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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame LB Shayne Simon Embraced Adversity in 2020

October 22, 2020

It's been quite the year for Shayne Simon as the junior linebacker has dealt with a ton of adversity. 

The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder dislocated his patella against Navy in November of 2019. It was a lengthy recovery and it wasn't helped by being at home this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I was going to miss the spring," Simon stated this week. "The timeline was anywhere from six to nine months. I wasn't fully sure what the timeline was. I was trying to get better and better each day.

"I would say I've been able to do a lot more movement stuff over the summer, but because of quarantine, it was tough getting back in the fold. By the time camp hit, I was able to move fully how I wanted to." 

Simon also had a strong support system to help him get through the dark times as his high school teammates, Jayson and Justin Ademilola, are also in South Bend. 

"It's fun," said Simon. "We've had a bond for a while now. We're all still close friends. Seeing them out there every day, playing behind them and watching them grow has been amazing. 

"It's a dream we all thought about and we're hoping to continue to improve on it." 

The New Jersey native kept the faith and bounced back to put himself in a position to compete for the starting job at Buck linebacker this fall. 

Four games into the year, Simon has started two games at Buck and admits there have been some growing pains, but he also knows where he needs to improve.

"There has definitely been a lot of growth and plenty more to do," explained Simon. "It hasn't been perfect. I think first and foremost, I want to improve on my technique and fundamentals. I want to continue to make more plays. That's the goal and the plan. Hopefully, I can continue to do so and get better and better for the defense."

More game reps will only help as Simon didn't get too many reps last year with the emergence of Asmar Bilal as the starter. 

"It definitely helps," Simon stated. "The game reps help you build that confidence and generate the sight and action to get better. We're all working and Coach (Clark) Lea is working to put the best 11 players on the field. We're all trying to contribute and raise our games to that point to help our team win games." 

Notre Dame's defense stepped up to the plate last week by holding an explosive Louisville offense to just 233 total yards and seven points. This weekend Lea's defense will need to do the same as the Fighting Irish head to Pitt. 

"They bring a lot of different things to the table," Simon said of the Panthers offense. "They line up in various formations and it makes us stay on our Ps and Qs. As a linebacker, we have to make sure we communicate, get the defense in the right calls and make sure we're all lined up to play as one unit. As long as we do that, we'll have the chance to be successful on Saturday." 

Pitt's offense likely won't be the only challenge this weekend for Notre Dame as the Irish will be hitting the road during the COVID era for the first time. 

"It definitely will be different," said Simon. "I kind of love road trips. I've never got to play at Heinz Field, so I'm excited to play there. As long as the excitement and we're ready to play, there isn't anything going to be different.

“We're all going to be amped up and ready to put our best effort forward." 

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