Another Rudy? Former Seton Catholic star walks on at Notre Dame

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Former Seton Catholic star Brandon Garcia just walked on and made the Fighting Irish’s roster and he’s got a story to rival Rudy’s. (Source: Brandon Garcia) Former Seton Catholic star Brandon Garcia just walked on and made the Fighting Irish’s roster and he’s got a story to rival Rudy’s. (Source: Brandon Garcia)
Another Notre Dame student took notice of Garcia’s abilities. (Source: Brandon Garcia) Another Notre Dame student took notice of Garcia’s abilities. (Source: Brandon Garcia)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

Sports fans consistently rank “Rudy” at the top of the list of favorite sports films. It’s the true story of Rudy Ruettiger, who went from walk-on to Notre Dame legend.

Former Seton Catholic star Brandon Garcia just walked on and made the Fighting Irish’s roster and he’s got a story to rival Rudy’s.

[SLIDESHOW: Seton Catholic star makes Notre Dame football team]

“I would have never guessed that this would happen,” says Garcia, reached through Facetime in a dorm in South Bend, Indiana. “If somebody else tells me something wild now I'll start to believe them."

Garcia had no plans to go to Notre Dame or even play college football. That all changed when his girlfriend fell in love with the school. 

“The next week I was like, I’ve got to find a way to get in,” says Garcia, an honor student and the former student body president at Seton. 

He was on Notre Dame’s waiting list. A friend's mom suggested Garcia fly to South Bend and meet with the admissions' office.

“I didn't tell them I was coming. I got to Chicago at 11 [p.m.], South Bend at 3 a.m. I woke up 5 hours later, got to the dome,” says Garcia. “They said, 'Thanks. We appreciate you visiting the school.'”

A few days later, Garcia was in the library studying for a test when he got a call. It was the admissions officer he met with at Notre Dame. Garcia had gotten in. To think, that’s only the start of the story.

Garcia enrolled and started soaking up college life. The game day tailgates with the costumes and townies were epic. 

Football though wasn’t completely out of his system. He played intramurals in full pads. Notre Dame is one of the only school’s in the country that offers the sport to its students. His dorm won the championship and played in Notre Dame Stadium.

Another Notre Dame student named Brandon took notice of Garcia’s abilities, Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush.

“I made friends with him and a couple of the football players because they so happened to live in my dorm,” says Garcia. “He texted me and said, 'Tryouts are next week and you should go.' It turns he called on my behalf.”

Wimbush and Garcia are now teammates. Garcia was home in Casa Grande for spring break then returned to South Bend for spring practice. He has a gold helmet, his own locker, and is on the depth chart as a defensive back. He’s also in the pre-med program at Notre Dame. None of his story surprises Gary Galante, his coach at Seton Catholic.

“He’s a dream kid,” says Galante, who took over the Sentinel program for Brandon’s senior year. “If I could duplicate 10 of him we would be state champions. Everybody out here is talking about it.”

Despite his story, Garcia hadn’t seen the movie "Rudy" until this summer. 

“I said I’ve got to watch this movie or I’m a fake fan,” says Garcia. “It hit me hard. I could really connect to it.”

The next chapter of the Brandon Garcia story is set for Sept. 2 when Notre Dame opens the season against Temple. 

After watching games from the stands his freshman year, Brandon Garcia will touch the “Play Like A Champion Sign” and run out of the tunnel with the team for the first time on game day.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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