Elder senior offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer will wear No. 78 at Notre Dame this upcoming football season in part as a tribute to the late Matt James.
Kraemer, a U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection and Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year this past season, selected No. 78 out of the available numbers.
James, a U.S. Army All-American offensive lineman who wore No. 78 at St. Xavier, was also a Notre Dame signee. James died April 2, 2010 after he fell from a fifth-floor hotel balcony in Panama City, Florida.
Although Kraemer was in the seventh grade at the time, he understands the impact James had on the field.
“Out of the numbers available, I picked 78,” Kraemer told WCPO.com. “The thought of the James family definitely ran through my head and I thought it would be a special way to honor that great family.”
Craig James, Elder’s assistant athletic director and defensive coordinator, is a cousin of Matt’s father, Jerry James.
“Matthew is still such a huge part of our lives,” Craig James said. “Anyone wearing 78 is cool.”
Kraemer tweeted that he wants to pick up right where former Notre Dame offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley left off with the number with the Fighting Irish. Stanley was selected No. 6 by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the NFL Draft in April.
“Do it justice,” Stanley tweeted at Kraemer in response Thursday night.
I'll be wearing number 78 next season! I'll pick up right where you left off!! @ronnie_stanley 🍀😎 #78