John's Notre Dame Teamates

John Panelli played with some of the very best college football player's ever to play the game. Here's what John's teammates and contemporaries had to say about him:
The Best of the Best

Gus Cifelli
Tackle ND ‘46-‘49, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles:

“He did a fantastic job. The “39” fake to halfback, lateral to fullback, around the right around the end …I was in awe, once he got going the ends couldn't stop him."

Roland Kelly
Classmate and Newscaster for WSBT-TV:

“When Panelli hit the line, they were hit. He was “tough” in the best sense of the word. He wouldn't back down from anything. He could gallop with the best of them. If anyone got in his way they were knocked down. He played under the best and he was the best. He gave us many thrills on the football field. He was also the kind of guy you could talk to. He didn't have a big head.

Bob Livingstone
Halfback ND ‘43, ‘46, ‘47, Baltimore Colts

“He was 100% when he went into the game. Off the field he was a regular guy—one hell of a good friend. He was a very determined individual.”

John Lujack
Heisman Trophy winning Quarterback ND ‘43, ‘46, ‘47, Chicago Bears

“You could always count on him to do his absolute best. He was a hard nose player.”

Terry Brennan
Halfback ND ‘45-'48, Former ND Head Coach

“He did it all. He blocked well. He ran well and he played defense. He could really run.”

Moose Fisher
All American, Outland trophy winning Tackle ND '45-'48, Chicago Cardinals

“Of all the things that John did well, I loved to see him play linebacker. He had a great sense of timing… when and where he stick his helmet in the face or chest of an opponent. He was a damn good hitter.”

Joe Signiago
Tackle ND 45'- '48, All-Pro New York Yankees

“He was one of the better blocking backs I have ever seen. When he went out to get an end, that end was going to fall. He was highly respected by his teammates and well liked.”

Bill Walsh
Center ND '45 – 48, Line coach at ND, Atlanta Falcons, Houston, & the Philadelphia Eagles:

“He was one hell of a fullback. John could make that lateral to fullback around the end really work. He was always there. Even when he dislocated his elbow during a game, he was back in a short time later. A good friend too.”

Jim Martin
End ND '46 –'49, All-American, College Football Hall of Famer, Detroit Lions player and coach

“He was a lot of fun to watch. You could always depend on him to block (smacking his fist in the palm of his other hand) …he'd smash ‘em. And when he ran, he was all arms & legs – high stepping, twisting, turning and straight-arming down the field.”