You may recall that last season's Notre Dame quarterback, Kevin McDougal, sure didn't look Irish. Not that anyone said much about it. So why all the fuss over Gus?
Gus is Gus Ornstein, a 6'5", 205-pound quarterback from Tenafly, N.J., who, since confirming that he will attend Notre Dame this fall, has resurrected the lost art of Jewish press quippings. "The media's preoccupation with our faith has been a revelation," says Ornstein's father, Steve, displaying a Chicago Sun-Times headline that reads JEWISH QB COMMITS TO NOTRE DAME. The South Bend Tribune said that if Gus's story were filmed as a sequel to Rudy, it would be called Reuben. And what of the reporter from New York's WNBC-TV? He asked if "Win one for the Clipper" would undergo a conversion to "Win one before Yom Kippur."
Oy vay! "We never even thought much about the fact that Notre Dame is a Catholic school," says Gus, a Reform Jew who boasts a 3.8 GPA at Fieldston, a prep school in New York City. "And Coach [Lou] Holtz told me that only 40 percent of the team is Catholic, anyway."
Unlike Ron Powlus, USA Today's 1992 offensive player of the year, Ornstein is not expected to step in immediately as the school's savior at quarterback. In fact, he is more likely to be the second coming of last year's backup, Paul Failla, who also plays shortstop for the Irish. Ornstein is a gifted switch-hitting first baseman who will likely start in the Irish infield.
Anyway, Ornstein is hardly the first non-gentile giant to find refuge on campus. In front of the school's main library is an 18-foot-high bronze statue known as We're No. 1 Moses. "And," says Holtz, "if you look at the lady on top of the Golden Dome, she's 100 percent Jewish."
Linebacker Dwayne Rudd, from Batesville, Miss., was in Memphis on Jan. 24 listening to VolCalls, a weekly radio program broadcast throughout Tennessee, when he heard a recruiting guru mention his name. Rudd called the program and committed to the Vols on the air. The next evening he phoned a call-in show in Nashville to commit to Tennessee again. Last week Rudd signed with Alabama....
To entice All-America running back George Lombard to stay at home in Atlanta and attend Georgia Tech, coach Bill Lewis drafted and signed a document guaranteeing Lombard a chance to start in Tech's first game of '94—against Arizona, which led the nation in rushing defense last year. Lombard chose Tech....
From the home office in Piscataway, N.J.: Rutgers recruiting coordinator Marty Barrett sends prospects a Top 10 List of Reasons to Choose Rutgers. Among them are, No. 3: Coach [Mark] Deal's wife makes great-tasting brownies after every win, and No. 7: The coeds all look like Cindy Crawford or Whitney Houston. Barrett should add, No. 11: Bryan Fortay couldn't crack our lineup, either.