Carroll football coach Doug Dinan said the Chargers don't really have a policy of retiring jersey numbers, but during the team's fundraiser at Autumn Ridge Golf Course on Saturday evening Dinan promised that no new players would be assigned a No. 2 jersey for the rest of his tenure as Chargers coach.
Once the current wearer of that number graduates, that jersey number will solely belong to Drue Tranquill, the 2014 Carroll graduate, unlikely Notre Dame star, fourth-round Los Angeles Chargers draftee and the keynote speaker at Saturday's event.
“I quickly, quickly – being the expert coach that I am – realized that this dude was pretty good,” said Dinan, who took over the program in 2010, Tranquill's freshman season. “By the end of the year, he was playing varsity football on Friday night. That culture (of the program) changed in 2010.”
Dinan credited Tranquill and his younger brother Justin, currently entering his fifth season at Western Michigan, as a big part of that culture change, which resulted in three straight sectional titles from 2012 through 2014.
Throughout his speech, Tranquill described a number of reasons why he would seem to be an unlikely professional athlete: he considers Justin the better natural athlete, he had absolutely no scholarship offers from any level of college program at the end of his junior season in high school, was told he would likely be a developmental player at Notre Dame and twice tore his ACL in college.
“Pursuing your dreams requires two things: it requires belief in yourself and it requires the intentional action to get there,” Tranquill said, crediting his family and the community with providing the needed support.
Tranquill's career will take another step this week, when he reports to the team's training facility in Costa Mesa, California.
“I'll fly in on Tuesday, we've got conditioning tests on Thursday, and then Friday we're underway,” Tranquill said. “We already got our feet wet there in minicamp, so I'm feeling just excited to get back and see the guys. You go away for five or six weeks, and you're excited to see how the guys come back, if everyone's been putting in the work we need to. It's full head of steam from here.”
Tranquill said his dream is to become a starter, but his bumpy road to the NFL has proven that patience is often rewarded.
“Nobody plays in the NFL without desiring to be a slugger, without desiring to make the team, that's the goal. Whatever my role is going in, I have to accept that and I have to work. When I went to Notre Dame, I wasn't a starter right away. I was a guy who contributed on special teams and third down, and I certainly worked my way into earning a starting spot. It was kind of the same thing here at Carroll. ... It's all about constant improvement.”