Mar 24, 2012, 9:47 PM EDT
With the Irish football program entertaining a group of high profile juniors this weekend, it was important to leave a strong impression on a group of players that the Notre Dame staff identified early in the recruiting process. With the returns coming in after another unseasonably mild weekend in South Bend, a slow-starting recruiting push in 2013 is clearly heating up.
With offensive line a priority in the ’13 recruiting class, new offensive line coach Harry Hiestand started his tenure at Notre Dame off with a bang, landing key commitments from two top-flight offensive linemen: New Lenox, Illinois’ Colin McGovern and Owensboro, Kentucky’s Hunter Bivin.
McGovern’s commitment to the Irish is a welcome surprise to a class that needed to add quality depth at the offensive line to go along with cornerstone recruit Steve Elmer. In McGovern, they certainly do that, as the six-foot-six, 280-pounder had offers from schools like Alabama, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, Washington and Wisconsin. When reached for comment by 247Sports.com’s Steve Wiltfong, McGovern cited the chemistry on the team and his comfort with the coaches as helping him pull the trigger for his childhood favorite.
“I’ve sort of been a Notre Dame fan growing up and my interest in Notre Dame is obviously high. After getting all the information and seeing what Notre Dame is all about, I felt that it was right,” McGovern told Wiltfong. “Seeing the practice and seeing how all the players and coaches are and how they interacted, and getting together with the coaches and players, those are the kind of people I want to surround myself with for the next five years of my life.”
While McGovern’s commitment was a surprise, it seemed like Bivin was an Irish lean all along. Another mammoth target, at six-foot-seven, 285-pounds, Bivin had seen his recruiting profile explode lately, with offers from Auburn, Florida, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin among a handful of other BCS options. The Kentucky native was hesitant to make an early decision on college, but in the end couldn’t help going with his hear.
Talking to Steve Hare of Irish Illustrated, Bivin, who visited South Bend with his mother, checked in with both his brother and girlfriend before taking the plunge, feeling immense pride as he thought about his late father, who passed away less than two years ago.
“My brother told me to do what my dad would have wanted me to do and I feel like he would want me to play at my dream school,” Bivin told Irish Illustrated. “Notre Dame was one of my dream schools ever since I was a little kid. Who wouldn’t take advantage of that?”
Bivin’s commitment to offensive coordinator Chuck Martin wrapped up a successful day that also saw Notre Dame make headway with nearly a dozen other recruits. The duo join Elmer, tight end Jacob Matuska, and running back / wide receiver James Onwaualu in the five-man recruiting class.
Photo courtesy of BlueandGold.com