, but also hasn't been able to beat the guys ahead of him out. "I feel like I have good ability and obviously I'm going to work hard. I'm going to be out there soon, eventually. It's just going to be up to me and how hard I want to work."

For this game, Gallup is working really hard.

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