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Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger — yes, the real Notre Dame football walk-on whose 27 seconds of fame were immortalized in the sports classic film "Rudy" — has joined a new team: the LDS Church.

Until this past weekend, Ruettiger was a Catholic — reared in the faith, attended parochial schools through 12th grade and ultimately landed in Indiana at Catholicism's most iconic U.S. university.

"The son of an oil refinery worker and the third of 14 children, Rudy rose from valleys of discouragement and despair to the pinnacles of success," says Ruettiger's website for his work as a motivational speaker. "It took years of fierce determination to overcome obstacles and criticisms, yet Rudy achieved his first dream — to attend Notre Dame and play football for the Fighting Irish."

In the only play in the only game of his college career, the persistent young defensive end, helped sack the opposing quarterback — as fans cheered "RU-DY, RU-DY."

After the play, Rudy's teammates hoisted him onto their shoulders and carried him off the field.

His life leading up to that small accomplishment became the focus of the 1993 underdog-makes-good tale, "Rudy."

Ruettiger's conversion to Mormonism, friends wrote on Facebook, began in 2005 when he attended an LDS "fireside" — informal gathering — where Brigham Young University's then-head football coach Bronco Mendenhall described his faith.

It culminated Saturday with Ruettiger being baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Highland, Utah.

"Congratulations, Brother Rudy," writes Andrew Winn on Notre Dame's fan site. "May you stay onsides with the leaders of your new church."

Peggy Fletcher Stack