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Freshman Focus: Hunter Bivin

Jun 18, 2013, 10:50 AM EDT


When Hunter Bivin gave a verbal commitment to Notre Dame, most fans thought the Irish were getting a prototype offensive tackle that had the chance to compete for the job of Zack Martin’s replacement. It turns out the Irish were getting much, much more, with the versatile Bivin being a veritable Swiss Army Knife for Brian Kelly and offensive line coach Harry Hiestand

“Here is a young man with great versatility on the offensive line,” Kelly said of Bivin on Signing Day. “He played tackle, he moved to center in the all‑star game, played flawlessly at that position.

“Here’s a young man that comes in with the size and strength and the versatility on the offensive line.”

Kelly might be selling Bivin’s versatility short, as the 6-foot-6, 290-pounder has been busy post football season. A credit to his athleticism, Bivin was the starting center for his high school basketball team and first-team All-State in Track & Field, winning both the shot put and discus state titles — defending his shot put crown.

Bivin heads into summer school committed to football only for the first time in his athletic career, and should see leaps and gains in the weight room. Let’s look into the future and see what’s in store for the Kentucky native.


Just about every recruiting service liked Bivin, with 247 Sports rating him the top player in Kentucky and the 43rd best prospect in the country, and had a composite rating just outside the top 100. Bivin had elite offers from plenty of SEC schools, but only ended up visiting Notre Dame, a school where he was a life long fan.


If Bivin does start out on the interior of the offensive line, he’ll enter a depth chart at center that has Nick Martin and Matt Hegarty entering their junior years with sophomore eligibility. The depth chart on the outside is thinner, with only Zack Martin and Christian Lombard with significant experience, with Ronnie Stanley getting some emergency playing time before an elbow injury and Steve Elmer with a jump start semester.

Bivin has said publicly that he is expected to redshirt the 2013 season. That makes plenty of sense from both a developmental and depth chart point of view.


With an athletic pedigree like the one Bivin has and size you can’t teach, it’s hard to see a world where Bivin doesn’t end up making a dent in the starting lineup. In 2014, there will be just four returning bodies for two tackle positions, so if Bivin projects to the outside he can slide out there. If he stays on the inside, he’ll be among a fairly crowded depth chart, with Mark Harrell, Matt Hegarty, Conor Hanratty and Nick Martin ahead of him from an experience factor.

Still, of this group Bivin is probably the most highly touted recruit in the group, with Hegarty a close second. It may seem a ways out, but even if it’s 2016 when Bivin cracks the starting lineup, he’ll have the opportunity to be a two-year starter, one of the ultimate signs of health along the offensive line.

  1. loadofwash - Jun 18, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Looks like yet another reach…

    • goldenboy3 - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      Reaching into some fine offensive line depth.

      Parole Tide!

  2. irishinmich - Jun 18, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    I can’t decide if it says a lot, or a little about a troll when they are first to comment.
    With all the off-season drama sometimes you forget about a gem like this kid. Hurry up Fall!!!!

  3. yaketyyacc - Jun 18, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    it’s always exciting when any fine player decides to come to ND. for us, following the writings of Keith Arnold, we re reminded of how very much goes into making a successful football team, year after year. we can comment on the decisions in the comfort of our computer room. it is the coaches and the University that has to come up with the result, and judging from the diverse opinions, not all are satisfied. however, all of us, including you “load” can applaud Keith Arnold’s great articles. com’on “load” how about a thumbs up?

  4. mcirish27 - Jun 18, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Good question irishinmich. Perhaps this yawner of an article (no offense intended, Keith, I mean from the perspective of readers’ urge to comment) would be a decent opportunity to address and analyze the phenomenon of the “trolls” on this board.

    I will posit this, and this may even be obvious to many as well, but my perspective is that the few consistent “trolls” here aren’t in any sense, actual ND haters. Our boy harv, who showed up soon after ND punched its ticket to the natty, comes out a couple times a week to talk some ‘Bama football. Using terms like “roll damn tide!” and “Miamuh” when referring to the game that took place in Miami, doesn’t to me indicate any true allegiance to the Crimson Tide. It’s satire – and damn funny if you ask me.

    loadofwash is a bit more confounding – his handle has in fact shown up on articles about Penn State football as a supporter an apologist of Paterno, et al. Why he cares enough to ruffle some feathers of ND fans is a large part of the confusion to me, though. My conspiracy theory – sheep in wolf’s clothing (a PSU grad who grew up an Irish fan and couldn’t get in, still watches games, reads this blog and lives for the interplay among us).

    Why don’t we have any USC trolls or Wolverines on here trying to get a rise? Do they not know of our sensitivity and eagerness to debate? We’re a massive target – I’d love to hear from some trolls of the programs we actually despise. It would get so ugly – and it would be beautiful!

    Sorry for the off-topic musings, work is a little slow today….

    • irishinmich - Jun 18, 2013 at 5:19 PM

      Well said, MC!

    • seadomer - Jun 18, 2013 at 7:29 PM

      Yep, I concur … I would love a USC troll.
      Also reading further down, had no idea why PSU supporters have with ND …I guess we have the right combo of brains and brawn. Mendoza #1.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jun 18, 2013 at 9:55 PM

        Hunter Bivin is the real deal can’t wait to see him play.

        Regarding seadomer’s comment about a good SC troll, there was a guy on here when I first started posting several years back. He was witty, intelligent and infuriating because we were in the midst of a long dry spell against the Trojans. I got so pissed at him I said something to the effect that when I think of Trojans, I think too bad your father didn’t use one, or words to that effect. Not my best stuff, I admit. I forget his screen name though. Any old timers remember? Keith? Also, there was RobertG who used to post with regularity on here. He was a crazy, USC possessed maniac who was not afraid to share his long winded diatribes about NCAA conspiracy theories. He was a true wacko who used to light this board up quite frequently. I don’t really miss either of those nudnicks so just be careful what you wish for. Remember, speaketh the name of the beast and he shall appear.

      • ndbcs2013 - Jun 19, 2013 at 1:09 AM

        Oh man, that RobertG was a seriously crazy dude – I had forgotten about him! A disbarred lawyer if I’m not mistaken, this guy would go on these 20 paragraph rants about how he and some supposed group of crazies were suing the NCAA for an endless list of purported wrongs. Nope, I do not miss that guy!

    • dudeacow - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:25 PM

      What about sinister23? He’s a Wolverine fan.

  5. padomer - Jun 18, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Very excited about Bivin, from all accounts, it seems as though he is the most heralded of the very talented OL group of the IrishMob. Just read today on about another KY prospect who seems to be high on ND. Apparently we just offered him a few days ago and is very interested to learn more, has us in his top 5 upon the offer. He plays DT and tips the scale at 365lbs (6’6)! For obvious reasons, DL is and should be priority no. 1 from here on out, and getting size like that in the Bend will be a step toward a bright future.

  6. padomer - Jun 18, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    haha MC, you may be on to something. I will say though, where I live in PA (and throughout PA) Penn State fans absolutely loathe ND. I have no idea why. They truly hate ND more than OSU or MICH. a highlight in my young fanhood of ND was when ND smoked PSU in the Bend in Charlie’s first or second year, made for priceless looks amongst my PSU friends. The next year PSU returned the favor and smoked us, the first year when Ty Willingham’s empty cupboards were glaringly exposed. But that win for the PSU fans around meant more to them than winning the BCS champ So yea, ND is public enemy uno for PSU fans…for whatever reason.

  7. thefightinfloyds - Jun 18, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    There was a rivalry between PSU and ND back in the 80s, it was mostly due to the coaches. Once PSU joined the Big 10 the series went away. We see a lot of this, ND recruits nationally and have always played a national schedule dating back to Rockne so a lot of schools consider ND somewhat of a rival.

    Check that out and you will see how many schools have called ND a rival at one point… some surprises in there too; North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Wisconsin…

  8. mtflsmitty - Jun 18, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    Great read, Keith. Should be a great series. Thank you.

  9. loadofwash - Jun 18, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    Do we know if this youngster has any make believe friends? Would make sense with a fan base that lives in the make believe world; how bout that last game! De-fence!

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jun 19, 2013 at 12:05 AM

      My guess is that guys who seek out other team blogs for trolling purposes probably only have make believe friends. And your mom won’t let them come over to hang out in her basement.

  10. seadomer - Jun 19, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    Thanks JSnd fan,

    No … not that kind … I remember those seemingly strong SC years (… puke in mouth … gargle gargle)
    Every QB got to be named Matt or Mark. Did you know I was praying for Matt Barky to play.
    As far as I am concerned, ND has to beat SC 5 in a row for me to get the taste of bush push out WHILE SC holding a winning record. Beating a 4-6 team for e.g brings no pleasure.

    • papadec - Jun 19, 2013 at 6:32 PM

      I don’t care whether usc is undefeated, or hasn’t won a game, when we play them – I just want the Irish to kick the living shit out of them, every time we play them. Not that I have strong feelings on the outcome, or anything like that!

      • mtb1996 - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:51 PM

        papadec… I total share your feelings on that one. I live in the belly of the SC beast (Orange County CA) and so many of my friends and acquaintances are SC fans. I smile and make nice and all good sportsmanship-like on the outside, but oh I hate that freaking school so much and just want to beat the piss out of them every time!

  11. loadofwash - Jun 19, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    That horrific and historic BCS loss was like a bowl ban for about the next 4/5 yrs, at least past the Kelly tenure. The good recruits know that even if the fan base is ignorant to it. Good luck Dallas cowboys of the NCAA.

  12. loadofwash - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    I wonder if recruits take notice that south bend is a pit?

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