Mark Harrell was a three-star prospect out of Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic High School and Scout’s No. 52 rated offensive tackle in 2012. He was the second-leading vote-getter among offensive linemen on the 2011 Associated Press North Carolina all-state team.
During Harrell’s junior season (2010), he helped lead Charlotte Catholic to a 14-1 record. He would go on to participate in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl and was chosen to play for the North Carolina-South Carolina Shrine Bowl.
Harrell spent his early years with the Irish playing center before transitioning to right tackle, where he finished the spring of ’16 No. 2 on the depth chart behind junior Alex Bars.
• BEST-CASE SCENARIO
Harrell’s best-case scenario likely would require a physical setback or two along the Irish offensive line in order for him to see his first extended action in an Irish uniform. Notre Dame is light on offensive tackles, although two (Tommy Kramer and Liam Eichenberg) arrive this fall. Harrell is the fourth offensive tackle on the roster (prior to the arrival of the freshmen) behind Mike McGlinchey, Alex Bars and Colin McGovern.
• WORST-CASE SCENARIO
Harrell completes his five-year run with the Irish as a backup with incoming freshmen Kramer and/or Eichenberg ascending above him. Harrell still should see time on Notre Dame’s blocking unit up front on placekicks.
• CAREER COMPARISON
It’s somewhat rare that a non-major impact offensive lineman through four years returns for a fifth season. But with Notre Dame’s numbers crunch at tackle, Harrell’s return gives the Irish depth at tackle. Brian Mattes was another lightly-used guard/tackle at Notre Dame who preserved a year of eligibility during his rookie season in 2002. Virtually all of his snaps came on special teams. He did not start a game or play significant minutes, but was brought back for a fifth season in 2006 and was a backup to Bob Morton at right guard.
• DEVELOPMENT VS. RECRUITING RANKING
Harrell was a three-star prospect and the No. 52-rated offensive tackle in the country coming out of high school. The fact he’s yet to play a meaningful minute in his first four years for the Irish is a testament to the talent Notre Dame has accrued along the offensive line.
• HARRELL AT HIS BEST
Harrell has participated in seven games since his arrival to Notre Dame in 2012. He did not see game action his first two seasons. Five of his seven appearances came in 2015 against Texas, Georgia Tech, UMass, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest.
• QUOTES OF NOTE
“We’re going to move Mark Harrell out to tackle. He’s got the experience that he can go out there and do some things. (Colin) McGovern can play some tackle for us as well. We feel pretty good out there.”
-- Brian Kelly prior to the start of ’16 spring drills