In the film room...Tommy Kraemer
• Assets: A mountain of a young man who plays with an outstanding wide base, combined with a low pad level while showing balance every step of the way. Greatest strength is the way he plows defensive linemen with his massive frame and powerful lower-body drive.
Really uses his bulk to his advantage, leaning on the opposition and creating a Velcro-like impact on the opponent. Really squares, gathers his weight, and lowers the boom as a run blocker. Has a relentless nature to his run-blocking approach. Extremely physical. Clearly plays through the echo of the whistle.
Works from a staggered two-point stance, which allows him to seal off the outside edge to pass rushers. Shows excellent technique as a pass blocker, starting with that exceptional wide base. Remains balanced through the pass-blocking process. Uses a nice right-foot drop step off the snap to prepare for outside pass rushers. A knee-bender, which is never a given with 6-foot-5, 300-pound plus offensive linemen.
• Room for improvement: Fairly light on his feet for such a big guy, but can be very deliberate picking them up and putting them down as a pass blocker. Could be vulnerable to an inside pass rush with his staggered two-point stance and right-foot drop step.
• Schools of interest: Notre Dame. SEC: Kentucky; Big Ten: Michigan, Ohio State, Northwestern; ACC: Duke.
• Why Notre Dame: Kraemer verbally committed to Notre Dame on Oct. 4. He has since been pursued by Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, who visited Kraemer shortly after Ohio State claimed the national title with a convincing victory over Oregon.
Meyer told Kraemer that he was the “best offensive lineman in the country and that if I wanted to win a national championship, I need to come to Ohio State.”
But Kraemer remains firm with the Fighting Irish.
“I’m strong on Notre Dame and have a great relationship with the coaches there,” said Kraemer to Scout’s Dave Berk on Jan. 17. “It’s cool having the head coach of the national championship team that won it just a few days ago come in. But I’m still with Notre Dame.
“I know (Ohio State has) gotten a ton of great recruits so far and I’m sure they’ll get many more, but I feel Notre Dame is a better fit for me.”
• ND’s 2015 offensive line recruiting: In addition to Kraemer, the Irish are taking an early look at offensive tackles Liam Eichenberg (Cleveland, Ohio) and Michael Jordan (Canton, Mich.) as well as guards Parker Boudreaux (Orlando, Fla.) and Ben Bredeson (Hartland, Wis.).
• ND’s 2016 offensive line depth chart: When Kraemer arrives at Notre Dame in 2016 – provided he follows through with his commitment and signs with the Irish – Nick Martin and Matt Hegarty will be out of eligibility, and Ronnie Stanley likely will be headed to the NFL. Steve Elmer will be down to his final year of eligibility while Mike McGlinchey, Hunter Bivin, Colin McGovern and John Montelus will be down to two apiece. Then there’s Alex Bars, Quentin Nelson, Jimmy Byrne and Sam Mustipher as well as Trevor Ruhland and Tristen Hoge, the newest Irish offensive linemen.
• Summary: If you’re looking for a prototype right offensive tackle – provided he keeps his feet active -- meet Tommy Kraemer.
I guess that doesn’t exactly make him a prototype right tackle if there’s a question as to whether his feet are active enough to take on pass rushers since we saw a similar-type player – Notre Dame’s Steve Elmer – struggle at tackle and eventually settle in a guard, where he should be an absolute mauler over the next two seasons with the Irish.
Kraemer has a better chance of playing right tackle effectively on the next level than Elmer because he’s much better balanced and has an effective plan to control off-the-edge rushers. Kraemer isn’t tipping over trying to execute blocks the way Elmer was playing tackle. His footwork – though deliberate – is much more sound than Elmer’s. His right-foot drop step will prevent most edge rushers from beating him to the punch.
This kid’s a beast, and he does it rather effortlessly. He’ll run a defensive lineman into next Wednesday with his relentless approach to blocking. His wide base keeps him balanced and allows him to react well to the moves of a defensive lineman.
I love the way he imposes his size and physicality on an opponent by leaning and driving him, which he can do all day because he does such a great job of keeping his weight underneath him. He’s not falling over as he’s completing a block…unless he’s finishing him off by burying him into the ground.
It’s no wonder Urban Meyer made such a strong pitch to Kraemer. Kraemer is a mammoth, fundamentally-sound offensive lineman who has a chance to be a great one on the next level. If he can iron out some of those footwork issues, he’s got a chance to be playing on Sundays, too. This kid has a chance to be a great one.