Sept. 20, 2012
By Victoria Jacobsen
The inside linebacker position is not one for the faint of heart, and in the case of senior Dan Fox that mentality extends to his reading list. He's currently devouring The 50th Law, a treatise from rapper 50 Cent and co-author Robert Greene on how to live a fearless life. He has a copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo waiting to be read, and says the best book he's read lately is Lone Survivor, former Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell's harrowing account of a failed mission in Afghanistan and the ordeal that followed.
Fox's actual life may not concern matters of national security, but his time at Notre Dame has still been plenty eventful. He made his college debut as a sophomore in the 2010 season opener against Purdue, and has played in every game since. He has registered 68 total tackles for the Irish over the last two seasons and collected six more in Notre Dame's 50-10 season-opening rout of Navy in Dublin, Ireland.
Although Fox played safety in high school, he spent most of his sophomore campaign on special teams and completed the transition to linebacker last season.
"Obviously the coaches said that [inside linebacker] would be the best fit and I agreed," Fox says of the position change that began when he arrived on campus as a freshman. "One of the [difficulties] was just learning to be more physical, because you're usually out in space more with the safeties, and at inside linebacker you have to take on the linemen a little bit more. So that's something I really had to get used to."
Fox says one of the most crucial aspects of football is attention to detail - a trait that has also paid off in the classroom and in front of the video game consul.
"I'd say I'm the greatest Halo 3 player ever," Fox says. "[My teammates] would agree. No doubt, hands down."
Fox is a management-consulting major in the Mendoza College of Business, a decision that was likely influenced by the years of accountability and leadership he'd learned in football.
"I really like business, and we obviously have the number one business school in the country," Fox says. "I really like management, being a leader, so that's something that really drew me to it. Hopefully, I'll continue to play [after college], but if not I'm sure I'll find a job in business somewhere."
Although Fox is in his last year as an undergraduate student, he's had plenty to look forward to this fall. The season opener in Dublin allowed Fox to visit Irish relatives he's met in person just once before, and this Notre Dame-Michigan matchup may be the last chance to best his close friend Jake Ryan, a redshirt sophomore linebacker who was a teammate at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio.
Although it's hard to imagine a football player with a St. Patrick's Day birthday and the name Daniel Patrick playing anywhere else, Fox, who won an Ohio state championship with St. Ignatius in 2008, says that his former high school teammates who went on to play for the Irish (including Robby Parris and John Ryan, older brother of Jake) helped him decide that Notre Dame was the right place.
"I had grown up knowing about Notre Dame, so that was really the biggest thing, and my parents really wanted me to come here, too," Fox says. "Once I took a visit I just knew this was the place for me. It's an amazing place."
The importance of Notre Dame's history has been discussed so often that "tradition" and "Irish" are now nearly synonymous, but Fox agrees that being a member of Notre Dame's team during the season-long celebration of 125 years of Irish football puts the program's legacy in perspective.
"Looking back at Notre Dame and all the tradition, it's really amazing, especially because a lot of people from my high school get a chance to play here," Fox says. "So that's a big tradition, coming from St. Ignatius and everything. The tradition at Notre Dame is just really amazing."
Fox did not see any playing time in his freshman year and is therefore eligible to play next season if he chooses to pursue the opportunity and is accepted into a graduate program. He has yet to determine if that will be something he will do.
"I would love to stick around for a fifth year," Fox says. "It flew by so far, it went by like a snap of a finger, but I've had a great time so far and I'm really excited for this year."
So if Fox returns to Notre Dame next season and you see him around campus, be sure to ask what he thought of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.