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Irish Insights

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Notre Dame remembers

Notre Dame captain and safety Harrison Smith along with center Braxston Cave showed their support for a cause in memory of former Irish manager Xavier Murphy.

Murphy, 22, died because of leukemia Oct. 11, a month after he was diagnosed with the disease.

Smith and Cave wore read shirts with the phrase "Raise an X for X" at Wednesday's players news conference.

"Obviously, remembering X," Cave said of the shirts. "All his buddies in his dorm in Zahm this week are selling bandanas for the American Cancer Society. Also, his high school setup a scholarship foundation, and they are selling these shirts. We are showing everybody, letting everybody know and try to help out the cause."

The players said Murphy was a special person.

"X was with us every day," Cave said. "Always a great person to be around, willing to do anything for you. Always had a smile on his face, cracking jokes, he will definitely be terribly missed, just a great, typical, Notre Dame guy."

Smith said one of Murphy's best qualities was being able to lift your spirits.

"X is one of those guys that maybe you are having a bad day at practice or you're just not all the way there that day. You are kind of running around on the field and you see X on the sideline and he would make a joke or whatever. He always had a big smile on his face. He's just one of those guys, he would always bring you up," Smith said.

"Losing a guy like him is tough for everyone that he has touched because he is such a great person. He is somebody we are not going to forget."

Notre Dame will hold a moment of silence before Saturday's home game against Navy in honor of Murphy. Saturday also would have been Murphy's 23rd birthday.

The team is also wearing a green shamrock sticker featuring a black "X" on the players' helmets for the rest of the season. The sticker was first worn last weekend against USC.

Murphy isn't the only lost member of the Notre Dame family on the team's mind this week.

Declan Sullivan, a videographer, died on Oct. 27, 2010.

The university set up a memorial outside the football building, the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, in honor of Sullivan.

"It is definitely something that is always going to be with us," Cave said. "It was a tragic day. Once again, we lost a great member of the Notre Dame family. I think it's great we have the memorial out front of the Gug now, so that every day when we leave there is a great way to remember him.

"That is also something we will never forget, and he will always be in our heart."

On Tuesday, coach Brian Kelly also talked about the anniversary of Sullivan's death.

"We lost a young man. You never forget about that," Kelly said. "Obviously, this week and the memorial out front of The Gug is a daily remembrance of that.

"Blame a not a word that we feel is appropriate. We never thought in those terms. We thought in terms of loss and making sure something like this never happens again."

The university established a scholarship in memory of Sullivan on Wednesday.

The Declan Drumm Sullivan Memorial Scholarship will assist students who are not only in financial need, but who also have demonstrated traits similar to Sullivan, whether through a particular interest in filmmaking, service to under-privileged youth, creative writing, or other passions.

The university is also inviting people to contribute to to the Declan Drumm Sullivan Memorial Fund that has been established by his family. Contributions to the family's memorial fund will be used to support those causes about which Declan would be most enthusiastic, in particular, Horizons for Youth, a Chicago organization committed to helping children graduate high school by providing need-based scholarships, a summer program, one-on-one mentoring, enrichment outings, tutoring, and college preparation.

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