Notre Dame’s top offensive lineman will be back.
After weeks of quiet deliberation, guard Quenton Nelson has decided to return to the Irish program after receiving a second-round grade from the NFL’s committee that advises underclassmen. Tomorrow marks the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft.
Nelson announced the news on Instagram.
“Excited for this team to grow every day this offseason by putting in nothing but hard work and grinding together,” Nelson posted. “When we reach our full potential, look out. I'm right behind you Coach.”
Nelson’s return means the Irish will bring back at least four starters from last year’s line, joining left tackle Mike McGlinchey, center Sam Mustipher and tackle/guard Alex Bars. It’s unclear if Colin McGovern and/or Hunter Bivin will be back for fifth years as both started last season at right guard before ultimately giving way to fifth-year senior Mark Harrell.
Regardless of whether or not McGovern and/or Bivin depart, it’s likely that offensive line coach Harry Hiestand will at least weigh the merits of Bars taking over at right guard with freshmen Liam Eichenberg and Tommy Kraemer getting a look on the right side.
But that’s a question for spring practice, still two months away.
The answer for now is Nelson, who was voted a team captain in December, will be back when Notre Dame unofficially kicks off winter conditioning with a team meeting on Monday. The second semester begins a day later.