Dan Wenger (6-4, 285-pounds) will quickly become a favorite among Notre Dame fans. He's in the mold of the lineman Notre Dame had when the offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage. He's tough. He's gritty and he'll battle you tooth and nail. Unfortunately for Dan his experience at the U.S. Army All-American game ended on the sidelines with an ice pack on his ankle.
"It's good, all healed up," Dan responded enthusiastically when asked about the ankle injury. "It was actually a really bad sprain. I got cleared. I've been running and it's doing real good. It kept me out for six weeks before I could start running. They put me in a walking cast.
"I'm doing good. I'm doing real good right now. I'm doing the Notre Dame workouts. I go to school, do my workout, come home, eat dinner, do my homework and go to sleep. That's what my days have been like lately.
"Right now I'm on week six of week eight of the workout," Dan said of his progress in the workouts provided to next year's freshmen. "The 110 [yard sprints] aren't that bad. My conditioning isn't real bad, but what kills is that they have the 110s right after a leg workout day, so when I come out of that, my legs are dead and I can't move."
One of the determining factors that drew Wenger to Notre Dame was his relationship with Notre Dame offensive line coach John Latina.
"I talked to coach Latina last week. He was just checking in and seeing how things were going. He's said they're thin right now going into this spring. He said, I'll be right in the mix and not over with the scout team. The way he told me, I'm an injury away from playing, because if [John] Sullivan goes down he's not sure if he wants to move Bobby [Morton] back to center or keep him at guard."
Although Dan would like to have his freshman year to develop, he is also anxious to get onto the field. If coach Latina decides to play Wenger during his first season, Dan has experience snapping for field goals so he can help the team in other areas.
Wenger has also discussed his future jersey number with coach Latina, and even that is still undecided.
"I talked to coach Latina about that last week," Wenger said. "He said we'd talk about that the next time we talked. No. 50 has been my number all throughout high school, but obviously Dan Santucci has that now. Coach Latina said I can have it after that. My second choice would probably be No. 55."
Dan indicated that he would travel to South Bend to attend the spring game.