Detailing the Notre Dame to L.A. Chargers Pipeline


The Los Angeles (it’s still difficult to not call them San Diego) Chargers were a top trending term on social media last week due to their new uniform reveal and the extremely positive reception that it elicited. While powder blue and yellow are the colors they’re most strongly associated with, they do have a dark navy blue offering, which is somewhat reminiscent of Notre Dame. Just turn that yellow closer to gold and you’re there, and by there I mean “Notre Dame Southwest.”

Former Fighting Irish cornerback Donte Vaughn signed a free agent deal with the Chargers this past week, and he’ll now join former Notre Dame teammates Alohi Gilman, Asmar Bilal, Drue Tranquill, Isaac Rochell, and Jerry Tillery on the Chargers roster.

This is what we call “a pipeline” in sports, and we see it quite often.

From high school basketball to college hoops, like Simeon H.S. to the Illinois Fighting Illini. Or in the Premier League from Southampton FC to Liverpool FC. Current ND Offensive Coordinator and holder of many school passing records Tommy Rees was born in L.A. but grew up in the Chicago north shore suburbs.

He was an assistant coach with the San Diego Chargers in 2016. Manti Te’o didn’t do a lot in the NFL, but the highlights of his pro career did come with the Chargers. In 2018, ND played in San Diego for the annual game against Navy while they visit Los Angeles every other season to play their main rival, USC. In short, Notre Dame and L.A./Chargers connections run deep.

(SB Nation’s Chargers community, Bolts from the Blue outlines it here quite nicely)

Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly did a Zoom call this week to discuss the Domers who were selected in the NFL Draft and signed pro contracts last weekend.

Overall, six ND players were picked and six more signed pro deals.

Kelly was asked if there is a special relationship there between Notre Dame and the Chargers.

“GM Tom Telesco, Kevin Kelly the lead scout has been great job in evaluating our players,” said Kelly.

“Obviously the enture organization beikeevs that our players have developee in a manner…certainly we want to be able to  continue to develop great young men that can be great Chargers for them as well.”

“We’re just happy that we have great young men that they believe in, who they believe can help their organization move towards a Super Bowl.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TV, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago, on Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

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