He started every game his freshman year, the only freshman in the history of Notre Dame to start at cornerback. As if that were not enough, he was selected to the national Freshman All-American team. To cap an incredible freshman year, he was talked into auditioning for a part in the school play. He not only got a part, he was given the male lead.
You know, there are a number of people in our society who look at drama as being a less-than-manly pursuit. Those people should have met Jim Paton, (pronounced not like General Patton but like Coach Sean Payton). In Jim's senior year at WSU, he was named the outstanding player on defense. I played with him on the old Tacoma Tyees, both being defensive tackles, and he liked to crack heads before each game. I swear that those head butts are what led to my hydrocephalus. Paton had a head that both looked and felt like a runaway cement truck. We grabbed each other's shoulder pads, arched our necks back and then shot our heads forward with all the force my size 18 1/2 inch and his 19-20 inch neck could muster.
For me everything went dark. I had gotten knocked out again but this time it was in preparation for a football game We hadn't run a play yet. The hit didn't appear to bother him a bit. However, he did die thirty years later from Parkinson's, a neurological disorder. Every game after that, he would look for me for this pregame hitting drill. For my brain's sake, I became more difficult to find. There are not a lot of places on a sideline in which to disappear, so I usually found another guy who would only want to crack shoulder pads.
Jim Paton was a nice guy, a personable guy in direct contrast to the ferocity he brought to the game each time he stepped onto a field, An interesting thing to note was that he had been a drama major at WSU and had appeared in a number of school plays. Look him up on the internet. He had an interesting life.
KeiVarae is building a legacy that will be much greater than what he accomplishes on the football field, and according to his defensive coordinator, he will be accomplishing a great deal. The coordinator believes that before KeiVarae is finished at Notre Dame, he will be the top corner in the nation. High praise, indeed, for a kid from South Everett, Washington and Mariner High School. And maybe, just maybe, he will be appearing some day on a movie or TV screen near you. If he wants something, he knows how to work for it. Jim Olsen