Dayne Crist took one last stroll around Notre Dame's campus Monday afternoon before leaving the place he's called home for the last four years.
Coming in as the 2nd rated player in the country in 2008, Crist suffered two season-ending injuries, some bad play and some horrid luck during a career on the field that just never worked out.
But Crist, who will now transfer to either Kansas or Wisconsin to complete his career, says if he had to do it all over again—he would still choose Notre Dame.
"I don't regret it at all," Crist told NewsCenter 16. "I have met so many incredible people here. Of all the experiences I had here, a majority of them were great experiences. I'm forever grateful for what Notre Dame has done for me.
"I will always be a Notre Dame guy. It will always hold special place in my life."
Where Dayne ends up from here, not even he knows for sure.
"I honestly do not know at this point," Dayne said about choosing between Kansas and Wisconsin. "I visited Wisconsin this weekend. It was a really good visit, but at this point, I have to weigh the pros and cons and go from there."
Crist says his decison this time around isn't like the one he made four years ago. He points to the fact that this is short term and that he already has his degree.
"I have to look at it very different," Crist explained. "I have one year. I can't afford to be wrong with the decision. There are some things that are less important in a one year decision versus four year decision."
Crist sees major positives in what Wisconsin did a year ago with Russell Wilson, who transferred from NC State in the same fashion that Dayne will. Wilson has lead Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl.
"They've been winning a lot of games and are a very good team," Crist said, "Great coaches and an opportunity to play. They have a lot going for them."
The other option is Kansas—a place at which he's very comfortable, with his former coach Charlie Weis now running the show. Weis is the coach that recruited Crist to Notre Dame. Crist knows the Weis system well, and the two have kept in touch a ton even after the coach left Notre Dame.
"He's been supportive of me the last four years whether he was here or not," Crist explained. "Always staying involved in my life. Always helped me along and gave me advice even before he was at Kansas.
"I have a high comfort level with the offense he runs—know it very well. It would be a pretty good advantage walking in the door."
Crist will spend the next few days visiting his girlfriend in Michigan, then fly home to Los Angeles for Christmas. He'll head to New Orleans over the New Year where he'll be recognized for the All-State Good Works program, for his service work off the field.
While Crist’s impact on the field may not have lived up to what peopled hoped for at Notre Dame, his impact off the gridiron has been off-the-charts.
He has spent countless hours helping out at Logan Center with pediatric kids battling cancer, senior citizens, and the homeless among others.
"This community has been unbelievable to me," Crist says. "It has rallied behind me since I stepped foot on campus as a freshman. I really met some incredible people.
"Service has always been important to me for as long as I lived. Giving back goes hand and in hand with playing football."
That's the Dayne Crist that will be remembered most around Michiana—the guy that, despite his struggles on the field, received arguably the biggest ovation of any player on Senior Day at Notre Dame Stadium.
He says those are the memories he will remember, not the injuries or missed opportunities.
"It's one of those situations where you can kind of don't dwell on it," Dayne said. "Sure I wanted more success and no injuries, but they all happened."
Crist says he's something that believes everything happens for a reason. He doesn't know what that reason is but that's what he believes. That's why he doesn't try and look back at the "what ifs" which of course are plenty.
Instead, he's looking forward.
"My opportunity here was kind of gone," Dayne said about his decision to leave Notre Dame. "I love football and I knew I wasn't done with football. Having the opportunity to play one year, I want to take advantage of it."
And he wants to prove himself.
"I'm extremely competitive," Dayne admits. "I'm very grateful to everyone who invested time and energy to me. Out of respect to those people, I want to show everyone I can still do this."
Crisrt says his decision on Kansas or Wisconsin could come as early as this week. He says it will likely not go beyond the 1st week of January, though he doesn't have to decide until mid-January.
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