Loyola graduate John Shannon looking to add another championship to his collection: Notre Dame redshirt sophomore John Shannon (Class of 2016) and the Fighting Irish (12-0) earned an invitation to the College Football Playoff and play Clemson (13-0) on Dec. 29 in the semifinals at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic in Arlington, Texas.

Before arriving on the South Bend, Indiana, campus, Shannon (pictured above) was a linebacker and long snapper on Loyola’s 2015 Class 8A state title team. Now, he’s hoping to help Notre Dame capture their first national championship since 1988.

“This is something you dream about,” he said.

Shannon is a a third generation Fighting Irish football player. His grandfather, Dan Shannon, was an All-American linebacker at Notre Dame. His father, Gerard Shannon, was a walk-on for the Fighting Irish.

Dan was at Notre Dame’s 22-17 win over Vanderbilt on Sept. 15 in South Bend.

“I got a little emotional knowing he was there watching me play,” John said. “It was really cool.”

After redshirting as a freshman, John has started 25 consecutive games at long snapper. Last season, he was perfect on 138 snapping opportunities (65 punts, 55 extra points, 18 field goals). Notre Dame (10-3) ended the season with a 21-17 win over LSU in the Citrus Bowl.

John said his parents and two sisters plan to be AT&T Stadium later this month.

“My mom and dad are my biggest cheerleaders,” he said. “They’ve all been there every step of the way.”

In the other semifinal, SEC champion Alabama (13-0) plays Big 12 champion Oklahoma (12-1) on Dec. 29 at the Capital One Orange Bowl. The national title game is Jan. 7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

“I haven’t really had a chance to reflect on this season or on my career here, but it’s been awesome,” John said.

Rambler alums going bowling: Four former Loyola football players will participate in bowl games following the 2018 season.

Joining Shannon in the postseason are Northwestern junior Eric Eshoo (Class of 2016), Northern Illinois junior Ben LeRoy (Class of 2016) and Ohio State graduate assistant coach Peter Badovinac (Class of 2008).

LeRoy and the MAC champion Huskies (8-5) play Alabama-Birmingham (10-3) on Dec. 18 at the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl. Eshoo and the Wildcats (8-5) play Utah (9-4) at the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl on Dec. 31. Badovinac and the Big Ten champion Buckeyes (12-1) play  Washington (10-3) on Jan. 1 at the Rose Bowl.

This will be Badovinac’s sixth bowl game. While a quarterback at Michigan State from 2010-12, he was a participant in three bowl games, going 2-1. As an assistant coach at Missouri from 2013-14, the Tigers were 2-0 in the postseason.

Eshoo is a perfect 2-0 in bowl games at Northwestern. In his second bowl game at NIU, LeRoy is looking for his first win.

Jack Hough takes part in prestigious game: Loyola alumnus Jack Hough (Class of 2016) is a sophomore defensive lineman for Army, which beat Navy 17-10 on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia to retain the Commander in Chief’s Trophy.

The Black Knights (10-2) play Houston in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 22 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Although Hough graduated high school in 2016, he spent one season at Choate Rosemary Hall, a prep school in Wallingford, Connecticut, before enrolling at the West Point military academy.

Photo credit: University of Notre Dame