Jon Bon Jovi’s affection for Notre Dame was cemented when fellow New Jersey native Charlie Weis landed the head coaching job in South Bend, but its foundations were built before that, he’s remained a fan even after Weis’ tenure and will likely be an even bigger supporter moving forward.
“He was friends with Charlie Weis, but it’s such a historic team and school that he was just fan here his whole life,” the rocker’s son, Jesse Bongiovi said.
Bongiovi was in South Bend this weekend for the spring game, probably the last one for a while that he won’t be participating in. The former Poly Prep Country Day (Brooklyn) football and lacrosse standout plans to walk on to the Irish’s football squad as a freshman in the fall.
“I came up here when I was in eighth grade and I just fell in love with the place,” Bongiovi said. “The culture here, the people here, the opportunities here, they’re unreal. They’re second to none. Given the opportunity to walk on to the team and become a part of this family was an easy decision for me.”
It wasn’t too tough of a choice to give up the idea of playing lacrosse at the next level.
“I got recruited a little bit, but with the opportunity to come here, I didn’t really entertain any other ideas,” he said.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder would like to start off on defense, but is willing to do whatever he’s asked.
“I’d like to play corner, but wherever they’d like to put me,” he said. “I’m open to any suggestions for Coach.”
Bongiovi comes from the same high school as 2014 Irish defensive end Jay Hayes and actually played a major role in getting Hayes to pledge to the Irish as early as he did. This past weekend gave Bongiovi a chance to meet more future teammates.
“I came to the BYU game earlier in the season,” he said. “That was a lot of fun and I met a bunch of guys, but this was the first time I’ve met a lot of the guys who are going to be freshmen with me. This is kind of the breaking-in period.”
He feels like he’ll fit in real well with the guys on the team.
“They’re great,” he said. “First of all, they’re all much bigger than me, which is exciting. They’re all really nice guys, who seem really focused and it’s exciting.”
Bongiovi knows being a walk-on will be difficult, but he thinks he’s up to the task.
“I expect it to be one of the hardest things I’ll probably ever do, but I like a challenge. I like being able to overcome things and step up to occasions. Hopefully, I’ll get to persevere through something that’s pretty hard.”