Looking Ahead: Notre Dame Offensive Line Depth Chart

Bryan Driskell

Notre Dame landed a big-time player when 2021 offensive lineman Rocco Spindler committed to the Fighting Irish. Spindler joins a three-man class that also has Blake Fisher, giving the Irish a pair of Top 100 players on the 247Sports composite rankings.

Should both remain in the Top 100 it would give Notre Dame a pair of Top 100 players for the first time since 2016, when the Irish landed Liam Eichenberg and Tommy Kraemer. Ironically, Spindler and Fisher will arrive on campus as Eichenberg and Kraemer are leaving.

Notre Dame is likely done with the 2021 offensive line class. With that in mind, let's take a look at the 2021 depth chart and how the future looks at the position. Here's what the expected 2021 depth chart looks like, going from oldest to youngest at each spot.

Screen Shot 2020-08-10 at 4.27.11 PM
Starts = Career starts / Comp = 247Sports composite ranking

The list is broken down into players I view as "pure tackles," players that could play tackle or guard effectively, and blockers that project as guards or centers. 

TACKLES / SWING PLAYERS

One concern I have about the future depth chart is the lack of tackles. If you look at the tackles and swing players there are eight players with eligibility in 2021, which looks good at first glance. The issue, however, is beyond 2021 the numbers don't look great.

Rising junior Cole Mabry is a player I've mentioned for months as being someone whose future could be in jeopardy due to injuries. Rising sophomore Quinn Carroll is a very talented player, but he had a major knee injury as a freshman, and according to sources he was slow to bounce back from that. 

Combine that with the fact Joshua Lugg is out of eligibility after 2021, assuming he even plays tackle, where he started five games in 2019, and the tackle depth chart is looking shallow in the future.

The good news is that 2020 signee Tosh Baker is incredibly talented player, and when Carroll was healthy I heard very good things about him. I've also talked to sources that say Andrew Kristofic is a player that has shown top-level talent, and if he can put it all together he could be quite good. All three have the tools to develop into big-time players.

Fisher is also an extremely talented player, and if he stays at tackle Notre Dame has a trio of Fisher, Baker and Kristofic that combine length and excellent talent. The numbers are a bit shaky, but the talent is there. At that point the depth chart will be solidified by Joe Alt building up his body and tapping into his full potential, and/or Michael Carmody being able to stick on the edge instead of sliding inside.

Notre Dame needs to sign at least two players with pure tackle skills in the 2022 offensive line class even if Baker, Fisher and Kristofic standout at tackle.

INTERIOR

The interior depth chart looks a lot more healthy. Should Jarrett Patterson dominate at center the next two seasons and leave following the 2021 campaign the interior depth chart looks strong from a numbers and depth standpoint.

This is especially true if one of Fisher/Carmody ends up inside. Of course, a big key to that on-paper depth panning out is Zeke Correll developing, Spindler being as good as advertised and one of the swing players sliding inside. 

It is also easier for tackles to move inside than the reverse, so the tackle depth chart could also aid the interior depth chart, assuming the 2022 recruiting class is strong and deep.

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Comments (7)
No. 1-4
T_RICCIO
T_RICCIO

Good Break Down - TY - FYI. I feel some fans are sleeping on Kristofic

brnd
brnd

Might be best to move Patterson to LT on 2021.

Irish For Life
Irish For Life

@Bryan Driskell

Coach - I am assuming that there is no chance of ND adding another quality OT in 2021 whether it is flipping one or someone who hasn't committed?

Balddomer
Balddomer

Quinn's recruiting misses in the '20 class resulting in only two OLcommitments, plus transfers have created depth issues for the Irish in '22.

Nice assessment Bryan.


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