Irish land elite ’17 lineman

The Irish opened their Class of 2017 haul at a familiar position with a familiar name in offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons, who visited South Bend last week, when it picked up a Notre Dame offer.

Dillan Gibbons didn’t even need a week to contemplate his Notre Dame offer.

The 6-foot-5, 295-pound offensive lineman from St. Petersburg, Fla., actually debated committing to the Irish last week when he got a short look at the program, the same school that recruited his older brother Reilly, who signed with Stanford last year and transferred to USF after his freshman season.

It took a few conversations with his family and a few more days of deliberation before Gibbons made a call he’d always wanted to make. After touching base with recruiting coordinator Mike Elston on Saturday morning, Gibbons ultimately connected with head coach Brian Kelly to commit.

“I’m an Irish Catholic, so I grew up loving Notre Dame too,” Gibbons said. “It was an easy decision. It’s amazing,”

Gibbons is the first commitment in Notre Dame’s ’17 haul, with the Irish the pick over offers from Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Ohio State, South Carolina, USF and West Virginia.

It’s the third straight season the Irish opened a campaign with an offensive line commitment, following Tommy Kraemer and Jerry Tillery, who was recruited as an offensive lineman at that point. Steve Elmer opened the Class of 2013.

Notre Dame made a strong impression on Gibbons during that brief look, which wasn’t Gibbons’ first time on campus. He attended the Syracuse game in 2008.

“Brian Kelly is absolutely amazing,” Gibbons said “He is a man of high character and I can’t wait to learn from him. I can’t wait to get to know coach (Harry) Hiestand better, too. Coach Kelly was really excited to hear from me and learn that I was committing, and I really enjoyed explaining to him why I wanted to come to Notre Dame."

The Irish project Gibbons at offensive tackle.

The trip to South Bend was part of a Midwest swing that also included stops at Ohio State and Purdue. But the only program to get a return date will be Notre Dame.

“I’m done,” Gibbons said. “Definitely no more visits or recruiting.”

Gibbons plans to return to Notre Dame for the season-opener against Texas.


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