Ron Powlus hit the national scene before he had even played a game for the Irish when well known sportswriter Beano Cook predicted that he would win the Heisman trophy twice and go down as the greatest ND quarterback ever.
Talk about setting the bar high!
This “phenom” came to Notre Dame out of Berwick, PA and it wasn’t just Beano who said was going to be good. Parade, Gatorade and USA Today all named him their player of the year after his senior season in High school. In fact, Powlus was touted by many as one of the best high school quarterback prospects ever. His senior year at Berwick he led his school to the national number #1 ranking. That season his stats were eyepopping: 2900 yards passing, 31 touchdown passes, 677 yards rushing and another 20 TDs on the ground.
During his first fall camp at ND in August of 1993, Powlus made a fast impression on Lou Holtz and won the starting job. That did not last long however, because he broke his collarbone just days before the first game. Kevin McDougal, last week’s Hero instead got his chance and Powlus sat the season out.
Powlus came back the next year and went on to start 46 games in his Irish career over the next four seasons. A strong armed accurate passer, from 1994-1995 he and Derrick Mayes combined by themselves through the air for 1728 yards and 17 touchdowns.
As a junior Powlus broke Rick Mirer’s all-time touchdown mark and as a senior he set several more school records including most career attempts, passing yards, and consecutive completions. In all Powlus left Notre Dame holding 20 all-time ND passing records, he also served as a two-time team captain.
Powlus had a short lived career in the NFL and the World League before returning to ND in 2005 in an administrative role and then as Charlie Weis’s quarterbacks coach from 2007 to 2010. After coaching stints at Kansas and Akron, Powlus came back to the University in 2015 and has served in several administrative roles. He currently is the associate athletics director for football and is frequently visible on the sidelines of games and at daily practices.
Ron Powlus, starting Quarterback from 1994-1997, an ALL-TIME IRISH HERO