NEW YORK — The last time Tommy Rees played at Yankee Stadium, he got to use Derek Jeter’s locker and led Notre Dame to a victory against Army.
That was 2010 and Rees was a freshman.
Since then he’s been beaten out, benched, booed and suspended. He’s also been called on repeatedly to bail out the Fighting Irish when they have been in a jam, and come through more often than not.
Rees returns to Yankee Stadium on Saturday to play his final game for No. 25 Notre Dame (8-4) against Rutgers (6-6) in the Pinstripe Bowl.
“I’ve had a unique four years, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything,” Rees said. “The relationships I’ve built, the memories I have and some of the things I have been able to do, I’ll definitely look back at that. It’s been a very humbling experience.”
Rees wasn’t supposed to be the starter for Notre Dame this season, but when Everett Golson was suspended from school for academic issues the senior quarterback was again there to patch the leak.
“It takes an incredible amount of confidence in one’s own ability when you’re under such scrutiny when it comes to your play,” coach Brian Kelly said Friday. “He’s going to obviously be remembered as somebody that has persevered and overcome some highs and some lows.”
Rees passed for 2,938 yards with 27 touchdowns (highs) this season. He has also thrown 13 interceptions and completed 53.7 percent of his passes (lows).
“I’m not in the business of rating myself,” he said. “As long as I have the confidence of my teammates that’s really at the end of the day what I care most about.”
Rutgers quarterback Chas Dodd has had a Rees-like career for the Scarlet Knights. He shared the No. 1 quarterback job in 2011, helping Rutgers win two games at Yankee Stadium — against Army in the regular season and the Pinstripe Bowl against Iowa State.