Story Poster
Photo by Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Notre Dame Football

Saturday Will Be A Night Of Emotions For USC RB Markese Stepp

October 10, 2019

Adrenaline and emotions will be sky high for coaches, fans and players on Saturday night in Notre Dame Stadium as the No. 9 Irish host USC in primetime.

However, no one will have the emotions of USC running back Markese Stepp. The 6-foot, 235-pounder committed to Notre Dame in June of 2016 before eventually giving his signature to the Trojans in December of 2017.

“It’s going to be very emotional being back there and being able to play in front of my family,” Stepp told Irish Sports Daily. “The chance to play against Notre Dame will be pretty special. It adds a lot to the game to come back and play against them after going up there thousands of times and being committed there.”

Stepp estimates around 40 family members and friends will be scattered throughout Notre Dame Stadium and his father, Marcus, believes Saturday night will be an unforgettable one for the family.

“It’s special when you go to Notre Dame, especially with the tradition and rivalry with USC,” explained Mr. Stepp. “He was a long-time commit and formed great relationships with the kids in the class. We had some relationships with the parents too.

“It’s one of those things where you’re coming back home and playing your cousins or something. It just makes it a little more special. A lot of family members will be there who haven’t had the opportunity to fly out and see him play.

“What more can you ask for facing a great Notre Dame football team.”

Irish Sports Daily
Markese Stepp at the Notre Dame-USC game in 2017

One of the last visits Stepp took to Notre Dame, he saw the Irish dominate the Trojans 49-14 in 2017.

It was a night of excitement as the stands were littered with Notre Dame’s commits and top prospects as it will be this weekend.

A lot of those memories hit the Indianapolis native this week during practice as USC played a familiar tune.

“The other day we were playing the Notre Dame fight song at practice and it brought back so many memories of being in that stadium with those guys,” said Stepp. “When you look back at it, I would have never thought I’d be at USC.

“It’s just crazy. I remember going to those games when Jaylon Smith was there playing against USC and Sam Darnold. You go from rooting for them to playing against them. It’s crazy.”

Stepp was a Notre Dame fan favorite for his aggressive recruiting for the 2018 class and despite ending up in LA, Notre Dame’s players keep in touch with the former face of the class.

“I actually was on the phone with Phil (Jurkovec), Jayson and Justin (Ademilola) last week,” laughed Stepp. “I talked to Jafar (Armstrong) last week too.

“We talk about everything from school, life and some friendly trash talk about the game.”

There might be bad blood between the two programs on the field, but Stepp and his family don’t hold any grudges towards Notre Dame.

“You have to move on and go forward,” Mr. Stepp explained. “Whatever happened, happened. You move on from it.”

Stepp took his father’s advice to heart as he’s only focused on the present.

“I’ve been past that,” Stepp stated. “I don’t think I’ve ever had bad blood with Notre Dame. It’s always been love. Those are my guys and my friends. The coaching staff are still my guys, so there isn’t bad blood.

“When we step on the field, we’re not friends, but other than that, they are my friends.”

The Notre Dame-USC hasn’t lacked drama in recent years, but a good game from Stepp could add a unique chapter to the historic rivalry.

“I’ll probably be very emotional,” said Stepp. “I’ll be locked in, but hyped up with emotion. I’ll probably be antsy and ready to get out there and play.

“It would mean a lot to have a big game coming from Indiana and playing in front of a bunch of Hoosiers at a place like Notre Dame.”  

subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.