Big Board: Offensive Line

With two tackles in for the Class of 2016, we examine offensive line recruiting.

Even with some depth questions at offensive tackle exiting spring practice, the offensive line is Notre Dame’s most talented and deepest position on the roster.

Current outlook

Heading into fall camp, a look at how the depth chart likely will stack up:

LT: Ronnie Stanley, Alex Bars, Hunter Bivin
LG: Quenton Nelson, Alex Bars, Jimmy Byrne
C: Nick Martin, Sam Mustipher, Tristen Hoge
RG: Steve Elmer, John Montelus, Colin McGovern
RT: Mike McGlinchey, Alex Bars, Mark Harrell

After next season Notre Dame likely loses Stanley to the NFL. Martin will exhaust his eligibility. Baring unknown attrition, Notre Dame should return everybody else.

Though five and four were signed in 2013 and 2014, respectively, offensive line coach Harry Hiestand signed just two offensive linemen last cycle in center Tristen Hoge and guard Trevor Ruhland. Jerry Tillery would have been a third, but he’s found a fit on defense.

With the pledge of Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius lineman Liam Eichenberg on Saturday, the Irish already have two tackle commitments in the Class of 2016.

Notre Dame secured a commitment from 2017 offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons of Saint Petersburg (Fla.) Northside Christian last month. Though it’s early in Gibbons’ development, he likely projects as a tackle at the next level.

Top guard prospects

Moving forward, Notre Dame needs to add at least one offensive lineman that projects inside. It’s possible the Irish could add a fourth offensive line pledge in this class that could swing between guard and tackle..

Notre Dame’s top guard prospects:

  • Riverside (La.) John Curtis Christian Willie Allen will be a tough get considering his SEC offers, but Notre Dame has an established presence at Curtis and most recently signed linebacker Bo Wallace in the Class of 2015. Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss are among Allen’s top contenders. Securing an official visit in the fall is vital to maintaining a position in this race. Allen likely projects as a left tackle for most programs at the next level.
  • Hartland (Wisc.) Arrowhead Ben Bredeson is set to make a decision soon, though there is no set date for a commitment. Notre Dame and Wisconsin are the top two contenders, with the slight edge going to the Badgers right now. Bredeson visited Notre Dame in early April, and he’ll visit Madison for Wisconsin’s spring game this upcoming weekend.
  • Orlando (Fla.) Bishop Moore Parker Boudreaux recently named Notre Dame to his top 10, and the Irish likely sit in the top three of that list. Boudreaux will take his first visit to campus for Irish Invasion in June. Notre Dame will have a much better grasp on where it stands with Boudreaux then. Florida, Clemson, Oklahoma are also very much in the mix.

What comes next? The spring evaluation period is underway and Hiestand could find more offensive linemen worthy of offers. If not, Notre Dame will evaluate where it stands with Boudreaux and Bredeson, then adjust accordingly.

California four-star Nathan Smith was a top prospect on the board until he committed to USC last week.

Here’s a look at the updated Master List along the offensive line.

Offensive Line
Willie Allen
6-7, 300
River Ridge, La.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Lyght Top Offers: Alabama, LSU, FSU, Florida
Outlook: This looks like an Alabama-LSU battle. The Irish will be fighting for an official visit if they’re still in play come fall.
Parker Boudreaux
6-4, 287
Orlando, Fla.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denson Top Offers: labama, Oklahoma, Florida, Clemson, Auburn
Outlook: A spring visit to South Bend never happened, pushed back to June 10. The Irish are in the lead pack within Boudreaux’s Top 10.
Ben Bredeson
6-5, 280
Hartland, Wisc.
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Denbrock Top Offers: Michigan, Wisconsin, Alabama, Stanford, Ohio St.
Outlook: Wisconsin likely leads, followed by ND and Michigan. A decision is approaching but there’s no firm date.
Liam Eichenberg
6-5, 285
Cleveland, Ohio
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Hiestand Top Offers: Committed on April 19
Outlook: ND beat out Ohio State head-to-head. He joins Tommy Kramer the offensive line haul and owns position flexibility.
Michael Jordan
6-6, 265
Plymouth, Mich.
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Gilmore Top Offers: Michigan, MSU, Ohio St., Nebraska
Outlook: Jordan hit for Junior Day. ND made the tackle’s top four with Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio St. Look for a late commitment.
Tommy Kraemer
6-5, 310
Cincinnati, Ohio
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Hiestand Top Offers: Committed on Oct. 4
Outlook: Kraemer was vital as ND’s first commitment and helped the Irish land Liam Eichenberg.
Trent Maynard
6’4”, 317
Indianapolis, Ind.
Offer: No Visit: Yes Recruiter: Elston Top Offers: Cincinnati, Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern
Outlook: Maynard visited ND twice this spring, including the Blue-Gold Game. His progress is worth monitoring this summer and fall.


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