Veteran of Notre Dame's '99 offensive line as returning regular at center . . . far and away the most experienced returnee for Irish line that lost starting tackles Mike Rosenthal and Luke Petitgout and guards Jerry Wisne and Tim Ridder to graduation . . . ranks seventh nationally among centers in '99 preseason position rankings by Lindy's . . . was named first team preseason All-American by Street & Smith's magazine in conjunction with the Walter Camp Foundation . . . Notre Dame's first-team center for '98 season played more minutes than anyone on squad . . . ranked as logical candidate to inherit '98 starting spot vacated by graduation of three-year starter Rick Kaczenski since he was lone returning center with any previous playing time . . . headed into '97 campaign with Irish as top backup at center spot behind veteran Kaczenski and earned a monogram in that capacity . . . boasts ability to be solid all-around lineman for Irish . . . played briefly as rookie and projected as center of the future for Irish teams to come . . . knows the game and has physical attributes to handle the position . . . qualifies as glue that holds Irish line together . . . comes from coaching background thanks to father's involvement at college and pro levels.
AS A JUNIOR: Starting center for Irish in all 12 games in '98, including vs. Georgia Tech in 1999 Gator Bowl . . . played more minutes than any other player on squad . . . also made 51 regular-season appearances with Irish special teams, working on field goal/PAT units - then five more in Gator Bowl vs. Georgia Tech . . . made first career start at center in '98 opener vs. Michigan and was regular at that spot throughout the fall . . . key figure to making Irish one of national rushing leaders.
AS A SOPHOMORE: Earned a monogram while playing in each of last seven games in '97, including vs. LSU in '97 Independence Bowl . . . made 35 regular-season special team appearances . . . only appearance at center came vs. Boston College.
AS A FRESHMAN: Played vs. Purdue in '96 in lone appearance of freshman season while working at center.
HIGH SCHOOL AND PERSONAL DATA: Named to Best in the West team as senior in '95 by Long Beach Press-Telegram . . . earned three letters in football at Rim of the World High School in Lake Arrowhead, Calif. . . . . played center, offensive guard and defensive tackle . . . captain of team as senior . . . three-time all-league selection . . . father Mike is former head coach at Citrus (Calif.) Junior College (1986-93) and former St. Louis Cardinal offensive line assistant in early 1980s, coaching for 28 years overall. . . selected for California-Texas Shrine all-star game . . . played youth hockey for 13 years through junior year in high school, competing for Junior A Mighty Ducks of Western States Athletic Conference . . . born 2-23-78 in Fontana, Calif. . . . youngest of three children . . . full name is John Michael Merandi . . . father Mike played football at Washington - sister Debbie played volleyball at Pepperdine . . . enrolled in College of Business Administration with major in management.
G-GS Time 1996 1-0 3:20 1997 6-0 4:17 1998 11-11 308:14 TOTAL 18-11 315:51
The John Merandi File
- The Irish offensive player who will surprise people this year is Jim Jones
- The Irish defensive player who will surprise people this year is Rocky Boiman
- The sports team I followed when I was younger was The Washington Redskins
- A word to describe me on the field is Killer
- A word to describe me off the field is Relaxed
- Other than Notre Dame Stadium, my favorite college stadium in which to play football is Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
- The area I would like to improve as a football player is Use of my hands
- If I could play another position on the other side of the ball it would be Linebacker
- My greatest personal athletic moment was Beating Michigan
- The most stimulating class I ever took at Notre Dame was Management with Professor Michael Crant
- The people who have helped me the most since I've been at Notre Dame are My parents and coaches
- The top three teams in college football this year will be #1 Notre Dame, and #2 and #3 - who cares?