Notre Dame hard-wired Mike McGlinchey for success.
When he enrolled he watched Zack Martin from the bench. When he broke into the lineup he started opposite Ronnie Stanley. When he moved into a leadership role this spring he did it with three years banked under Harry Hiestand. It all makes McGlinchey’s move to left tackle from right one of Notre Dame’s least interesting roster moves because of course it’s going to work.
“When you’re in a program for four years and have guys do it the same way over and over again, you kind of get brainwashed into doing it the same way,” McGlinchey said. “That’s something we take a lot of pride in, having a standard that’s set and it’s up to the guys that are in the room the longest to uphold that standard.
“I’ve certainly had some great, great examples over my four years here so far as to what that looks like. I’d like to think it’s my job now to set the bar again.”
It is McGlinchey’s job, not only as Notre Dame’s next left tackle but likely as the program’s next captain too. The 6-foot-7 ½, 310-pound athlete is exactly what Brian Kelly wants in the face of his program, a no-nonsense personality who’s unafraid to get in the faces of his teammates.
McGlinchey is next in Irish Illustrated’s A-to-Z series.
Meet Notre Dame’s next first-team All-American. McGlinchey’s junior season was lost in Ronnie Stanley’s hype, but the Pennsylvania product was plenty good as Notre Dame’s second-best offensive tackle. Under Harry Hiestand he should take the next step and become All-American good and potential early NFL Draft good. The best-case scenario is McGlinchey actually follows in the footsteps of Zack Martin by playing out his eligibility at Notre Dame, meaning the Irish have him for the next two seasons. Unbelievably, that would mean Brian Kelly could go eight years with the Irish and have a first-round pick at left tackle in every game, all 104 of them.
That McGlinchey’s career mirrors Stanley a little too closely and he plays himself into a high first-round pick after this season. OK, so that’s not exactly your classic “worst-case scenario” but that’s how good McGlinchey might be and it’s not like Notre Dame’s offensive tackle recruiting has been superior the past couple cycles. Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg are both big-time talents, but the ideal is never a true sophomore starting at offensive tackle. And yeah, Zack Martin and Ronnie Stanley both did that and held up just fine. Still, Notre Dame would rather have McGlinchey stick around for that fifth year. So that’s your not-very-bad-worst-case scenario for the new Irish left tackle.
The last time Notre Dame lost a first-round pick at left tackle it replaced Zack Martin with Stanley, who started at right tackle the season prior. Now it’s McGlinchey’s turn to move from right to left to replace Stanley. A career comparison to a consensus All-American and Top 10 pick may flatter McGlinchey, but it’s actually not hard to imagine his career following that arc. Stanley started 13 games at right tackle before flipping. McGlinchey started 14 before doing the same. If the Irish get two full seasons out of McGlinchey at left tackle it’s hard to imagine him not going in the first half of the first round. He’s got a chance to be that good. Stanley was a similar story when he flipped.
Development Vs. Recruiting Ranking
Credit to Scout for coming closest on McGlinchey during the evaluation process, even if it might have underrated him relative to his ultimate NFL Draft slot. Scout ranked McGlinchey as the nation’s No. 90 overall prospect and No. 8 among offensive tackles. 247 was next closest, putting McGlinchey at No. 131 overall and No. 10 at the position. Neither ESPN nor Rivals had McGlinchey in their top 250, although both had him as a four-star prospect. ESPN rated McGlinchey as No. 19 among tackles and Rivals put him No. 22 at the position.
McGlinchey At His Best
There are a plenty of choices, including his Music City Bowl performance two years ago when he moved into the starting lineup for good against LSU. McGlinchey was consistently great all last season from Texas to Stanford, although the entire offensive line got worked over by Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. It’s hard to pick out one performance for a player who showed up every Saturday.
Quote To Note
“I don’t really hide my emotions too much. That’s something I’ve had to actually work on, reeling it in sometimes. I’m definitely not a guy who is quiet out there.” – McGlinchey during spring practice