WHAT NOTRE DAME HAS
Robert Hainsey is a swing tackle-guard prospect that Harry Hiestand wants to develop on the interior. He’s ranked as the No. 111 prospect overall in the Class of 2017 and No. 16 offensive tackle.
Athletic isn’t always the first word used to describe offensive linemen, especially ones that can play inside, but Hainsey is as agile as a 6-foot-4 ½, 275-pound prospect can be.
What’s to like about Hainsey most is his ability to pass block on the edge and hold off bigger guys inside. That’s a rare mixture of versatility.
He’s a typical Hiestand recruit in that he plays with toughness and loves competition. Hainsey showed that at The Opening Finals, getting into a few shoving matches after reps with defensive linemen.
Hainsey joins guard Dillan Gibbons and tackle Josh Lugg to make up Notre Dame’s offensive line class to date.
WHY IT MATTERS
Hainsey chose Notre Dame over offers from Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Maryland Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Tennessee.
Entering the spring, Michigan and Penn State were higher on Hainsey’s list than Notre Dame. A trip to Notre Dame in April put Notre Dame on the same pedestal as the Wolverines and Nittany Lions, but it wasn’t until his Irish Invasion experience that Notre Dame overtook its Big Ten counterparts. As usual, Hiestand gets what he wants in recruiting.
Hainsey transferred from Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway to Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy following his sophomore year. Western Pennsylvania is again a recruiting base for Notre Dame considering Hainsey, Lugg, linebacker David Adams, defensive tackle Kurt Hinish and junior quarterback Phil Jurkovec all come from the area.
Notre Dame doesn’t have a single Western Pennsylvania player on the current roster and just two scholarship players from the state total: Mike McGlinchey and Josh Adams. Both are from the eastern side of the state.
Hainsey is Notre Dame’s third commitment from IMG Academy from the past two cycles. Notre Dame signed running back Tony Jones Jr. and safety Spencer Perry in 2016.
WHAT NOTRE DAME WANTS
Notre Dame wants two more offensive linemen in 2017.
Notre Dame’s top targets remaining are tackles Jedrick Wills, Foster Sarell and Trey Smith. Guard Wyatt Davis remains in the mix, but he committed to Ohio State last month.
Of those four, Notre Dame is in best position with Sarell and Wills. Notre Dame will have to fend off Stanford and Washington for Sarell, who visited for Irish Invasion. Wills has been on campus multiple times, and Kentucky is Notre Dame’s biggest competition there. Smith came out with a top six at The Opening with Notre Dame included.
The interior of Notre Dame’s offensive line is solid for the coming seasons, with the starting three of Quenton Nelson, Sam Mustipher and Hunter Bivin likely set through 2017. Bivin is in the same class at Colin McGovern, and both have two years of eligibility remaining. Mustipher and Nelson will be juniors this fall with three years of eligibility remaining. The Irish red-shirted Trevor Ruhland and Tristen Hoge last season, meaning they have four years remaining. It would be a major surprise if freshman Parker Boudreaux didn’t red-shirt this fall. In other words, Hainsey will join a talented depth chart when he arrives in South Bend.