With the recent decommitment of Phoenix (Ariz.) Pinnacle 2023 offensive tackle Elijah Paige, Notre Dame is in a bit of a tricky spot when it comes to offensive line recruiting. They were believed to be done in the cycle, having had five players committed and an extremely exciting blend of styles to boot.
On the surface, four is still a really good number for their 2023 group. The problem is that, without Paige, they don’t have a natural offensive tackle recruit who projects favorably to left tackle on the next level.
The staff has high opinions of both Charles Jagusah and Sullivan Absher but both players project more favorably at right tackle than the blindside. The question becomes, what’s next? Does the team pursue a true tackle type to fill the void or do they stick with four and make it work?
It’s my belief that they should take a deep look at the rest of the class with several talented offensive tackles still on the board, both committed and uncommitted a like. Here are a few that are extremely intriguing potential options.
CALEB LOMU - Gilbert (Ariz.) Highland
It would be semi ironic if Notre Dame would stay in the state of Arizona to find a potential replacement for Elijah Paige, but Lomu is the type of high upside talent who could flourish at left tackle down the road if developed properly.
At 6-5 and 265 pounds, he’s a player who will need to gain a substantial move weight but he has a clean frame with a powerful lower half that should be able to without much problem. Lomu is a three-sport star for Highland, moonlighting as a track and field thrower and basketball player.
His combination of foot quickness and flexibility is extremely impressive. There is also some natural power in his hands and core. Lomu is a player who will need some development but luckily, they are in a situation to let him do just that.
It’s extremely late in the process so it is unsure whether the Irish staff can get in with Lomu and his family with any momentum. Still, it’s worth the phone call. In fact, this would probably be my first phone call. The Arizona native could be special long term.
Lomu is currently ranked as the No. 93 overall player and No. 9 offensive tackle according to On3. The Arizona native is also being pursued by schools like Michigan and Florida, and has been adamant that distance isn’t a main factor in his decision.
SPENCER FANO - Provo (Utah) Timpview
Like Lomu, Spencer Fano is one of the more gifted athletes at the offensive tackle position in the 2023 recruiting class and he is also still currently uncommitted. He is also slightly undersized right now at 6-5 and 270 pounds, but clearly has the frame to hold 300 plus pounds without much issue down the road.
Fano is garnering interest from some top prospects across all corners of the nation. It doesn’t take long to figure out why when you pop on his film. Fano is long and explosive, easily transitioning up to the second level with ease and mirroring in pass protection.
Of all four players on his list, the Utah native may have the biggest upside overall.
It’s anyone’s guess where Fano will end up and this one may not end until signing day. Like Lomu, it may be too late to get in seriously but you will never know if you don’t try.
Fano is considered a consensus four star recruit across every major recruiting platform. He peaks as the No. 53 overall player and No. 7 in the 2023 class according to 247Sports.
LUKE BURGESS - New Palestine (Ind.) High School
Notre Dame is currently showing some interest in New Palestine (Ind.) High School 2024 offensive lineman Ian Moore but has yet to offer him. His teammate in the 2023, Luke Burgess is comfortably the most talented offensive lineman on the team.
Long and lean at nearly 6-8 and 285 pounds, there is some raw tools that any offensive line coach would love to work with. In a lot of ways his body is very reminiscent of former Irish star offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey.
As you might expect, Burgess still needs to add a considerable amount of size and core strength to his frame. When he does, he will have an opportunity to develop into a starting option on the next level. We have not seen Burgess near his upside at this point.
Burgess is still a very underrated player from a recruiting ranking perspective. He currently sits as a three star recruit on almost every major recruiting platform. The exception is Rivals, who ranked Burgess as a four star and the No. 37 offensive tackle in the 2023 class. He is currently committed to the University of Louisville.
LOGAN HOWLAND - Princeton (N.J.) The Hun School
If The Hun School sounds familiar, it’s because it is the school of 2024 defensive line commit Owen Wafle. While Howland is currently committed to Oklahoma, that relationship could be very beneficial to get in with Howland if the staff chooses to.
The 6-7, 280-pound blindside protector is a gifted athlete who has suited up most of his career at tight end. In fact, he 165 receiving yards and two touchdowns on six receptions just last year. Howland is still growing into his frame but that body has enough room to hold a considerable amount of more weight.
Ultimately, you can’t teach this combination of length and foot quickness. Notre Dame has already had a ton of success with a former tight end currently occupying his blindside in Joe Alt. Howland would be the perfect player to sit behind Alt while the development of the Irish staff was able to pry him from his Sooners commitment.
The New Jersey standout may only be rated as a three star recruit right now but his long term upside is what makes him an intriguing proposition. He boasts and impressive offer list, including the likes of the Sooners, Michigan, Miami, Penn State, Iowa, Michigan State, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Boston College, Duke, Maryland, Syracuse, Louisville, and Vanderbilt among others.
Irish Breakdown Content
Become a premium Irish Breakdown member, which grants you access to all of our premium content and our premium message board! Click on the link below for more.
Be sure to stay locked into Irish Breakdown all the time!
Join the Irish Breakdown community!
Subscribe to the Irish Breakdown YouTube channel
Subscribe to the CFB Nation YouTube channel
Subscribe to the Irish Breakdown podcast on iTunes
Follow me on Twitter: @RiseNDraft
Like and follow Irish Breakdown on Facebook
Sign up for the FREE Irish Breakdown daily newsletter