Matt Cashore / Irish Illustrated

Irish A-to-Z: Josh Lugg

Although he’ll likely preserve a year of eligibility in 2017, attrition along Notre Dame’s offensive line could accelerate Lugg’s journey to playing time.

Josh Lugg helped lead North Allegheny High School in Pittsburgh to a 9-3 mark during his senior season in 2016, paving the way for the Tigers to rush for more than 3,300 yards and 50 touchdowns.

Lugg's senior performance was rewarded with the 4-6A Mr. Pennsylvania Football Lineman of the Year Award.

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio selected Lugg to participate. He excelled during the week of practice and the game, solidifying his standing as one of the top players in Notre Dame's Class of 2017 and the country.

Position: Offensive tackle

National Ranking: Scout ranked Lugg the No. 12 offensive tackle in the country and No. 107 overall prospect, followed by 247Sports.com with a No. 15 offensive tackle rating and No. 121 overall. ESPN.com also tagged Lugg as the No. 15 offensive tackle and 156th overall. Rivals placed Lugg at No. 236 and No. 22 on the offensive tackle chart.

Irish Illustrated Rank: Near unanimous choice by staff as No. 3 player in the Class of 2017 behind tight end Brock Wright and nose tackle Darnell Ewell.

Likelihood of Freshman Red-shirt: Medium-to-high

2017 PATH TO PLAYING TIME

Of the 13 scholarship offensive linemen on Notre Dame's 2017 roster, six have yet to take a snap, including Lugg. It likely would require an injury or two for Lugg to burn a year of eligibility in '17. But only six offensive linemen – Mike McGlinchey, Quenton Nelson, Sam Mustipher, Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg – are definitely ahead of him in the pecking order. He could be No. 7 on the list right now, although Hunter Bivin and Trevor Ruhland have been in the program.

LONG-TERM PROJECTION

Lugg almost undoubtedly will hold down a No. 2 spot on the depth chart as a true freshman. Early-entry freshman Robert Hainsey worked at left tackle behind McGlinchey this spring. But with the departure of depth pieces Tristen Hoge and Parker Boudreaux, Hainsey is a prime candidate to move inside with Lugg beginning the grooming process to succeed McGlinchey at left tackle in 2018.

PLAYER COMPARISON

Is it too easy to compare Lugg to the player he likely will back up this fall? Actually, it's the comparison that makes the most sense. The most striking aspect of Mike McGlinchey is his sheer size, which is what most (see coaches' comments below) cite first when speaking of Lugg.

Rating-wise, McGlinchey was Scout's No. 90 overall prospect, less than 20 spots ahead of Lugg. McGlinchey didn't become a full-time starter until his third year in the program. Lugg's timetable likely is a bit more accelerated with McGlinchey in his final season with the Irish.

QUOTABLE

 "Explosive, great competitor, very athletic, and tough. An imposing player. Very long. That strikes fear in a lot of defensive players. He can be an animal in the run game and be able to take on any one-on-one pass rusher. When you can keep a defender from getting up into your body, you win."  
-- Offensive coordinator Chip Long

"Coachable, wants to be great, big man. The first thing you notice about him is size. He (had) a level of maturity for a younger senior in high school. He's an incredible student. Very focused on getting his work done and being a success on and off the field. He's learned that when it gets hard, he's got to keep pushing."  -- Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand


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