Close To The Dream

Danny McCarthy has begun to pack things up, and round together everything he's going to need for his first semester as a student and football player at Notre Dame.

His parents will drive him to campus on Sunday, where he will join the rest of the Irish football team for summer school and conditioning.

"It's coming close to reality, of a dream I've been waiting my whole life for, and I couldn't be more excited for it," the Youngstown, Ohio product said.

And while Dan McCarthy is jacked about finally heading off to South Bend and taking the next step in his life, there is even more to be happy about on the horizon.

His health.

A standout quarterback and defensive back at Ohio powerhouse Cardinal Mooney, McCarthy had his season tragically come to an end with a neck injury in the regional semifinal game. Before that, McCarthy had led his team to 26-straight victories and a state title, and as a senior, rushed for 1,340 yards and 15 scores, while throwing for 625 yards and seven more touchdowns.

He has surgery shortly after his teammates lost in the state championship game without him. McCarthy was still named the Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year.

"I met with the doctor a couple weeks ago," McCarthy said. "He said my neck, the healing process has gone perfectly so far, and I'm 90 to 95 percent, and I'm clear for all running and weight lifting. For head-on-head contact, they'll take another x-ray in three months, and I should be able to be full go with everything starting in the fall. That's the plan right now. We'll see how it goes."

Great news considering how far McCarthy has come.

Before the football season, McCarthy weighed just over 200 pounds of solid muscle. After surgery, he saw his weight slip down to 165 pounds.

"I was walking around school, and my friends definitely let me know I was skinny," McCarthy said. "But it's all good."

It certainly is.

McCarthy has his weight up to 195 pounds, which is exactly the weight the Notre Dame coaching staff wants its future free safety at upon his arrival at school.

"There wasn't much rehab," McCarthy said. "It was mainly just time letting the bone fuse. Like I said, it's 90 to 95 percent now, so now the doctor said I can do neck strengthening exercises. I've been doing weight room. After surgery my weight was 165, and now I'm back to 195 and feeling good."

McCarthy's workout buddy has been his older brother Kyle, who will head into his senior season as a starting safety for the Irish.

"I'm really excited for him," Danny said. "I'm glad to see everything is working out for him. He is such a hard worker. It's great to see he is getting rewards for that."

McCarthy would like to see rewards for his hard work as well. He's been studying the playbook, and hasn't ruled out seeing the field in some facet this fall as a true freshman.

"Hopefully I'll be able to get in there and compete, and we'll see how everything goes."

Sounds like the dream.


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