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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

DL Signee Donovan Hinish On the Mend, Ready for Notre Dame

May 10, 2022

2022 Fighting Irish defensive line signee Donovan Hinish‍ has been coming to Notre Dame for years, but the next time he steps on campus it will be to stay. 

The Central Catholic (Pa.) star will arrive for summer school in June and Hinish has spent his spring rehabbing from winter shoulder surgery. 

"It's been going well,” Hinish told ISD. “A lot of my time has been spent rehabbing my shoulder, so it's healthy by the time I come up and I'm ready to go. I've done a lot of running with my trainer, 2tenths. I've done a lot of lifting with Dan Kovacs, so I have the best with a powerlifter and a speed guy to be in shape to compete and have my strength up." 

You’ve heard the stories about Kurt Hinish playing through injuries and the youngest Hinish is no different. The 6-foot-1 277-pounder tore his labrum over the summer and in typical Hinish fashion, he played the entire season without surgery. 

"It happened in July before the season, so I played the whole season with it,” explained Hinish. “It hurt really bad. It would feel like bubble wrap popping and then a fiery pain that made my shoulder numb. My stomach would drop, so I'd come out for a play or two, but then I'd hear my dad yelling from the stands for me to go back in. I'd do a shoulder roll, suck it up and go back in. 

"I just played through it because it was my last year playing with my best friends and it meant the world to me. No matter how bad it got, I would have gotten the same surgery." 

Despite the every day pain, it took a few weeks post-surgery for Hinish to be convinced he made the right decision. 

"It feels great,” laughed Hinish. “It was tough at first not being able to move my shoulder after surgery. I thought I shouldn't have gotten it because I'd be set back, but now I'm so happy I did. I'll come back even stronger and I don't have to worry about it doing anything bad." 

Hinish returned to campus in April for the Blue-Gold Game and was able to meet his new coaches for the first time. 

"I talked to Coach (Al) Washington at the spring game for a while,” stated Hinish. “I really like him and he seems like a great guy. I can't wait to get up there and work with him. 

"I also talked to Al Golden before the spring game too. He seems like Clark Lea. He's a real foxhole guy and a go-get'em kind of guy. He has a real set mindset in what he wants to do." 

The addition of Washington to the Notre Dame staff was a big one as Hinish had known Mike Elston dating back to 2015. Hinish naturally was excited to talk with Washington, but he also made sure to take advantage of knowing the entire defensive line room as he picked their brains on his new position coach. 

"I asked all of them and every single one of them said the same thing,” Hinish said. “They love him. They said it's hard to replace Coach Elston because he was set in stone for so long. All the guys liked him, so it was hard to bring someone else in, but Coach Freeman found Coach Washington and all the players love him. He's a great guy and a players coach. You can tell he cares about everyone." 

Hinish didn’t need sold too much on Washington or Marcus Freeman’s new staff, but the extra peace of mind is only positive. 

"It feels good knowing there is a coach up there to make me a better player, but also a better man,” stated Hinish. 

With surgery behind him and college a month away, the most interesting man in Pittsburgh admits he’ll miss a few comforts of home when he arrives at Notre Dame. 

"My parents are a big one,” said Hinish. “I'll miss them because I've been around them for 18 years, but I'll say my dog Frankie - and my friends back here.” 

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