Steve Hare / IrishIllustrated.com

Kurt Hinish ready for senior season

Three-star defensive tackle Kurt Hinish and his Pittsburgh Central Catholic teammates began their march toward another WPIAL title this week. Hinish will play a new role in but his attitude remains the same.

Notre Dame commitments Kurt Hinish and David Adams joined their Pittsburgh Central Catholic teammates earlier this week to kick off the 2016 season.

The Vikings, defending Class 4A champions, enter the season as the top-ranked team in Class 6A and looking for state title No. 5.

Hinish and his teammates are gunning for that title but understand the season is a marathon.

“We just need to take it one step at a time right now,” said Hinish, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive tackle. “We don’t really want to get our heads too big. If we get our heads too big we might give up on ourselves. We obviously want to go back and win the WPIAL championship and possibly state but for right now we're focusing on our first game against McKeesport and our first game against St. John's from Washington D.C.”

Last season, Central Catholic operated out of a 4-4 defensive front. This year, with two Division I prospects in the middle of the defense, the Vikings switched to a five-man front.

“We're running a five-man front this year, so we'll see how that works,” Hinish said. “I'm playing the 0, right over the top of the center. They said my job basically is to kick the center's ass all game long.”

Hinish’s new position doesn’t change his game plan or mindset.

He always has worked in tandem with Adams, a middle linebacker, and the two should continue to traumatize quarterbacks this fall.

“Me and David actually work as a pair,” Hinish said. “Whatever I do, he works off of me. I usually blow up the hole and let him fly through or I go one way and he goes the other. We're working as a pair right now but basically they told me to line up and kick the center’s ass the whole time.”

Hinish has added a few pounds to his frame while also increasing his speed and agility.

“I feel like I had a great off-season,” he said. “We came out three weeks ago and tested ourselves again. I ran a 5-second flat 40, a 4.4 shuttle and I had a 10-foot broad jump. I feel pretty good, better than I did last season, and I'm weighing about 290 pounds. Doing all that at 290 pounds is pretty good. I'm pretty pumped.”

Notre Dame’s coaching staff has remained in close contact with Hinish and Adams. D-line coach Keith Gilmore has shared with Hinish his thoughts on the Irish defensive line and assistant coach Mike Elston has encouraged Hinish to help recruit a couple more Pittsburgh area players to South Bend.

“I've been talking to coach Gilmore. He said their defensive line is going to be pretty strong coming out this year and I talked to coach Elston a little bit,” Hinish said. “We're trying to get a couple guys from the Pittsburgh area, another defensive end. We'll see what's going on.”

Hinish and Adams expect to attend Notre Dame’s game against Michigan State in September. So is Donovan Jeter, a four-star defensive end from the Pittsburgh area that the Irish covet.

“It's a night game and it's early in the season so it will be hot out,” Hinish said. “It will be nice.”

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