Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Jafar Armstrong Healthy And Ready To Make An Impact

December 23, 2018

Notre Dame running back Jafar Armstrong introduced himself to the nation in week one as he scored two touchdowns in the win over Michigan. 

The sophomore battled his way through multiple injuries in 2018 to rush for 377 yards and seven touchdowns after redshirting in 2017.

“We prepare like no other team,” stated Armstrong. “All the hard work and practice we’ve done, when we go on the field, it’s just running the same plays. I don’t think mentally it was a change for me, but it was getting a feel for college football.”

As the Cotton Bowl approaches, the talk has been focused on Clemson’s defense as well as the Tigers speed. 

Armstrong didn’t deny Clemson was a fast program, but he also believes Notre Dame is a fast team as well.

“We’re pretty fast and we’re strong,” said Armstrong. “We’re 12-0. We’re a team who goes out and not worry about what people say.

“They are 13-0 for a reason. They are definitely one of the top defenses in the country. It’s going to be a great battle and I’m excited to play them.” 

But on the offensive side of the ball, who is the fastest? 

“I would like to think I am, but we have a lot of fast guys out there,” laughed Armstrong. “Avery (Davis), Dexter (Williams) and Mike (Young) give me a run for my money. I’m never going to say someone is faster than me, but we have a lot of guys who can move.” 

The 6-foot-1, 218-pounder will have a chance to showcase his speed on December 29th, but it has been a long road as Armstrong missed three games due to a bursa sac infection on his knee. 

“It was confusing with all the doctor terms,” explained Armstrong. “They said the big words and I was like “Yo, what’s that mean?’ It took a month to take care of and we have great doctors. Dr. (Brian) Ratigan, who came in and did my surgery. I’m glad we got to the knee when it was infected before something else happened.

“It was scary at first. My mom and dad were here and comforted me. We learned it wasn’t a season-ending injury, so I rehabbed hard and I’m, blessed to be where I am now.” 

Armstrong returned to the field on October 27th and tore the Navy defense apart as he rushed for 52 yards a touchdown, but he also caught five balls for 64 yards. 

However, Armstrong suffered another setback as he injured his ankle and wasn’t quite the same over the last few weeks of the season.

“It was an ankle,” Armstrong said. “It was a minor sprain. I just couldn’t explode as I wanted. It was a nagging injury that took time and patience to heal. Now I’m ready.”

Despite the injuries, Armstrong kept his head up and gave maximum effort in practice, which has been highlighted multiple times by head coach Brian Kelly.

“I’m grateful to be at this point,” said Armstrong. “Not a lot of people from my city get to play at this level or on this stage. I’m taking every opportunity I get and I never take it for granted. If you’re not going hard, someone else could be in your position.

“Everyone is going to make mistakes, but your effort should never be a problem. Your effort should never be questioned.”

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