What's Next: Notre Dame Offensive Line Recruiting

Bryan Driskell

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.

CURRENT CLASS

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.

KEEP RECRUITING

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.

Be sure to stay locked into Irish Breakdown all the time!

Join the Irish Breakdown community!
Subscribe to the Irish Breakdown podcast on iTunes.
Follow me on twitter: @CoachD178
Like and follow Irish Breakdown on Facebook

Sign up for the FREE Irish Breakdown daily newsletter

Comments (13)
No. 1-5
USAF40ND
USAF40ND

The more I look at Alt the more a like him. He is light probably because of basketball. So he should be able to put on weight easily. Obviously playing basketball is a big athletic plus. And the one thing you can’t teach or ignore is genetics. He has elite OL genetics. The kid could end up being a really good one.

Nathan Erbach
Nathan Erbach

Editor

Billy Schrauth is definitely a name I would keep tabs on for 2022 as well. In my talks with him, it seems pretty clear ND is going to be heavily considered. Same goes for Carson Hinzman.

Take it with a grain of salt, but much like around this time last year when they were in really good position for several elite OL. I think the same can be said for 2022.

RFink
RFink

It sounds like adding Alt is like adding a great (maybe even elite) 2022 recruit - he is for the future. No reason to stop pursuing an elite tackle in this class. Rucci and Milum are tough but they both have compelling reasons to continue considering ND, especially if ND plays elite on the OL this year and Quinn is able to allay some concerns about his quality as a coach. They should be recruited right up to the moment they sign for a school.

Bryan - what about a recruit like Caleb Johnson? Maybe not as elite as Rucci or Milum but someone to keep pushing for? He also seems like someone who has compelling reasons to keep considering ND.

@Nathan Erbach - I hope they've learned from that dumb "big 3" graphic they put out this year. Pursue the 2022 class aggressively, with a wide net, and don't show your whole hand at the outset.

ryno1134
ryno1134

To me, it is now Spindler or bust in the 2021 OL class. I don't see Rucci happening and I don't see Milum flipping from WV (not that they shouldn't be working to do it). The only real legitimate shot Quinn has at salvaging what once could have been a great class comes down to one player so yet again ND has all of its eggs in one basket.

Jamestulane
Jamestulane

Coach, in addition to Rucci and Milan, should they continue to push for Tengwall in your opinion?

1 Reply

Bryan Driskell
Bryan Driskell

Editor

I wouldn't. I don't think Tengwall is a tackle, and ND needs another top tackle, not another guy who projects as a solid RT but more of a guard. I also don't think Tengwall has the upside. He's a ready-made guy and I'm not sure how high his ceiling is. I liked Milum and Rucci both better than him.


Recruiting

FEATURED
COMMUNITY