USAAAB: Hoge eager to compete with the best

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Notre Dame offensive lineman commit Tristen Hoge talks about his experience of facing some of the top defensive linemen in the country in U.S. Army All-American Bowl practice.

Named as one of the top five offensive performers for the West on Tuesday by Scout, four-star offensive lineman Tristen Hoge is representing his future school Notre Dame and his hometown of Pocatello in a positive manner.

"Everything is going great," Hoge said. "It's a huge step up from Pocatello, Idaho, but I'm taking it on head first, and it's making me better every day."

One of the players Hoge has been pitted against is 6-foot-3 1/2, 341-pound defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie, who is the No. 1 overall ranked player in Scout's 2015 rankings.

"He (McKenzie) is in my opinion one of the best defensive linemen in the country," Hoge said. "Without a doubt. So, going against him makes me a better player. Keeping my technique and form and using that to my advantage is what I have to focus on. I may be smaller weight-wise, but when I use my technique and form, that will help me overcome that disadvantage. And, my feet quickness help me counter these powerful guys."

Day one saw Hoge struggle in one-on-one action when pitted against McKenzie. Day two brought upon a different tale of the tape. Hoge and McKenzie split reps, each winning one a piece.

The loss for Hoge was not a dominant win for McKenzie, whereas the W for the 6-foot-5, 292-pound center was clear cut. Hoge demonstrated he can move in all directions with relative ease for his size. He uses his hands very well, keeps his arms extended and has quick feet. Also of note Hoge garnered a win going against USC four-star defensive tackle commit Jacob Daniel.

Hoge is playing first-team center for the West alongside fellow Irish commit, Jerry Tillery.

"It's been fun, especially because he's (Tillery) been playing (left) guard, so we've been doing a lot of double teams," Hoge said. "It's been good to work next to him."

Hoge's parents also made the trip from Idaho to experience the week's worth of action in Texas.

"It's good for me and for them," Hoge said. "They love this. They like watching their son do all this stuff. The like experiencing what they have for the parents as well. It's awesome they get to take this All-American thing in firsthand."

Hoge is an early enrollee for Notre Dame, and he'll be on campus in less than two weeks.

"I really can't wait," Hoge said. "After this, it's all about Notre Dame and college life. I'm ready to get adjusted to everything - football and with the team and coaches and just student life."

Hoge is a four-star prospect and is ranked as the No. 2 offensive guard in the class of 2015.

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