Notre Dame’s best offensive lineman this year should be its best offensive lineman next year.
On Wednesday during his weekly press conference offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey said he’ll return for a fifth season in South Bend, following the leads of Nick Martin, Zack Martin and Chris Watt before him. Multiple mock drafts project McGlinchey as a late first-round pick.
"I have 19 games left here, and that's what I fully intend to take on," McGlinchey said. "I have a lot left to learn. I'm not ready to go anywhere. I have the best in the business coaching me each and every day, and it's to my benefit to just stay here and learn from him, and there's nothing that I can do to want to change that."
McGlinchey said he planned to stay for five seasons in South Bend from the moment he arrived, working under offensive line coach Harry Hiestand.
While Ronnie Stanley didn’t stay for five seasons before him, the starting left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens did face his own draft decision after his junior year. At that time Stanley was projected as a late first-round pick, similar to McGlinchey now.
If McGlinchey follows through with his declaration it should mean Notre Dame returns all five starters from this year’s offensive line along with Quenton Nelson, Sam Mustipher, Colin McGovern and Alex Bars. That would represent 92 career starts coming back along the offensive line. This season the Irish returned just 27 starts at the position.
"It's not going to come down to a projection for me," McGlinchey said. "It's going to come down to a mindset and a look in the mirror of whether or not I am ready to go, and based off of what I'm feeling now, I'm pretty confident that I'll be back here for a fifth year. And it's not any major decision or ground-breaking decision. I fully intended to do that when I first got to college."