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    25 Tony Driver  
    Tony Driver

    Class:
    Senior

    Hometown:
    Louisville, KY

    High School:
    Male

    Height / Weight:
    6-2 / 220

    Position:
    Free Safety

    Birthdate:
    08/04/1977

    HS Coach:
    Bob Redman


    Notre Dame's number-one free safety in 2000 . . . named to the All-Independent team by Football News and Collegefootballnews.com . . . winner of Notre Dame Golden Helmet Award given to the senior player who goes above and beyond the call of duty by contributing, in whatever way he is asked, to help further the success of his teammates and the Notre Dame football program . . . named by The Sporting News to its midseason All-America team for 2000 as first-team free safety. . . a second-team preseason All-American for 2000 according to The Sporting News . . . named to 2000 preseason All-Independent team and rated third among free safeties nationally by The Sporting News . . . returned to defensive side of ball for Irish in 2000 and became strong contributor in Notre Dame secondary based on experience and overall abilities . . . mature, natural athlete who proved he's capable of making major contributions on either offense or defense - after starting much of the '98 campaign at strong safety and playing major role at tailback in both '97 and '99 . . . also returned kicks in 2000 after leading Irish in kickoff returns in '98 . . . tough, physical player who wasted little time as rookie proving he could help Irish on both special teams and as running back . . . good enough athlete to play almost anywhere on the field . . . solid competitor who has been unselfish in his bid to help the Irish wherever he can . . . his 46 career kickoff returns tie him with Raghib Ismail (46) for third all-time, trailing only Tim Brown (69) and Jim Stone (49) . . . his 1,059 career kickoff return yards stand him fifth all-time . . . selected to play in 2001 Delchamps Senior Bowl all-star game.

    AS A SENIOR: Returned to free safety in 2000 after playing tailback in '99 . . . was second on team with 65 tackles and shared team lead with two fumble recoveries. . . named to the All-Independent team by Football News and by Collegefootballnews.com . . . winner of Notre Dame Golden Helmet Award given to the senior player who goes above and beyond the call of duty by contributing, in whatever way he is asked, to help further the success of his teammates and the Notre Dame football program . . . named by The Sporting News to its midseason All-America team for 2000 as first-team free safety . . . named to 2000 Jim Thorpe Award watch list . . . helped Irish rank third nationally in kickoff returns at 24.92 each . . . tabbed as a 2000 second-team preseason All-American by The Sporting News . . . also selected to the 2000 preseason All-Independent team by The Sporting News, while being ranked third nationally among free safeties . . . started all 12 games, including vs. Oregon State in 2001 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl . . . had team-high 10 tackles vs. Texas A&M and also made a fourth-quarter interception . . . registered 10 tackles vs. Nebraska as well and had six stops against Purdue . . . led team with 11 tackles, including the 100th of his career vs. Michigan State . . . had 32-yard kickoff return in third quarter against the Spartans to help set up a Julius Jones two-yard touchdown, which brought Notre Dame to within 20-14 . . . had five tackles vs. Stanford . . . tied an NCAA individual record with two fumble returns for TDs vs. Navy (Minnesota's Tyrone Carter was only other player to do it in '96) . . . brought back fumbles 24 and 22 yards for scores for 21-0 first-period Irish lead . . . became first Irish player ever to return two fumbles for TDs in a career . . . became first Irish defensive player to score twice in a game since Dave Waymer returned two interceptions for scores vs. Miami in 1979 in Mirage Bowl in Tokyo . . . selected as CBS player of the game vs. Navy as well as defensive MVP by Florida Citrus Sports . . . returned first-quarter kickoff 33 yards to set up first Irish scoring drive vs. West Virginia . . . had six tackles including one for loss vs. Boston College . . . had five tackles and returned an interception 43 yards to the USC 19-yard line to set up Tony Fisher touchdown that gave Irish 21-7 lead vs. USC . . . made seven tackles vs. Oregon State in Tostitos Fiesta Bowl -- and returned one kickoff for 35 yards . . . made 118 regular-season special team appearances in 2000, then 13 more vs. Oregon State in Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

    AS A JUNIOR: Shared tailback load with Tony Fisher for Irish in '99 . . . carried 13 times vs. Kansas (same number of carries as Fisher) for 45 yards and a first-period one-yard scoring run that gave Irish 20-0 advantage . . . also caught a six-yard pass vs. Jayhawks for his first career reception . . . carried three times for 10 yards vs. Michigan . . . blocked a second-quarter punt vs. Purdue, setting up a Jarious Jackson touchdown to give Notre Dame a 16-7 lead . . . also carried for career-high 51 yards vs. Boilermakers, including longest rush of his career (14 yards) . . . carried the ball six times for 24 yards vs. Michigan State . . . also had three kickoff returns for 101 yards vs. the Spartans . . . pulled Irish within two points with one-yard touchdown run late in third period vs. Oklahoma . . . followed up with another one-yard score to put Notre Dame ahead of the Sooners for good . . . forced a fumble vs. Arizona State . . . scored on one-yard plunge to pull Irish to 24-16 in the fourth quarter vs. USC . . . did not play in last five games of '99 season.

    AS A SOPHOMORE: Finished tied for fourth on '98 team in total tackles with 58 . . . led Irish in kickoff returns with 23 for 512 yards and a 22.3-yard average . . . his 23 kickoff returns ranked second in Notre Dame history trailing only Tim Brown's 25 from 1986 (then Julius Jones broke that mark with 26 in '99) . . . was tied for second in interceptions with two . . . played in all 12 games, starting seven times in the middle of the season . . . started at strong safety in all but first two games against Michigan and Michigan State and last three vs. LSU and USC and Georgia Tech in 1999 Gator Bowl . . . made 139 regular-season special team appearances, third on the squad behind only Joey Goodspeed and Hunter Smith . . . played on punt, kickoff and return units . . . recovered a fumble on Michigan kickoff to set up go-ahead touchdown for Irish in win over fifth-rated Wolverines . . . played most of the way at strong safety vs. Michigan State, after Benny Guilbeaux was hurt with 10 minutes left in opening period . . . made 10 tackles vs. Michigan State . . . made first career start vs. Purdue and made first two interceptions of the season, both coming in final two minutes against Purdue's Drew Brees as Irish came back to win 31-30 . . . first interception came at 1:39 mark with Irish trailing 30-28, on a third-and-15 play from the Boiler 17, with Driver running it back 37 yards to the Purdue five to set up Jim Sanson's game-winning field goal . . . his second interception with 37 seconds left on a second-and-10 play enabled Irish to run out the clock in the victory . . . started again vs. Stanford and made 10 tackles, second best total on the squad in that game . . . returned to carry once from tailback position vs. Baylor in addition to starting at safety and making nine tackles . . . had eight solo tackles vs. Boston College, plus season-long 40-yard kickoff return among his 158 kickoff return yards vs. Eagles . . . came off the bench in '99 Gator Bowl vs. Georgia Tech to make one tackle and also force and recover a fumble that set up early second-half Irish score, as well as making 11 special-team appearances . . . made mid-spring switch from tailback to defense during '98 spring drills . . . made move to secondary after first five spring workouts in what probably amounted to most dramatic position change on '98 roster . . . headed into fall camp neck and neck with A'Jani Sanders in fight for starting assignment.

    AS A FRESHMAN: One of six freshmen to earn monograms as rookies in '97 . . . played in all 13 games, making 124 regular-season appearances with Irish special teams, to rank fifth on squad in special team appearances . . . ranked fourth on team in rushing as number-three tailback on Irish depth chart . . . worked extensively with Irish T-formation team in short-yardage and goal-line situations . . . made first appearances at tailback vs. Michigan State (four for 13) and Michigan (10 for 24, including second-period one-yard TD run) . . . also ran back a kickoff 49 yards vs. Michigan . . . rushed five times for 19 yards vs. Stanford and ran back four kickoffs for 60 . . . only carry vs. USC produced a TD . . . carried four times for 24 yards vs. Boston College, including one-yard run for first Irish points in first period . . . had most productive game of year with 28 yards on five attempts in regular-season meeting vs. LSU . . . only Allen Rossum returned more kickoffs than his 11 attempts . . . played reserve role at tailback in '97 Independence Bowl vs. LSU, returning two kickoffs for 29 yards and rushing once for one yard.

    HIGH SCHOOL AND PERSONAL DATA: Parade, Reebok and first-team USA Today prep All-American . . . ranked as fifth best prospect nationally by Chicago Sun-Times . . . ranked as 34th best offensive player nationally by The Sporting News . . . named Gatorade player of the year in Kentucky . . . named to Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super Southern 100 . . . named to Scholastic Coach All-America team of 101 players . . . a third-team pick on all-South team chosen by Fox Sports South . . . rushed 267 times for 1,491 yards and 18 TDs as senior in '96 at Male High School in Louisville, Ken. . . . caught 25 passes for 467 yards and five TDs . . . career totals included 538 carries for 3,460 yards and 48 TDs and 82 receptions for 1,612 yards and 22 TDs . . . three-time all-state selection . . . won state title in 100 meters as junior and also played basketball . . . started at defensive back as a freshman on team that won state title, then played both tailback and wide receiver as sophomore . . . born 8-4-77 . . . second oldest of five children . . . enrolled in College of Arts and Letters with major in sociology.

    ?G-GSTimeSoloAsst. Tot.TL-Yds. Int. Yds. PBU Sacks
    199712-032:151120-000 00-0
    199811-7196:553624601-125450-0
    19997-053:482130-000 00-0
    200011-11254:383926651-426271-4
    Total41-18 537:3678521302-54116 121-4

    ?FRYds.TDKO Ret. Yds.Avg. TDLG
    19970001121419.5049
    19981002351222.3040
    1999100412531.3041
    20002462923225.8044
    Total446247108323.0049

    DRIVER GAME BY GAME
    1997

    GameTCYds.TDKO Ret. Yds.
    Georgia Tech 000228
    Purdue00000
    Michigan State 413000
    Michigan10241149
    Stanford5190460
    Pittsburgh415000
    USC111237
    Boston College 424100
    Navy000112
    LSU528000
    West Virginia 1-5000
    Hawaii160128

    1997 Independence Bowl

    LSU110229

    1999

    GameTCYds.TDRec.Yds.TDKO Ret. Yds.
    Kansas1345116000
    Michigan310000000
    Purdue1051000000
    Michigan State 62400003101
    Okla.718200000
    ASU7240000124
    USC315100000
    Navy

    Did Not Play

    Tennessee

    Did Not Play

    Pittsburgh

    Did Not Play

    Boston College

    Did Not Play

    Stanford

    Did Not Play

    *games started

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