Notre Dame Keys In On Offensive Tackles

The Notre Dame coaching staff has done a great job of recruiting interior offensive linemen over the past few years, landing All-Americans like Trevor Robinson, Chris Watt, Braxston Cave and so on. The emphasis regarding the trenches in the class-of-2010, has definitely been put on offensive tackle.

Ten offers have been put out to offensive linemen in this year's class, and all 10 of them could play offensive tackle on the next level.

Notre Dame has already received a verbal commitment from one of its top prospects in Christian Lombard. The four-star standout and future U.S. Army All-American picked up his scholarship offer back on Sept. 1st, the first day high school juniors could be extended a full-ride, and gave his pledge to Charlie Weis in January.

Weis and his staff are hoping to get signatures from three or four other offensive linemen on National Signing Day.

While the 6-foot-5, 290-pound Lombard is in the fold, cross Andrew Norwell off the list. The five-star player and Scout.com's second-ranked offensive tackle has given his verbal commitment to in-state Ohio State.

Notre Dame remains in good standing with most of its remaining prospects.

The Irish have been targeting the nation's top recruit, Seantrel Henderson, since he was a freshman. The staff noticed the 6-foot-8, 301-pound monster while at Cretin Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.) recruiting his older teammate and current sophomore receiver Michael Floyd.

Floyd has had nothing but positive things to say to Henderson about Notre Dame, and the five-star talent will soon see for himself when he visits South Bend for the first time this summer for camp.

While it's tough to tell exactly where Henderson's head is at regarding the recruiting process, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Florida, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa and USC appear to be the early front runners.

"I like Notre Dame," Henderson told Irish Eyes in a previous interview. "I think they're a pretty good school, and they have a nice program down there. I don't know a lot about them other than what I hear from my buddy Mike Floyd. I think when I come down there for an unofficial, I'll probably get most of the information I need to get about the school."

Like Henderson and Lombard, Indiana's top prospect James Hurst also scooped his Irish offer on Sept. 1st. The Plainfield High standout has visited the Irish campus three times, and will soon trim his list of favorites. Notre Dame is likely to make Hurst's top-10.

Also like Henderson and Lombard, Hurst will play in the U.S. Army All-American game. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound five-star recruit holds offers from the likes of Ohio State, Tennessee, North Carolina, Penn State, Miami, Florida and Georgia, and claims no favorites. Hurst's older brother Nelson is a tight end at Mississippi State.

"First of all, I like their academics," Hurst told Irish Eyes in a previous interview. "It's one of the most prestigious schools in the country. You have to be really good, or really smart to get in there.

"The campus is really nice and I like the coaches and the intensity they bring to workouts."

Brandon Linder also picked up his Notre Dame scholarship offer on Sept. 1st. The St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) standout camped in South Bend and returned for the Michigan game this past fall.

The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Linder quickly put the Irish in his top three with Miami and Florida. Those schools still lead the way for Linder's services, but the four-star prospect is looking at all of his other options.

Linder played center as a sophomore at Aquinas, before moving to tackle this past fall and helping lead his team to an undefeated season, state championship, and ESPN Rise National Championship. Current Irish offensive linemen Sam Young and Dan Wenger also played their prep ball for the Raiders, as well as incoming freshmen Ben Turk and Jordan Cowart.

Linder wants to visit Notre Dame, Florida and Miami one more time before deciding. He has no timetable set for a verbal commitment.

"Just the type of people that are there," Linder said to Irish Eyes about Notre Dame and what he liked in a previous interview. "Just the atmosphere and stuff. The education is great, and that's a big thing for me."

The next offensive tackle to catch the Irish staff's eye was Matt James. Weis offered the 6-foot-7, 285-pound St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio) High prospect around Thanksgiving.

A four-star prospect, James visited Notre Dame for the Pittsburgh game, and plans to check out the campus again this spring.

James lists an early top three of Notre Dame, Ohio State and Cincinnati, but is also looking at all of his options. He is looking to be verbally committed before the start of his senior season.

"I just like the prestige of the school, both academically and athletically," James said of Notre Dame in a previous interview with Irish Eyes. "I've only been up there once so far, but everything I hear about it is great."

James hears a lot of good things from Kyle Rudolph. The Irish tight end is from the same neighborhood as James, and the two families are friends.

Perhaps the most versatile player of Notre Dame's offensive line recruits is four-star prospect James Stone. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Nashville, Tenn., standout has been told by college coaches that he can play all three positions on the line of scrimmage.

Stone picked up his Irish offer in January, and Notre Dame is one of the schools recruiting him the hardest, right there with Alabama, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

"I feel like it's a great place, and a really good school," Stone said of Notre Dame in a previous interview with Irish Eyes. "Some good coaches."

Stone has a 3.8 GPA, and would like to major in agriculture or education in college. Both he and his Maplewood High coach say a visit to Notre Dame in the future is a must, and the only thing maybe holding the Irish program back is distance.

Brent Benedict will be checking out Notre Dame for the first time in June. He will be at a family reunion in Pennsylvania, and then the four-star standout from The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla., will head over to South Bend. Benedict also has family that lives less than an hour from Notre Dame.

The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Benedict has racked up offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and UCLA. The Bulldogs are one of his favorites, but Benedict is completely open to other schools. He hopes to have a top three before the start of his senior season, and then go from there. Notre Dame is definitely in the mix for one of those spots.

"My Dad has been to Notre Dame before, and he told me what a beautiful place it is," Benedict said in a previous interview with Irish Eyes. "It has quite a tradition with their football program, and it's one of the best schools in the country you can go to. All those key elements make it a special place."

Another Florida prospect, Chaz Green of Tampa Catholic, picked up his Notre Dame offer in February. The Irish appear to be behind the Florida schools for Green's services.

The latest Notre Dame offer along the offensive line went to Erik Kohler. From the same high school that produced Jimmy Clausen, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Kohler protects the backside of Nick Montana, who also holds an Irish offer.

Kohler has wanted to visit Notre Dame for months, and expects to do so soon. He holds offers from the likes of California, UCLA, Arizona and Stanford, and would like to be verbally committed by the start of his senior season.

"I'm definitely interested," Kohler said of Notre Dame in a previous interview.


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