The Bigger Picture: How Kurt Hinish Fits

Irish Illustrated examines how Notre Dame’s first defensive tackle pledge in the Class of 2017 projects in South Bend and what his commitment means for the Irish.


The Irish added their first commitment along the defensive line when three-star Kurt Hinish went public on Monday, as Notre Dame beat out Penn State for the product of Central Catholic in Pittsburgh.

Hinish also claimed offers from Baylor, Boston College, Louisville, Ole Miss, Rutgers, Syracuse, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The 6-foot-3, 285-pound defensive tackle projects as a nose tackle candidate for Notre Dame. A powerful force inside, Hinish is strongest at the point of attack when forced to engage opposing offensive linemen.

Hinish is the top-ranked player at his position in Pennsylvania and is ranked 33rd at his position overall. He is Notre Dame’s seventh commitment in 2017 and moves the Irish up to No. 6 in the Team Rankings, trailing only Ohio State, Oklahoma, Clemson, Alabama, Miami and Florida State.


Prior to Sunday evening, Brian Kelly had never landed a pledge from Pittsburgh as head coach at Notre Dame. Less than 30 hours later, he had landed two.

Fellow Central Catholic standout David Adams, who Hinish considers his best friend, committed to Notre Dame on Sunday. Adams is Notre Dame’s first get at linebacker, a need position.

The Irish can continue their momentum with Pittsburgh prospects when Pittsburgh native and Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy transplant Robert Hainsey, a four-star offensive lineman, visits Notre Dame for the first time on Tuesday.

Hinish is Notre Dame’s third commitment in as many days and third prospect to commit on the heels of Notre Dame’s Junior Day. Texas quarterback Avery Davis joins Hinish and Adams as commitments in that category. 

Notre Dame offered Hinish in late-February knowing a summer decision was on deck. Once Notre Dame got him on campus, it was game over, despite a recent trip to Penn State and a former desire to visit other schools, including Baylor, Florida State, Ohio State and Ole Miss, before making a decision.

The Irish sent five coaches to watch Central Catholic the Friday night prior to Notre Dame’s game against Pittsburgh last season.


Expect Notre Dame to sign at least two defensive tackles in 2017 with three being a possibility.

Ohio State four-star commitment Haskell Garrett was on campus this past weekend for Junior Day and was high on the Irish prior to his commitment to the Buckeyes earlier this month. Garrett’s visit continued into Monday after he watched the Irish spring practice. Another Ohio State defensive tackle pledge that doubles as an Irish target is Jerron Cage, younger brother of Notre Dame defensive tackle Daniel Cage.

Local talent Phil Paea, Northeast prospect Dalyn Wade-Perry, and West Coast four-star Marlon Tuipulotu comprise other marquee Irish targets at defensive tackle.


Notre Dame has just one interior defensive lineman entering his final year of eligibility in Jarron Jones, now healthy after missing the entire regular season with a torn MCL suffered in mid-August.

Daniel Cage and John Montelus will both have one year remaining after this season. Jonathan Bonner, Jay Hayes, Pete Mokwuah and Jerry Tillery will have two years left. Last year’s freshman class of Elijah Taylor, Micah Dew-Treadway and Brandon Tiassum all red-shirted, meaning they’ll have three years of remaining eligibility after this season.

Notre Dame didn’t sign a true interior defensive lineman last cycle, although Khalid Kareem could grow into a three technique over the long haul. He’ll start off at “big end” behind Isaac Rochell, however.

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