Virgen: Bush's Notre Dame dream comes true

Sam Bush is proof that dreams can come true.

The Mater Dei High senior is also proof that those dreams require hard work, and sometimes they are attached with adversity and challenges, yet with strong support from family, coaches, teachers, teammates and friends.

Bush's story is not to suggest transferring is the best move for everyone. But it certainly worked for the Newport Beach resident who left Newport Harbor High to play for the Monarchs.

So just how did Bush's story end?

His dream recently came true: he has committed to play football at Notre Dame, where he'll be a preferred walk-on. He said he has religiously watched Notre Dame football since as early as age 8. He won't really need to buy much Notre Dame gear, because he already has plenty.

"For me, it's hard to find words to describe what I feel," said Bush, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound left tackle. "It's definitely not over. It's just beginning. This is why we made the transfer to Mater Dei. To have this opportunity to live out my childhood dream. I don't know many people who can say they can live out their dream. It's a surreal experience. It's really hard to put into words the emotions I have going through me."

Bush left Newport Harbor after his sophomore season. It was a move that was scrutinized by some, as he showed great potential, and there was also the matter that his father, Blaine, was a Newport Harbor alumnus and also the Sailors' football booster president.

Sam made the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Underclassmen first team for sophomores. He also earned Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team and second-team All-Sunset League honors. And off he went to pursue his dream at Mater Dei.

He had always wanted to play for Notre Dame, or even just have the opportunity.

Bush helped Mater Dei reach the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 championship game twice in the two seasons he played for the Monarchs. He also earned All-Trinity League honorable mention as a junior and made the second team this past season when he was an All-State nominee.

He had set his sights on either playing for Princeton or Cal, but Notre Dame came into the picture recently and offered preferred walk-on status, he said.

He sought advice from family. Yet he knew this had been his dream to have the opportunity to play football for the Fighting Irish.

For Bush, the decision to transfer to Mater Dei wasn't easy. But it proved to be the right one for him.

"No doubt in my mind, this was right the choice," he said. "I have no regrets on making that transfer. I really loved playing for Newport Harbor. But I wanted to put myself in the best position to succeed. It really gave me the opportunity to play on a higher level. Quite frankly this is what I always wanted the most in life, to play at Notre Dame. To do it is surreal. We're all kind of on Cloud Nine over here."

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