In the Film Room...Robert Hainsey

Some list Hainsey as a guard, which he certainly can play. But Hainsey is light on his feet as a pass-blocker and will drive-block defensive linemen into next Tuesday.


In many respects, a prototypical left offensive tackle, but also has the versatility to play guard and, of course, right tackle. A sturdy, wide base while playing the game predominately with balance. A quality athlete with an effective punch as a pass blocker. In fact, his punch is lethal and often leaves prep defensive linemen sprawling. Plays with a nasty streak.

Calm/quiet with his footwork as a pass-blocker. Doesn’t overreact to every movement or twitch by a defensive lineman, which allows him to maintain his fundamentals and to stay in balance. Doesn’t get caught in a backward lean as a pass blocker, which means he remains in a good football position. Active feet allow him to play quick and light on his feet.

Shows quality strength, particularly in the 270-pound range, and will have time to add considerable size to his frame. Athletic in space. Shows the foot-speed to get to the edge. Drives feet as a run blocker with the quickness to match. A voracious blocker, i.e., he’s frequently seen making multiple blocks on a single play.

Room for improvement

His aggressiveness occasionally will prompt his upper half to get out in front of his lower half in the run game, which causes the loss of some balance. A more consistent bend of the knees to get underneath those blocks – as opposed to just pushing with his hands/upper body -- would be beneficial. Has to be careful about playing beyond the whistle. Will sometimes allow his tremendous physicality to straddle the line.

Top 3

Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State; Offers: ACC -- Boston College, Duke, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech; Big Ten: Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State; Big 12: West Virginia; SEC: Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee; Other: Temple

Early line

Now that it’s later in the process, Hainsey – who chose a Midwestern/Mid-Atlantic/East Coast route – has narrowed his choices down to three: Notre Dame, Michigan State and Michigan. Penn State was a notable exclusion from his top list.

His mother visited Notre Dame with her son for the Irish Invasion. Hainsey, who is set to make an announcement of his decision while at The Opening this week in Oregon, has Irish Illustrated believing that he’s leaning toward and will choose Notre Dame.

ND’s 2017 offensive line recruiting

It’s getting interesting along the offensive line with tackle Josh Lugg (Wexford, Pa.) and guard Dillan Gibbons (Clearwater, Fla.) already on board. If the Irish can land Hainsey, they’ve got their tackle bookends.

However, there are a couple of other significant prospects out there that recently visited the campus, including five-stars Foster Sarell (Graham, Wash.) and Wyatt Davis (Bellflower, Calif.), as well as four-stars Jedrick Wills (Lexington, Ky.) and Andrew Thomas (Atlanta, Ga.).

These are dynamic offensive line prospects. Hainsey plus any one or two of the above-mentioned standouts would make the 2017 offensive line recruiting a home run.

ND’s 2016 offensive tackle depth chart

None of Notre Dame’s projected starting offensive linemen are out of eligibility after the 2016 season. In fact, most have multiple years, including left tackle Mike McGlinchey (two) and right tackle Alex Bars (three). Tackles of the future include freshmen Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg. Notre Dame is rapidly turning its tackle shortage around.


There are some dynamic offensive tackles on Notre Dame’s board, a list that is littered with four- and five-star candidates. Robert Hainsey fits right in with those elite names.

Hainsey – by way of Gateway High School in Pittsburgh to IMG Academy prior to his junior season -- has developed a very solid, well-rounded game. There are no glaring weaknesses.

Scout’s Brian Dohn mentioned Hainsey’s propensity to lunge in his pass blocks, which means there’s film out there that suggests a shortcoming. We see it in his run-blocking occasionally, and a bit more in camp settings more than game situations. But there also is plenty of footage of Hainsey sitting in his pass block and taking on pass rushers with intelligence, good fundamentals and patience.

When you’re competing for talent with Michigan State and Michigan, it can be an uphill battle against programs that a) have been and remain at the top and b) are headed to the top. The Irish seem to be poised to win this battle against the Big Ten heavyweights (minus Ohio State).

When it comes to Notre Dame, it’s often about an atmosphere and a fit for that atmosphere, and as The Opening kicks off, the signs indicate that Hainsey has determined that Notre Dame is the best fit.

This is a pretty complete offensive tackle, ready-made or near ready-made for the college game where he’ll need some extra bulk. Hainsey will toy with the majority of the competition he faces this season, even against IMG foes, which may be one of the reasons he’s ready to begin turning the page in his career and looking ahead to the next level.

This is a four-star prospect with some five-star qualities to his game. A commitment to the Irish would continue the path offensive linemen continue to wear out on their way to Notre Dame, where offensive line coach Harry Hiestand keeps reeling them in.

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