Matt Cashore /

ND A-to-Z: Colin McGovern

Not every four-star offensive lineman Notre Dame has recruited can win a starting job. That’s a reality facing Colin McGovern entering his senior year.

Winning a starting offensive tackle job at Notre Dame these days means showing NFL talent. Zack Martin and Ronnie Stanley went in the first round. Mike McGlinchey figures to go next. Alex Bars might come after that.

Those were the odds facing Colin McGovern if he’d been healthy throughout his Notre Dame career. Instead, the senior from New Lennox, Ill., has been slowed by knee injuries dating back to high school to go with a concussion suffered during spring practice. It’s made keeping up with future pros almost impossible for the 6-foot-4 ½, 315-pound athlete who held offers from Alabama, Michigan and Ohio State out of high school.

What’s next for McGovern?

Beyond taking a turn in Irish Illustrated’s A-to-Z series, it might be more of the same as he works in the background of Notre Dame’s offensive line group.

Best-Case Scenario

If the coaching staff is set on McGovern playing right tackle it’s hard to figure out how he gets on the field in a meaningful way with Alex Bars there. The best-case might be just holding down the No. 2 job and hoping Mike McGlinchey’s senior season is good enough to be his final fall in South Bend. If that happens it wouldn’t be a surprise if Bars moves from right tackle to left tackle in ‘17 and McGovern takes over on the right side as a fifth-year senior. That’s a narrow best-case scenario, but the numbers game on the offensive line has made competition brutal for time.

Worst-Case Scenario

Notre Dame’s next wave of offensive line talent jumps to the front of the line as Liam Eichenberg and/or Tommy Kraemer displace McGovern from the second-team tackle spot. It’s hard to imagine a senior losing out to a freshman, at least a senior with the physical build of McGovern. If McGovern falls behind both freshmen this season it might put a fifth-year in jeopardy a year from now. Hard to imagine that happening considering how willing Brian Kelly has been to bring back reserve linemen (offense and defense).

Career Comparison

Is he a guard or a tackle? Is he a potential starter or just a versatile reserve? That was the question about Andrew Nuss during his five-year career too, with the Virginia product ultimately trending more toward the later. After taking a red-shirt, Nuss played in 14 games total as a sophomore and junior without starting. After taking a red-shirt, McGovern has played in 10 games total as a sophomore and junior without starting. Nuss finished with 40 games played without a single start. It won’t be a surprise if McGovern sees the field every week the next two years as well without cracking the first team. Nuss was a valuable piece of the puzzle during his five-year career. McGovern can be too.

Development Vs. Recruiting Ranking

Scout, ESPN and 247 all tagged McGovern as a four-star prospect, with only Rivals dropping him down to a three-star. Through three years it seems Rivals had it right by ranking McGovern as the nation’s No. 37 overall offensive tackle. Scout and ESPN both saw a top 10 talent at his position, which hasn’t been the case considering McGovern has been beaten out by younger talent and most of his class.

McGovern At His Best

Notre Dame has yet to see it and McGovern needed to show it during spring practice when there were starting jobs to be won at right tackle and right guard. A concussion derailed McGovern from making a spring charge.

Quote To Note

“You have to have enough tackles, so when the game is on the line, they can protect the edge and give you chance to win the game. If you can’t do that, that’s going to be a problem. We worked Hunter really hard there and we have Alex there now. We have Colin able to play there and obviously Mike. We feel like we have got some good reps at tackle. We are going to try to find that best combination.” – Harry Hiestand on the tackle depth chart during spring ball Top Stories