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The Commitments: The offensive line

Jan 26, 2012, 8:36 PM EDT

Ronnie Stanley

Part two of our series recapping the recruiting commitments set to sign letters-of-intent with Notre Dame next Wednesday.

Often times, the most attention is heaped on the recruit that got away. That was certainly the case when Taylor Decker, a six-foot-eight, 310-pound tackle that was long pledged to the Irish flipped his commitment to Ohio State after coaches Ed Warinner and Tim Hinton did the same. After months of simmering on the back burner as the Irish’s longest tenured recruit, Decker made gigantic waves, throwing away a commitment that had lasted since early March to join Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes in the final month of recruiting.

Decker’s defection was part of a wave of negativity, coupled with Ronald Darby’s reopening of recruitment, a bad week turned on its head when the Irish were able to flip five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel the day before the spring semester started. Even without Decker, the Irish are adding two (technically three including long-snapper Scott Daly) linemen to the fold, a slender class, but one that likely won’t haunt the Irish because of their significant depth along the front line.

Let’s take a look at the three linemen the Irish will be adding next Wednesday:

High School: Bishop Gorman — Las Vegas, Nevada
Measureables: Six-foot-seven, 290-pounds
Other major offers: Auburn, Cal, Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA, USC
Fun Fact: Bishop Gorman will have over a dozen players in D-I football next year.
On choosing Notre Dame: “LeBron took his talents to South Beach. I’m taking my talents to South Bend.”
What he’ll bring to the offense: The top player in the state of Nevada, Stanley is another prototype tackle coming into the Irish system who will likely have some time to develop and build on an impressive frame. It’s tough to quantify how good Stanley is until we see him against legit competition, but he certainly looks the part and has a really impressive list of offers. Just as important, the Irish fought their way into Bishop Gorman to land Stanley, a school that’s been supplying the Pac-12 talent for years.

High School: Charlotte Catholic — Charlotte, North Carolina
Measureables: Six-foot-five, 270-pounds
Other major offers: Auburn, Clemson, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee
Fun Fact: Was a fullback in middle-school until a growth spurt.
On choosing Notre Dame: “It’s an incredible academic situation there, an awesome academic school with the business program,” Harrell told Irish Illustrated. “The coaching staff, the players, the students overall, they’re all just awesome people. The football tradition can’t be beat. Notre Dame just checked all the boxes as far as that goes.”
What he’ll bring to the offense: Will join an interior of the offensive line that’ll need to replace both Trevor Robinson and Andrew Nuss, and potentially Mike Golic. Has done nothing but impress ever since coming out of nowhere at the U.S. Army All-American combine after his junior season. Built big enough to be a tackle, Harrell will start on the interior, giving the Irish a great athlete at guard.

High School: Downers Grove South — Downers Grove, Illinois
Measureables: Six-foot-four, 230-pounds
Other major offers: Northwestern
Fun Fact: Rated No. 1 long snapper in the country by Rubio Long Snapping.
On choosing Notre Dame: “I was pretty much thinking this is a dream come true,” Daly told Irish Sports Daily. “I’ve really been waiting for Notre Dame to pull the trigger, and now that it’s finally happened, I’m still pinching myself. It’s like I said, it’s a dream come true and I’m very happy about it. I still can’t believe it.”
What he’ll bring to the offense: He’ll bring in immediate competition for Jordan Cowart, who found himself in Brian Kelly’s doghouse after breaking his hand in a scrum against Purdue, and hasn’t been able to hold down both the short and long snapping job. The Irish were actively recruiting a long snapper late last year as well (potentially another hint at their evaluation of Cowart), missing out on Bryce Haynes, who ended up at Ohio State, and was similarly ranked by Rubio Long Snapping. Daly is a perfect fit for today’s long snapper, a tall and lean athlete that can run down the field and cover punts.

  1. idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 26, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Off topic, but i’m wondering what all you talking heads think about this notion…

    If you’re Tommy Rees, don’t you consider transferring to another school? I just feel like the writing is already on the wall with his career at Notre Dame.

    And i know i’m in the minority on this, but i think the kid could take ND to a BCS just as easily as Hendrix, Golson, or Kiel. He just has a different set of tools than the other three.

    I’ve just got a feeling that Tommy is already the number three or four QB on the depth chart in BK’s finely groomed head.

    • papadec - Jan 26, 2012 at 11:43 PM

      Why transfer? He’s getting a great education & a chance to compete for the starting QB position @ ND. I’ll wait and see how Spring practice goes before calling him #1, #2, or # whatever.

    • nudeman - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      First, don’t count him out at ND. I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts the season. That would be a terrible mistake in my opinion, but it wouldn’t shock me given what we saw last year.

      Second, if he transfers NOW after 2 years as a starter when he never should have been, then he’s a big baby. And no, I don’t think he’s a baby.

      Third, to his credit TR has shown some guts and willingness to compete. So if he has to go into Spring ball and compete, I think he’ll give it his best shot.

      It is possible that after Spring ball if he thinks he’s 4th on the chart, he’ll consider his options. But even then I’d think he’ll stay. Kid is NOT going to play in the NFL and has his eye on an ND degree and maybe even coaching there some day.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:02 PM


        I figure if you’re hammered on the boards every time you say something that people don’t like, you should be commended when you say something worthwhle too. So…

        Well said, i think you hit the nail on the head with those comments.

      • nudeman - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:42 PM

        i’d rather be in south bend

        Thank you sir. Quite gentlemanly of you
        As I just wrote somewhere else, I’ve actually gotten to the point where I enjoy getting pounded here. Sometimes.

        Just makes it more fun.

        Geaux Irish

      • domer77blowsgoats - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:50 PM

        “I’ve actually gotten to the point where I enjoy getting pounded…Just makes it more fun”

        again you bore us with something we already know…

        I stand corrected, we thought you were at that “point” long ago

      • nudeman - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:07 PM


        So you’re starting with the “goat” ID today I see. OK
        “Mr. Happy” I think is what I’ll now refer to you as.
        I have never once seen you post anything of a positive nature.
        You’re probably the guy in the neighborhood who yells at kids for stepping on his lawn.
        Even when there’s a foot of snow.

        By the way, you might not know it but this is a blog for ND football.
        Got anything to add to the discussion?

        I’ll go walk the dog and maybe check email while you change your ID to UAW.

      • ndgoldandblue - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        I agree…look at the objective insight from nudeman. I’m a little taken aback here.

      • gtizzo - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:52 PM

        Nudeman is absolutely right and if I may add a 4th, having Tommy as the 2nd or 3rd on the depth chart would be a great advantage to Brain Kelly. The season can take turns for the better or worse, should a starting QB go down to injury. It wouldn’t be an awful thing to have a kid who already knows the playbook ready to step in.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Jan 27, 2012 at 4:05 PM

        wow your insight and logic continue to leave me speechless:

        domer77 – i’ve been picking on him since beginning of 2010 season – hence my screen name

        UAW – not sure but calls you out quite accurately

        so we all 3 share a common theme, agreed, but your Mr. Happy hypothesis is way off

        i’ve made plenty of contributions where i deem fit and call out bs when i see it

        yours is again just a re-puke of your previous year’s posts – 9Irish nailed it yesterday so i wont rehash, ok maybe i will

        1. you are not a TR fan
        2. you think Keil should start
        3. you live and die daily on recruiting bs
        4. you think the term student shouldnt be included in student-athlete

        so where is anything new and fresh besides your affinity for taking a pounding….

      • 9irish - Jan 27, 2012 at 6:59 PM

        Hey, I agree with that. Rees might not be THE guy, but he is an asset to keep around. Definitely knows the offense, the problem has been in the execution (sometimes…other times he’s like the little wizard out there.)

        so I think he’ll be around. Hope so.

      • nudeman - Jan 27, 2012 at 9:21 PM

        domer/goat/UAW/Mr Happy

        Listen, I could debate you point by point
        Like for example, where did I ever say Kiel (or “Keil” as you write) should start?

        But that’s a waste of time
        If I upset you and spoil even 5 minutes of your day, PERFECT. EFFING PERFECT
        I aspire to 24 hours though

        You are a loser, a crotchety old man and an idiot

        I’ve never ONCE seen you contribute anything to this board ither than your drivel
        Unless your “nude/pube” insipidity is a “contribution”

        Go light a candle for Armstead


    • jimbasil - Jan 27, 2012 at 6:44 PM

      With Rees, the writing should be on the wall. — “but i think the kid could take ND to a BCS just as easily as Hendrix, Golson, or Kiel. He just has a different set of tools than the other three”—-

      His different tools are really the lack of tools, not different. He cannot run and does not move well and he does not have a strong enough arm to make plays down field.
      — TR is just inaccurate enough to not help his receivers advance the ball farther than the point of reception. The other three can do all of what TR does only they are not missing tools.

      The only thing TR has over the others is playing time and, Kelly lovin’ him too much.

      The moment Kiel stepped on campus, Rees should have been thought of as #4 on the depth chart.

      As a fan of ND I thank Tommy for all his work and all the positives he brought to the Irish team, but he does not have the essential skills to compete at the high level the rest of his team is playing at.

      • irish4006 - Jan 29, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        “As a fan of ND I thank Tommy for all his work and all the positives he brought to the Irish team, but he does not have the essential skills to compete at the high level the rest of his team is playing at.”

        Very well said, sir! I feel the exact same way. Having said that, I can’t argue intelligently about who should be the starter next year or what the depth chart should look like. While we saw a little bit of AH last year, EG and GK are totally unknown quantities. Even for Hendrix, although he played well in patches, it wasn’t quite enough to indicate that he was our answer to the qb problem.

        What we know for sure is that Kelly has a track record of training QBs and getting great results even with semi-elite athletes. Next year will be his third year in charge and second with a qb he recruited, Golson. If he is the coach we all hoped he was, qb should not be the weakness of this team. There is enough talent and experience in that position esp. with the commitment from Kiel (great highlight reels on youtube, btw), any coach worth any salt should be able to get production.

        As for other concerns, my biggest worry is th WR position. I just hope a couple step up and make 2012 a great year. Go Irish!

  2. ct111 - Jan 26, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    I agree. I wasn’t a huge Tommy Rees supporter but Ill cheer for him at the school he will transfer to.

  3. papadec - Jan 26, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    Regarding OL recruits – espn is running an item across the bottom of the screen that Josh Garnett committed to Stanford. Too bad for ND, but this is a guy that really does want an education – he wants to be an orthopedic surgeon. I think Zach Banner, from up here in the beautiful, rainy NW has yet to commit.

  4. irishbuckeye - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    Isn’t Harrell projecting as a center for ND, not a guard?

    • heartofgoldandblue - Jan 27, 2012 at 8:46 AM

      Thought I heard he was projected at guard but was working a lot on snapping for the possibility of moving over to center. As for Tommy, I think he’s done very well considering his skillset. Also think he’s reached his ceiling and was exposed when facing more athletic defenses. He can win games but not the big games. We need a difference maker at qb. Kelly seems to love him so you can’t count him out but I personally can’t see him taking a step ahead of the other three.

  5. 1historian - Jan 27, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    To get REALLY off topic – anybody know if those striped practice shirts are for sale? And where? They are much cooler than the regular game shirts.

    Just asking.

  6. 1historian - Jan 27, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    We’ve got 5 redshirt-transfers coming in this season on the OL. 5 already on the roster, that’s 10 and there will probably be at least 1 GS next year. I’m going to say 11 – that should be enough so we can redshirt Stanley and Harrell.

    QB – no one asked but I see Kiel redshirting next year, with Golson starting, Hendrix backup and Rees #3. I look into my crystal ball and see the turnaround next year – ND suddenly becomes (again) a force to be reckoned with. I would LOVE to see it happen in L.A. a few days after Thanksgiving.

    (I hope that) the days of home losses to Syracuse, Connecticut and USF are behind us.

    I would like to see the Cardinal get a whuppin’ under the blue northern Indiana sky next season.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:02 AM


    • nudeman - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:25 AM

      I agree here with everything except the redshirt.

      SHOULD he redshirt? Probably yes
      WILL he redshirt? I don’t think so.

      I just have a feeling that Kiel and BK had a couple conversations where the kid stressed how badly he wants to play right away. I think he’s mature enough to know he’s got to EARN that, but wants the chance to compete and made that a condition of his coming to ND.

      There is also the possibility that he comes in, knocks everyone’s socks off in Spring and is legitimately the #2 QB in the Fall. Regardless of how well he plays, I don’t see BK starting him in Ireland. Too much pressure and borderline unfair to him. Work him in here and there; maybe at some point he gets an entire half of football. Then in 2013 he’s the man.

      • 1historian - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:53 AM

        works for me.

        How about Kiel and Golson in the same backfield? As in Paul Hornung type HB option passes? I’ve heard the story that when Lombardi came to GB he immediately told Hornung – ‘You’re my halfback” after Hornung had languished in GB for a few seasons.

        Just a thought

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:07 PM


        I don;t see a Kiel/Golson backfield happening, but it would be fun to watch. Hell, let’s put Kiel, Hendrix, Golson in the backfield with a back. Three guys capable of passing the ball and three guys capable of running the ball. Throw Ciere into a reggie bush type position, running and receiving, Eif at TE and a wide receiver to fill the mix.

        Freaky, but Fun. That would turn CFB on its head, but it would take some ingenuity on the part of the ND coaching staff.

        I’ll start drawing up plays now :)

    • nudeman - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      I like a Kiel/Golson/Hendrix backfield (with TR signalling plays in)

      It might be preposterously ineffective but hell of a lot of fun to watch.

      Seriously though, if the QB Depth to start the season chart isn’t Golson, then Kiel/Hendrix or Hendrix/Kiel, then Tommy, I’ll just go rake leaves every Saturday next Fall.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:54 PM

        will you stop posting too?

        preposterously ineffective = your contributions

      • nudeman - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:11 PM

        77/goat/UAW/Mr Happy

        If I can ruin at least 5 min of your day with my posts, then no, I won’t stop

      • papadec - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:33 PM

        idrather & nude – have you guys been reading the Mike Leach play book?

      • nudeman - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        Mr Hapopy – anything to add to the conversation?

      • nudeman - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        Mr Happy – anything to add to the conversation?

      • domer77 - Jan 27, 2012 at 4:57 PM


        Unless you stop lumping me with the other two bone heads, I will be forced to bring down upon you the curse of the blarney stones. Trust me, you don’t want that…but then again any mention or “stones” likely entices you to do even more.

        You have been begging for some meaningful football commentary, so here goes. When it comes to the pigskin you are an idiot.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 27, 2012 at 8:24 PM


        Haven’t read the Leach playbook, but i’m a HUGE Mike Leach fan. Washington State will be my third favorite team this fall after ND and the Kansas Cristhawks.

  7. schuey73 - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    This story got my attention initially because of Kiel’s picture. But as I started reading it, I started laughing. It’s like the author of the article is someone who reads the comments from posters on this site!

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      just read this article that you posted and i fell in love with the writer as soon as he started bashing the show that every wife loves, The Bachelor. He actually refers to the bachelor as a douche, which is HILARIOUS in my book.

  8. gtizzo - Jan 27, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    I really believe that the Irish offensive line was the most under valued asset last season. Should Cave return for another season this line should be a very solid unit. Losing Decker hurt, but some feel he was going to be a work in progress anyway. There was also an article on about recruiting, and linemen on both sides of the ball are often over and under rated. His rating really could be go either way so it could be a big loss or it could be not a big deal at all.
    Since Keith started the QB debate which I’m sure wasn’t his intention I have a confusion to make. I usually stay away from as I don’t see any value to the site. This time I broke that rule and followed a link to the highlights of Golson. What I thought I would see was a kid breaking off big runs. Most likely caused by poor angles or bad tackling in general. What I got was a kid that always had his eyes down field and was accurate. Seemed to only his his speed to get away from trouble or on a designed run. He arm motion was smooth and his throws down the field were all most laser like. So I guess the QB derby this spring is going to be pretty wide open. I still think letting Kiel out of the state would have been a awful thing for ND. Landing him is a good thing…starting him well I will leave that to Brain Kelly.

  9. jerseyshorendfan1 - Jan 27, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    I hear that Daly won the Chris Rubio National Snapper of the Year Award. When I was back in high school, I nominated my girlfriend for this award…….she had quite the snapper. Oh, wait, what? Here’s one for dick asman: You hear about that girl that went fishing with four guys? She came back with a red snapper. Ha.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 27, 2012 at 8:27 PM

      The joke is quality, but the fact that you reference ND and Jersey Shore in your screen name feels a little bit dirty.

    • papadec - Jan 28, 2012 at 1:13 AM

      idrather – my son (WSU 2010) and I are very excited about Mike Leach coming to Wazzu with the wide open passing game. My earlier comment regarding his playbook was more of a joke – I think everyone is a receiver in his playbook, and with 3 QBs in the ND backfield, every play would be a potential pass play. I guess someone didn’t see the humor in the first comment, or isn’t familiar with Mike @ Texas Tech.

    • papadec - Jan 28, 2012 at 1:16 AM

      joisey – that’s an old joke – haven’t heard it for quite awhile. Red snapper is actually quite tasty.

  10. norcalirish - Jan 28, 2012 at 7:40 AM

    “I aspire to 24 hours though”


    You people are crazy. Let’s talk fashion.

    • papadec - Jan 28, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      ND hats on several of the top recruits, on NSD, would be very fashionable.

  11. norcalirish - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:07 AM

    “papadec | Jan 28, 2012, 9:56 AM PST
    ND hats on several of the top recruits, on NSD, would be very fashionable.”


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