Quarterback Tommy Rees is getting used to adversity, at least when it comes from the school of hard knocks (aka, Notre Dame football). After the Fighting Irish fell to 3-2 and out of the national rankings, Rees became the popular scapegoat in South Bend.
After completing less than 40 percent of his passes (23 of 58) in his last two games (a win over Michigan State and a loss to Oklahoma), Rees has now completed just 53.5 percent of his passes through five games and has five interceptions to go with his 10 touchdowns.
Part of the reason for Rees’ struggles is the Spartans and Sooners have significantly better defenses than earlier opponents Temple, Michigan and Purdue.
According to some Notre Dame fans, however, it isn’t a coincidence that in both games Rees has thrown an interception the Irish have lost. In 2011, he threw two interceptions in three of Notre Dame’s five losses.
Rees’ career at Notre Dame started with plenty of promise. As a freshman in 2010, he played in nine games and started in four contests (Utah, Army, USC and Miami). He led Irish to four straight victories including a Hyundai Sun Bowl victory over Miami (Fla.) as the starting quarterback, becoming the first freshman QB in school history to earn a victory in a bowl game
During his sophomore year in 2011, Rees started 12 games for the Irish, while appearing in all 13 contests. He took over for then-starter Dayne Crist at halftime of the South Florida game, and started the remaining 12 games. He passed for over 200 yards in eight contests and threw multiple TDs in six games.
As a junior in 2012, the Lake Forest, IL, native appeared in 11 games, with two starts, completing 34 of 59 passes for 436 yards and two touchdowns.
Rees was a successful athlete during his prep years at Lake Forest High School. He completed 215 of 308 passes for 2,572 yards and 23 touchdowns as senior QB with the Scouts, and threw for 526 yards and six TDs in one 2009 game. As a junior in 2008, he completed 195 of 344 passes for 2,170 yards and 21 TDs. Rees also played basketball at Lake Forest until he enrolled at Notre Dame in January 2010.