Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Back to the Blue-Chips on the O-line

March 12, 2018
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Harry Hiestand’s tenure running Notre Dame's offensive line was capped off with the ultimate compliment to him as a coach.

His pupils won the Joe Moore Award as the top offensive line in the nation. There is no higher honor for a position group in college football and it wouldn’t have happened without the work Hiestand did developing the players he recruited.

For a guy who wasn’t exactly in love with the recruiting process, the run of players he helped bring in was remarkable. His first full recruiting cycle was 2013. From then to 2017, the Irish signed one 5-star, fifteen 4-stars, and three 3-star offensive line recruits.

There weren’t many programs that had anywhere near those results during that five year period. To put that into perspective, Ohio State signed one 5-star, eleven 4-stars, and seven 3-star offensive line recruits over that same period. And that was with classes that were ranked in the top-five in four of those cycles. (The one that wasn’t was ranked seventh) 

It was a great run for O-line recruiting for Notre Dame, but the 2018 cycle was a step back. The Irish brought in a class of four offensive lineman and three of them were consensus 3-star prospects.

That’s as many 3-stars in one class as the Irish signed in the previous five.

Some of that has to do with it being a weaker class at the position, but not all of it. The staff didn’t win with some of their top of the board targets like Nicholas Petit-Frere and Jamaree Salyer and that contributed to it as well.

I think the trio of 3-stars they just signed have a shot to develop into good players at the next level. New offensive line coach Jeff Quinn has a good reputation for developing lower-ranked players too.

But Notre Dame fans expect blue-chip recruits on the offensive line. Signing another class with more 3-stars than elite prospects is not going to go over well when compared to the standard that was set from 2013-2017. That means the pressure is on Quinn to deliver.

He did a great job closing out the 2018 class with Notre Dame’s lone 4-star O-line recruit, Jarrett Patterson. He needs to keep it rolling with a 2019 group that is stronger at the position than it was in the previous class.

It would be a terrific start to add a commitment from offensive tackle Quinn Carroll (Edina, Minnesota). Carroll is a mobile monster that can drive people at the point of attack. #44 in the ISD Fab 50, Notre Dame is in a good position for a player who looks like he could start for multiple years for the Irish. I view him as a future right tackle that could play guard as well.

I am extremely high on Saleem Wormley (Smyrna, Delaware), a player that I think is going to blow up with more and more offers as the process progresses. I have him ranked as the #40 prospect in the Fab 50. The competition he faces is not great, but his feet for someone as big as he is are. I think he can become a dominant guard. He is a prospect the Irish need to get on campus this spring.

They had Zeke Correll (Cincinnati, Ohio) visit for the most recent Junior Day. He is a violent football player that plays like he wants to hurt his opponent. He’s going to play on the interior in college and has the kind of mentality that fits with the way the Irish line wants to finish blocks.

John Olmstead (Metuchen, New Jersey) is very similar. People might cringe when they read this, but he is a Stanford type of prospect. If the Irish want to continue to run the football like they did last year, Olmstead is the type of player that they need to add.

Harry Miller (Buford, Georgia) has Notre Dame in his top group and just visited. He has the potential to play all five positions on the line and could be a future center. It’s obvious when watching him that Miller is well-coached and he will be a weapon as a puller.

Bryan Hudson (Georgetown, Kentucky) is a bit raw with his technique, but he has all the traits to be an outstanding offensive tackle at the next level. He’s already been to a couple of games at Notre Dame.

Every one of those players are 4-star prospects. Andrew Kristofic (Gibsonia, Pennsylvania) is not right now, but he could be by the the time summer rolls around. He’s the type of athlete that projects well as a future left tackle, but he just has to show he has the frame to carry the necessary weight to fall into the elite prospect category.

If the Irish can add Carroll and at least a couple more from this group, then you’ll know things are back to where they were before with offensive line recruiting, which is exactly where Notre Dame wants it to be.

Hiestand is gone. He definitely accomplished a lot with his players while at Notre Dame. Now it’s Quinn’s turn. It’s a tough act to follow, but with a strong foundation already in place, he can take the position to the same or even greater heights provided he replenishes the blue-chips on the line.

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