Notre Dame starting strong safety Zeke Motta and University of Miami reserve wide receiver Shawn O’Dare sit next to each other over lunch and exchange memories of their trip to El Paso, TX to play in the 77th annual Hyundai Sun Bowl.
The Sun Bowl was a big win for the Fighting Irish, as they beat the Hurricanes 33-17. The game was important, certainly, to both players. It was O’Dare’s first chance to dress in a Hurricane uniform and it was the end of Motta’s first season as a starter. These ultra-competitive athletes barely mentioned the game itself, but rarely did they stop talking about their first trip to El Paso.
“Dude, we tore you guys up in the talent show,” said Motta, playfully ribbing his old friend. “We really came in prepared for it.”
All O’Dare can do is grin sheepishly and shrug his shoulders. “We had nothing for you guys,” O’Dare replied. “We just kind of threw people up there to perform.”
The former Vero Beach High School teammates talked about their experiences on and off the field from the 2010 season, caught up on the latest town gossip and talked about some of their high school teammates who were also off playing college football.
Although a decade removed from its full glory, Vero Beach High School had the best record in Florida during the 1990s. The tradition of high school football is a strong one in Vero Beach, and every year the school sends off a quality player or three to play Division I football.
Motta, an Army All-American in 2008, brought exposure back to a program some had forgotten about. Let's see who else Notre Dame could be picking up out of this quiet Florida beach town.