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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Grunhard Sees Big Things For 2020 Notre Dame OL Commit Joe Alt

July 15, 2020

After seven years playing offensive line together for the Kansas City Chiefs, Tim Grunhard and John Alt are “pretty tight.”

“John and I go back a long way,” says Grunhard.

So, Grunhard was excited to see his former teammate’s son, Joe Alt‍, make the decision to attend Notre Dame, Grunhard’s alma mater and the school where his son Colin currently plays offensive line.

Grunhard credits current Irish offensive line coach Jeff Quinn and his predecessor, Harry Hiestand, with the type of players Notre Dame has produced up front in recent years.

“You look at the crop of guys who have come out in the last 10 years and the place is O-Line U,” says Grunhard, who himself played offensive line for the Irish from 1986-1989, starting at guard for the school’s last national championship squad.

“It’s good for Notre Dame right now. They’ve been able to develop guys. Coach (Brian) Kelly’s offense really plans to have athletic guys and so does the NFL. You have to be long and athletic to play in the NFL nowadays. Notre Dame recruits guys to be that way.

“They also take a chance trying to find different pathways. Kids who haven’t developed yet, but have that size and stature they can build on and Joe certainly fits that criteria.”

He certainly does.

Alt plays tight end for Totino-Grace High School in Minnesota, but Grunhard is confident Notre Dame will help ease the 6-foot-7, 260-pounder’s transition to offensive tackle.

“I think what you’re seeing now at offensive line, especially at tackle, is people taking tight ends and defensive end types of bodies and developing them into offensive tackles,” says Grunhard. “You can’t teach athleticism.

“You can put that size and strength on the way these strength and condition programs are nowadays. That will come with the programs they have. But you can’t teach that speed and flexibility. I think they do a pretty good job finding pretty good athletes and developing them into good players. Taking that raw talent and athleticism and putting it to use on offensive line.”

It’s a trend that is working its way through the sport at all levels.

“First of all, length is so important in the NFL with speed rushers,” says Grunhard. “Linebackers are running 4.4, 4.5 40s. They’re quick and fast off the line of scrimmage. It’s good to have that length and athleticism.”

Grunhard notes John Alt began his college career at Iowa as a tight end and a pooch punter.

“He worked his way into playing tackle at Iowa,” says Grunhard. “I think Joe has a lot of similarities.

“John was not a big rah-rah guy. He was really tough and more internal and cerebral. When he got his hands on you, it was over. That was his MO. He was one of the best left tackles in The League for a long, long time. I think his son should be able to find some of that. They’re very, very similar in size. They’re very similar in stature and in very similar in personality. I expect great things out of Joe. I think Notre Dame has done a really nice job being able to see a path.”

The pedigree is certainly there as Alt’s father isn’t the only family member to have a high-level athletic career. His older brother, Mark, was a second-round pick in the NHL Draft, who has spent multiple years in the Philadelphia Flyers and Colorado Avalanche organizations.

“I would not be surprised to see Joe being a big-time star for Notre Dame in his last couple of years.”

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