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Notre Dame Spring Preview: Offensive Tackle

Breaking down the Notre Dame offensive tackle position heading into the 2024 spring

There might not be a tougher task for the 2024 Notre Dame football team than to replace starting offensive tackles Joe Alt and Blake Fisher. The duo had started 26 straight games together, with Alt developing into the best tackle in the college game. Fisher didn't quite pan out as expected, but he was still a quality tackle, and his experience will be missed.

Offensive line coach Joe Rudolph will have to earn his paycheck in a big way in 2024, and it begins this spring. Rudolph has talent to work with, but there is a lot of youth on the roster, and the Irish are thin on experience. Notre Dame will need its talented and inexperienced group of tackles to grow up in a hurry. 

How well the tackles develop could determine if Notre Dame has a good offense in 2024, but not one that is quite good enough to compete for a championship, or if the line becomes a dominant unit that can anchor the offense. The Sun Bowl win over Oregon State gave us our first glance at this unit, and the spring gives us our second look at the development of this unit.


Offensive Tackle - 2024 Spring Depth Chart


When bowl prep began in December the expectation was not that then true freshman Charles Jagusah would win the battle to replace Alt for the matchup against Oregon State. After all, despite his immense potential, Jagusah had played just five snaps during the regular season, and those snaps came at left guard. But win the job he did, and the former five-star recruit forced his way into the line up. His performance in that game was quite good when you consider his overall lack of experience. 

This will be Jagusah's first spring at Notre Dame, and he enters that spring as the clear favorite to win the starting left tackle job. Expecting to be as good as Alt was as a true sophomore is a bit unfair, as Jagusah was at a very different place from a development standpoint compared to Alt. He'll likely be a bit more up-and-down than Alt was in 2022 (his sophomore season), but Jagusah has loads of talent and potential.

The key for Jagusah this spring will be developing a level of consistency and technical proficiency needed to play the position at a high level. That is a must for any player that is going to protect the blind side of the quarterback. Based on what we saw in the bowl game, that means Jagusah cleaning up his hand play, focusing more on keeping his pads low and pass pro footwork are the areas where he must make the biggest jump in year two.

If Jagusah can build on his bowl game performance and become a consistent player he'll give the Irish a chance to remain quite strong on the left side of the line. Yes, he lacks experience and his technique is still a work in progress, but Jagusah has loads of talent. He's a massive young man that shows impressive agility and change of direction skills for a player his size. Another year in the weight room will allow him to an even more physically dominant player as well, and we should start to get a glimpse of that this spring.

I expect Jagusah to take some lumps in pass pro this spring, but it will be good for him. The high volume of reps he'll get this spring should allow him to grow his game and go into the summer and then the fall period a far more advanced player than the one that took the field against Oregon State.


While Jagusah seems to have the left tackle position locked down, there is a bigger question at right tackle. Senior Tosh Baker won the battle during bowl prep and he was solid during the win over the Beavers, but he'll need to once again battle for that job this spring.

Baker certainly has the experience edge, having started four games during his career. Although he was steady and solid in the win over Oregon State, consistency has been an issue for Baker, especially from a pad level standpoint. When Baker keeps his base he's a quality player, but when he lifts up too high or stops his feet his height can become a problem and defenders will get into his pads. A more consistent and active Baker could once again lock down the right tackle position.

The players behind Baker have more raw tools, but they lack his experience, and in the case of Aamil Wagner he lacks the size. There is no greater enigma at tackle than Wagner, who has plenty of raw talent and potential, but it's still a question if he can hold up over the course of an entire season. While much of the focus will be on his weight, that's not really what concerns me with Wagner. The issue with his body is more about having a thin lower body, and if his ability to anchor and drive doesn't improve he'll have a tough time winning the job.

On the flip side, if Wagner is able to show the ability to play with more drive and power, and that he's able to hold up over a period of time, he could certainly rise to the top of the right tackle depth chart. Wagner shows impressive explosiveness as a run blocker, firing off the line and showing off surprising pop for a thin player. He'll need to show that power more in the pass game this spring, but if he does he'll be a factor in this battle.

Keep an eye on sophomore Sullivan Absher, a talented young player that could make noise at tackle for guard. While Absher was at left tackle during bowl prep, he could easily slide over to the right side, where he played in high school. Absher is massive and he's a quality athlete for his size. The issue for him in year one is he came from an option offense that utilized technique far different than what he'll need at Notre Dame, and he rarely had to pass block.

Even as a sophomore there is still a bit learning curve, and there is some body shaping that was needed based on where he was in December. What Absher has is a great frame, power and the potential to develop into a strong run blocker. If he took to the weight room this winter, if he can improve his footwork and pad level, and pick up the nuances of pass pro I could see Absher making a push this spring. If he doesn't it means he's still a year away from being that player.


Baker is a fifth-year player, but the rest of the depth chart is very young. Jagusah and Absher are sophomores, and while Wagner is a junior he has played just 52 snaps during his career. The Irish also welcome talented freshman Styles Prescod to the roster, but he was listed at just 273 pounds on the winter depth chart.

How well Notre Dame performs at tackle this season will largely be determined by how quickly the young tackles grow up as players. That's true for the starting lineup, and its especially true for the depth behind whoever ends up winning the starting positions.

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