Cubs take Notre Dame pitcher/WR in Draft

The Cubs selected two-sport Notre Dame athlete Jeff Samardzija with their fifth-round draft pick Tuesday. Samardzija stars as both a right-handed pitcher for the Irish baseball team and wide receiver for Charlie Weis' football team.

Elite two-sport athlete whose 2005 calendar year included posting 8-1 record with Irish baseball team in the spring and turning in record-setting football season as All-America receiver in the fall (when he totaled 77 catches for 1,249 yards and 15 TDs) ... has improved each season in the baseball program and now returns alongside senior lefthander Tom Thornton and fellow junior righthander Jeff Manship to form strong weekend rotation ... tremendous competitor with workmanlike approach and athletic versatility to thrive on the mound in any role ... named by league's coaches to 2006 preseason all-BIG EAST Conference team while Baseball America rated him the No. 6 pro prospect in the BIG EAST ... has seen his velocity increase while adding a quality changeup to his pitch arsenal ... his widereaching athleticism includes earning allstate honors as a prep centerfielder ... again will face challenge of making transition to baseball without benefit of summer or fall ball - in addition to maintaining first priority in the spring at football practice ... became Notre Dame's first baseball/football athlete since Scott Sollmann in the mid-'90s ... joins freshman infielder/quarterback Evan Sharpley in giving the Irish two scholarship football players on the baseball team for the first time in the 12-year Paul Maineri era ... could join Moose Krause (basketball,), heavyweight wrestlers Dick Arrington and Bob Golic and Raghib "Rocket" Ismail (track) as fifth Notre Dame football All-American to earn All-America honors in a second sport ... earned nickname of "Shark" from one of his teammates during '04 Irish baseball season ... his major upside is based on strong, tall frame (6-5, 215 pounds), tremendous athleticism (he was an all-state centerfielder as a prep senior), arm strength, clean delivery and quality offspeed pitches...throws a high-80s fastball, breaking ball and splitter (plus the new changeup) ... his first two seasons with the Irish produced a 3.47 ERA, 13-4 record and 98 strikeouts in 142.2 innings and 35 appearances (16 starts, 135 hits allowed/.245 opp. batting avg., 47 walks and a save) ... has demonstrated a high level of confidence and mound presence ... brings a fun-loving personality to the ballpark ... earned 2004 Freshman All-America honors while compiling a 2.95 season ERA that ranked second-best among BIG EAST regulars ... earned first letters with ND football team as '03 and `04 reserve wide receiver, with best game in the `04 Insight Bowl ... see p. 10 for more on the ND baseball program's multi-sport players ... inherited No. 45 jersey worn previously by RHP Brandon Viloria ('03) ... one of 21 Notre Dame players to post GPA of 3.0-plus (3.05) in 2005 fall semester.

AS A SOPHOMORE: Showcased his tremendous athleticism and competitiveness while delivering several clutch outings as both a starter and reliever during 2005 season (in addition to undergoing first spring season under new football coach Charlie Weis) ... led staff in wins (8-1; 4th among BIG EAST pitchers) and strikeouts (56), also ranking 2nd on team in starts (10) and innings per outing (5.1), 3rd in innings (78.2) and groundouts (90) and 5th in ERA (3.89) ... ranked 4th on staff in lefthanded opp. batting (.288), opp. leadoff on-base pct. (.386) and opp. batting with runners on (.263) ... given ball as starter in season opener and picked up win over Florida A&M (5 IP, 4 H, R, 3 BB, K, 10 groundouts), at UCF ... added win in San Antonio over Southwest Missouri (5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 Ks; 5-1) and beat Seton Hall with complete game in first BIG EAST weekend, allowing two late runs (7 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, career-best 8 Ks) ... caught up with the Irish on Saturday night in Brockton , Mass., and came out of the bullpen for six shutout innings - combining with Manship to shut out Boston College in series finale (3 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 76 pitches) ... he and Manship did not allow a BC runner to reach third base all game (none reached scoring position until the 8th) ... picked up relief win over UConn (6.1 IP, 4 R/3 ER, 6 H, BB, K, 11 GO), after Manship was knocked out of the game with a finger injury ... rescued the Irish again out of the bullpen vs. Cleveland State, logging 7.0 shutout innings (4 H, BB, 8 Ks; 7-6 in 13) ... delivered three straight big-game efforts (with a 2.29 ERA, 14 Ks, 6 BB and .227 opp. batting in those games) - the first coming at Pittsburgh (6 IP, 2 H, R, 3 BB, 4 Ks; 21-1) as the Irish were battling for a BIG EAST Tournament spot ... next helped clinch postseason spot in 7-3 win over West Virginia (7 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 4 Ks, 73 of 105 pitches went for strikes) ... followed with winners-bracket victory over Pittsburgh at BIG EAST Tournament (6.2 IP, 2 R/1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K; 4-2) and had no-decision versus Stetson at NCAA Gainesville Regional (5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 Ks; 7-4), leaving with the score 2-2.

AS A FRESHMAN: Named Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball magazine, after posting 2.95 ERA that ranked 2nd among BIG EAST pitchers (min 1.0 IP/team game) behind West Virginia ace Zac Cline (2.65) ... owned 2nd-best opponent batting avg. (.209) in BIG EAST, behind BC 1st-rounder Chris Lambert (.196) ... compiled 5-3 record as starter and top long reliever (42 Ks, 17 BB, 50 H in 64 IP) ... season highlights included 22-inning scoreless streak (2nd-longest by ND pitcher in Mainieri era) and late 4-0 win over #20 Central Florida (7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, HB, 4 Ks, 10 GO, 2 popups, 25 batters faced) ... took perfect game into 4th inning of that game (UCF lefthanded hitters hit just 1-for-14) ... helped salvage season as Irish overcame injuries to three top pitchers (including Manship) ... twice played in ND football scrimmage and flew that night to join baseball team before pitching next day ... first taste of double duty saw him gut out 9-6 relief win at Georgetown (4.2 IP, 3 R/2 ER, 6 H, 5 Ks) ... one week later, he caught a TD in Blue-Gold scrimmage but struggled next day in 8-6 loss as starter at Pittsburgh (4 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 2 BB, 4 Ks) ... excluding that tough doubleduty in late April, he posted a 1.95 ERA and allowed just .180 opp. batting in 19 other outings ... his .209 opponent avg. ranked 3rdbest ever by ND freshman while his 20 appearances were 5th ... finished 3rd among ND regulars (20-plus IP) in opp. batting, innings and groundouts (85), 4th among regulars in ERA and GP, 5th in wins and Ks ... owned staff's best opp. batting avg. by LH hitters (.160), 4th in opp. 2-out batting (.228) and opp. leadoff on-base (.288) ... his 9- inning avg. included 11.95 GOs (2nd on staff), 2.39 BBs and 7.03 H (both 4th), plus 5.91 Ks ... averaged 17.9 outs per 9 IP via Ks or GOs (2nd on staff with 1.5 groundout-flyout ratio) ... had unique distinction of ranking 4th on staff in relief appearances (14, closed 4) and 5th in starts (6) ... allowed 1-of-6 inherited baserunners to score ... made debut as closer vs. Florida Memorial, at FAU (2 IP, 2 Ks; 12-3) ... helped Irish rally to 12-11 win over Southern Illinois, in San Antonio (2.1 IP, R, BB, K, 8 BF) ... saved 4-2 win over Penn State in Round Rock (4 IP, BB, K, 13 BF) ... picked up 5-3 win at WVU in 7-inning opener that extended to 10 (2 IP, BB, K, 5 GO, 7 BF; 5-3) ... came back next day for 1.2 shutout IP in 6-2 series finale (2 H,BB, K) ... had tough-luck loss in first start, taking no-hitter into 7th before St. John' scored 2 unearned runs for 2-1 win (7.1 IP, 2 H, BB, 2 Ks, 11 GOs, 26 BF, 85 pitches, retired first 14) ... beat Manchester (7 IP, 5 H, 3 Ks; 10-0) ... notched 7-3 win over Michigan in Grand Rapids, as starter in planned rotation (4 IP, H, R, 3 BB, 3 Ks) ... ended regular season with 2.45 ERA (47th in nation) ... closed with no-decision in 6-5 NCAA Tournament loss to Arizona, after taking no-hitter into the 4th ( 5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 6 Ks).

WITH NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL: Totaled just 24 catches for 327 yards and no touchdowns in first two seasons with the Irish football team but burst onto the scene with record-setting '05 season that earned him consensus All-America honors ... also one of three finalists for Biletnikoff Award (given to college football's top receiver) ... set ND season record for TD catches (15) while tying Tom Gatewood's 1970 record for receptions (77) and ranking third in the ND record book with 1,249 receiving yards ... ... set ND record for consecutive games with a TD catch (8, at start of `05) ... made highlightreel, 19-yard TD catch in opener vs. Pittsburgh ... tied ND record with three TD catches vs. Michigan State ... his 153 receiving yards vs. Purdue included one-handed, leaping grab for 41-yard gain and two TD catches (one a 55-yard play that saw him slip five tackles) ... latched onto six passes for 99 yards and 32-yard TD (on third-down play, for 14-14 tie) in showdown with USC ... had 10 catches for 154 yards and pair of TDs vs. BYU ... combined with Maurice Stovall (14) as first ND duo to have 10-plus catches in same game ... 127-yard day vs. Tennessee (7 catches) included 73-yard play on short pattern, sparking go-ahead march to break 21-21 tie (he scored the TD) ... made eight catches for 191 yards and pair of TDs at Stanford, including 80-yard play after short catch ... second on `04 team with 16.1 yards per catch (17 for 274, in 12 GP) ... enjoyed big night versus Oregon State in Insight Bowl (5 catches, 89 yards) to end 2004 season ... first lettered as a freshman in `03 (7 catches, 53 yards) ... also served as place-kick holder and played as deep safety on defense in two '05 games.

PREP & PERSONAL: Earned all-conference, all-area and all-state (as centerfielder) at Valparaiso HS (.467, 55 RBI, 7 HR, 6 3B) ... had stellar '03 season on mound (3.28, 6-3, 50 Ks, 27 BB) ... struck out 13 in 1-hit shutout at rival Laporte ... played in north-south all-star game ... three-year baseball letterwinner ... never missed a start in final three seasons of football, basketball and baseball (160-plus games) ... runner-up for Indiana Mr. Football Award and named top receiver in state ... honorable mention on Detroit Free Press "Best of the Midwest" football team ... named football All-American as junior, three times all-state, twice team MVP ... caught 50 passes for 1,044 yards, 9 TDs as senior, helping 12-2 team reach state semifinals ... named to Indiana AP all-state first team ... 40 tackles, 3 interceptions as '02 free safety ... caught 55 passes for 1,197 yards and 10 TDs in `01, helping team reach state title game ... played in football state all-star game ... earned one letter in basketball ... full name is Jeffrey Alan Samardzija ... born Jan. 23, 1985, in Merrillville, Ind. ... a marketing major, enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business.


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