What's Next: Notre Dame Offensive Line Recruiting
On Monday, Notre Dame picked up a commitment from 2021 offensive tackle prospect Joe Alt. The Fridley (Minn.) Totino-Grace big man is ranked as a consensus three-star recruit, but he’s a high-upside player with good bloodlines.
Landing Alt was important for Notre Dame, but the offensive line class cannot be done. Notre Dame needs at least one more offensive lineman, and if the staff is doing what staffs that want to compete for titles do, they will keep working on other top players.
Notre Dame came into this recruiting cycle expecting to land an elite offensive line haul, and to get to that standard there is still plenty of work to be done.
Let’s take a look at what’s next for Notre Dame’s offensive line recruiting, and what is needed for the staff to get back on track.
Alt joins a class that already had Avon (Ind.) High School star Blake Fisher and Chicago (Ill.) Marist guard Pat Coogan. Fisher is one of the nation’s best offensive lineman and is a legit Top 100 prospect. Coogan lacks high upside that we’ve seen from a lot of past Notre Dame pickups, but he’s a tough, gritty prospect that projects to play on the interior.
Notre Dame needs tackle bodies in this class, and both Alt and Fisher project to play tackle in college. Fisher also has the tools to be an elite guard, and that ultimately might be where his game is ideally suited for him to grow into a true star at the next level. But even as a tackle the Indiana native is outstanding.
From a pure numbers standpoint there is a need for at least one more lineman in the class.
SPINDLER IS A MUST
If the staff wants to have any chance to land an offensive line class worthy of a program like Notre Dame they absolutely must add Clarkston (Mich.) High School star Rocco Spindler. Without Spindler the line class will likely fall short on numbers and high-level talent.
Landing Spindler would give Notre Dame a pair of Top 100 caliber players, which would be a strong foundation. Fisher is a tackle who could move inside while Spindler is currently a guard, but he’s athletic enough to play on the edge if the need ever arose.
Spindler is a physical interior player with a wrestling background. He’s strong at the point fo attack and there is still room for him to add quite a bit of strength. Spindler is also a top-notch athlete inside, and that combination of athleticism, toughness and power gives him an impressive upside.
He is a must-get in this class.
Should Notre Dame ultimately get Spindler the class should still not be complete. The Irish line class would still fall short of expectations. Just look at what they tried to shoot for early on, when the staff pushed for a “dream class” that included Fisher, Spindler and Landon Tengwall, and the staff also made a hard early push for offensive tackle Nolan Rucci.
Rucci is still uncommitted, and he’s talked in the past about wanting to get on campus before making a decision. If offensive line coach Jeff Quinn wants to prove his worth as a recruiter he needs to work extremely hard on both Spindler and Rucci, and not stop until they’ve actually signed with another program.
Notre Dame trails several programs for Rucci, but should Quinn and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees somehow pull off this upset it would give the program a truly elite offensive line class.
Rucci shouldn’t be the only player Notre Dame continues to push for. When Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and other programs trying to win titles lose out on a top recruit they keep working on that player until he signs somewhere else. Notre Dame needs to do that, and they need more dogs on the recruiting trail.
One player the staff missed out on early is Huntington (WVa.) Spring Valley offensive tackle Wyatt Milum, who is committed to West Virginia. Is flipping him from the Mountaineers likely, or easy? No, it won’t be, but he’s an outstanding prospect that would be a good fit for Notre Dame in many ways.
Not continuing to push for Rucci and Milum would be a mistake, and would tell me the staff is settling at the position. Championship caliber programs don’t settle on the recruiting trail, and they definitely don’t settle at a position as important as the offensive line.
GET GOING ON THE 2022 CLASS
Notre Dame has thrown out a number of early offers in the 2022 class. Numbers and impact talent will be important for that line class as well, even if the Irish land Spindler. If they miss out on Spindler it becomes the most important position in the entire class.
The good news is Notre Dame has already thrown out a number of early 2022 offensive line offers, and it appears to be at least a quality class nationally. Notre Dame should also benefit from the state of Indiana having a talented blocker like Zionsville (Ind.) High School tackle Joey Tanona.
Indiana also has talented blockers in Fort Wayne (Ind.) Snider big man Demon Moore and Leo (Ind.) High School guard Landen Livingston, but right now neither have offers.
New Jersey standout Jacob Allen, Virginia big man Zach Rice and Pennsylvania offensive tackle Drew Shelton are just a few early names that Irish fans should get to know. There are other players with offers, and hopefully there will be more to come, but that is certainly a strong start from an offers standpoint.
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