Big Board: Offensive Line

Brian Kelly has already revealed that the offensive line will be a major priority during the next recruiting cycle. The Big Board breaks down why it’s important and which prospects you need to know.

CURRENT OUTLOOK

Notre Dame could open training camp with three full lines of scholarship talent.

Starting right guard Steve Elmer would be the only projected starter entering his final year of eligibility, but he wouldn’t be the only senior. Elmer enrolled in a five-man class that included Mike McGlinchey, John Montelus, Colin McGovern and Hunter Bivin. Those four took red-shirt freshman seasons and only McGlinchey has developed into a starter since, holding down the right tackle position last fall.

Bivin will enter spring practice in competition for a starting tackle spot while McGovern could get a look at guard or tackle depending on how many players are available. It also appears career reserve Mark Harrell could be back for a fifth year after he tweeted that he was preparing for spring practice.  

Tackle/guard Alex Bars, guards Quenton Nelson and Jimmy Byrne, and center Sam Mustipher all have three years of eligibility remaining entering this season. They make up the four-man rising junior class. It won’t be a surprise if Bars, Nelson and Mustipher all start this season

Guard Trevor Ruhland and center Tristen Hoge both took a red shirts last season as freshmen. It’s overwhelmingly likely that the incoming freshman class of Parker Boudreaux, Liam Eichenberg and Tommy Kraemer all do the same this fall.

Among the 15 scholarship offensive linemen that Notre Dame could have on the roster this season, only Elmer played as a freshman.

WHAT’S NEXT

Notre Dame inked three offensive linemen last cycle and just two the year before after Jerry Tillery switched to defensive tackle, where he started as a true freshman.

Expect Notre Dame to sign at least five offensive linemen this class.

Notre Dame has already built a strong foundation at the position for 2017.

In the fold are a pair of four-star prospects ranked in the top 15 at their position, guard Dillan Gibbons of Clearwater (Fla.) Central Catholic and tackle Josh Lugg of Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny. Both were on board before last season even kicked off.

Here’s a look at the Watch List at offensive line.

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Hiestand
Top Offers: Alabama, Stanford, UCLA, USC
Outlook: Alabama offered first and figures to be a contender. He doesn’t plan to narrow his list before the start of his senior season, so this recruitment is still early.  
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Hiestand
Top Offers: Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas
Outlook: Notre Dame offered in late-January. Deculus is teammates with tight end commitment Brock Wright. LSU is the early favorite.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: Yes
Recruiter: Hiestand
Top Offers: Michigan State, Mississippi State, Ohio State, South Carolina
Outlook: Gibbons committed to Notre Dame three days after being offered. He was most recently on campus for Junior Day.
Arrow: Commitment

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Hiestand
Top Offers: Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma, USC
Outlook: Jackson is still in the beginning stages of his recruitment. He owns family ties to USC.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: Yes
Recruiter: Hiestand
Top Offers: Michigan State, Penn State, Tennessee, UCLA
Outlook: Lugg visited Notre Dame twice last summer before committing. He was most recently on campus for Junior Day.
Arrow: Commitment

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Hiestand
Top offers: Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, Tennessee
Outlook: Notre Dame could receive a visit from Smith as early as this spring. It will be a huge battle to land him, but the Irish are squarely in contention.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Hiestand
Top Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Ole Miss
Outlook: Alabama and Auburn are the early favorites. Troxell suffered a torn ACL last fall.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: Yes
Recruiter: Hiestand
Top offers: Alabama, Florida State, Kentucky, Ohio State
Outlook: Notre Dame got him on campus last summer for Irish Invasion. Kentucky is the hometown favorite.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Hiestand
Top offers: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan
Outlook: Michigan is the early favorite. Wilson attends the same high school that produced ND DL Jay Hayes.
Arrow: Horizontal


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