Mike McGlinchey

Freshman Focus: Mike McGlinchey

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If you’re looking for a developmental prospect along the offensive line, there might be no better candidate than Philadelphia native Mike McGlinchey. With a frame that seems like a mold breaker and the size and athleticism to play the post for Mike Brey, McGlinchey is a true tackle prospect on an offensive line that often times resembles five guards.

While early enrollee Steve Elmer looks like the type of player that could slide in at left tackle after Zack Martin heads to the NFL, McGlinchey gives Harry Hiestand a big body they can be patient with at right tackle, and a guy with athleticism that excites the coaching staff.

Let’s take a closer look at McGlinchey.

RECRUITING PEDIGREE

Notre Dame wasn’t the only school that saw a budding star at offensive tackle, with McGlinchey receiving plenty of impressive offers. Long thought to be a Penn State lean, McGlinchey took an unofficial visit to South Bend and was ready to commit in short order.

A four-star, top 250 type player, McGlinchey turned down Florida, Florida State, Boston College, Michigan, Miami and Wisconsin among about a dozen others, with the Irish landing a two-sport star that they think could become something special.

“He’s another young man that has the athleticism to play the tackle position, but he’s athletic enough that he’s played tight end,” Brian Kelly said on Signing Day. “We were really impressed with the way he played basketball. He was a ferocious competitor, ran well, and is somebody that is going to continue to get stronger physically.”

EARLY PLAYING TIME OPPORTUNITIES

In short, there’s next to no pressure on McGlinchey to see the field early. With a lot of growing into his body to do, nor should there be. With Zack Martin, Christian Lombard and Ronnie Stanley the Irish look like they have three tackles that Kelly and Hiestand can trust to play at a BCS level. Behind that, there’s a belief that true freshman Steve Elmer can step in and contribute if needed. After that? Well, it could get interesting.

Health along the offensive line — or at least healthy depth — won’t truly come until the 2014 season, when McGlinchey and Elmer will have a season under their belt, Lombard will be in his fifth year, and Stanley will be entering his third season (but just his sophomore year of eligibility thanks to a season-ending elbow injury). With Quenton Nelson and Alex Bars set for ’14, things start to look healthy quick.

PROJECTING THE FUTURE

Speaking to some people around the program, there’s a belief that McGlinchey could be a future star. He’s got the athleticism this staff covets along with some badly needed size. After losing prospects like Jordan Prestwood and Tate Nichols, the Irish have suffered some tough luck up front, and back-to-back recruiting classes in ’13 and ’14 will restock the offensive line.

If Elmer, Stanley and McGlinchey all develop, it could give the Irish the opportunity to shift Christian Lombard inside in ’14, opening up a job for the winners of the positional battle. Right now, it appears that it’s Elmer and Stanley with the inside tracks, but it’s up to McGlinchey to work hard in the weight room and turn into the type of athletic and massive tackle prospect that swallows up defensive ends.

We still haven’t been able to see how Brian Kelly likes to truly use his offensive linemen, as creating depth and keeping players fresh really hasn’t been possible with numbers being what they were. That critical lack of bodies up front killed the Irish in the run-up to last season’s BCS Championship, and still leaves them susceptible to injuries derailing the front five. But in the near future as the Irish begin war-chesting some impressive prospects, we’ll get to see how the staff successfully gets talented players on the field, and that could be the determining factor for a guy like McGlinchey.

 

Robertson picks Cal over Notre Dame, UGA

Demetris Robertson
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Demetris Robertson‘s decision wasn’t trending in Notre Dame’s direction. But those that expected the Savannah star athlete to pick the in-state Bulldogs were in for a surprise when Robertson chose Cal on Sunday afternoon.

Notre Dame’s pursuit of the five-star athlete, recruited to play outside receiver and hopefully replace Will Fuller, likely ended Sunday afternoon with Robertson making the surprise decision to take his substantial talents to Berkeley. And give credit to Robertson for doing what he said all along—picking a school that’ll give him the chance to earn an exceptional education and likely contribute from Day One.

“I am excited to take my talents to the University of California, Berkeley. The first reason is that the education was a big part of my decision. I wanted to keep that foundation,” Robertson said, per CFT. “When I went there, it felt like home. Me and the coaching staff have a great relationship. That’s where I felt were the best of all things for me.”

Adding one final twist in all of this is that Robertson has no letter-of-intent to sign. Because he’s blown three months through Signing Day, Robertson merely enrolls at a college when the time comes. That means until then, Kirby Smart and the Georgia staff will continue to sell Robertson on staying home and helping the Dawgs rebuild. Smart visited with Robertson Saturday night and had multiple assistant coaches at his track meet this weekend.

Summer school begins in June for Notre Dame. Their freshman receiving class looks complete with early enrollee Kevin Stepherson and soon-to-arrive pass-catchers Javon McKinley and Chase Claypool.

Sheldon Day drafted in 4th round by Jaguars

North Carolina v Notre Dame
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Former Notre Dame captain Sheldon Day didn’t have to wait long on Saturday to hear his name called. The Indianapolis native, All-American, and the Irish’s two-time defensive lineman of the year was pick number 103, the fourth pick of the fourth round on Saturday afternoon.

Day was the seventh Irish player drafted, following first rounders Ronnie Stanley and Will Fuller, second round selections Jaylon Smith and Nick Martin, and third rounders KeiVarae Russell and C.J. Prosise.

Day has a chance to contribute as he joins the 24th-ranked defense in the league. Joining a draft class heavy on defensive players—Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack and Yannick Ngakoue already picked ahead of him—the front seven will also include last year’s No. 3 overall pick Dante Fowler, who missed the entire season with a knee injury.

Scouted by the Jaguars at the Senior Bowl, Day doesn’t necessarily have the size to be a traditional defensive tackle. But under Gus Bradley’s attacking system (Bradley coordinated the Seahawks defense for four seasons), Day will find a niche and a role in a young defense that’s seen a heavy investment the past two years.

Smith, Martin, Russell and Prosise all drafted Friday night

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 13: William Fuller #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Nick Martin #72 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate a touchdown during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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Jaylon Smith, Nick Martin, KeiVarae Russell and C.J. Prosise were all selected on Friday, with four Irish teammates taken on the second night of the NFL Draft. As mentioned, Smith came off the board at pick 34, with the Cowboys gambling on the injured knee of the Butkus Award winner. Nick Martin was selected at pick 50, joining former teammate Will Fuller in Houston.

The third round saw Russell and Prosise come off the board, with Kansas City jumping on the confident cornerback and the Seahawks taking Notre Dame’s breakout running back. It capped off a huge night for the Irish with Sheldon Day, one of the more productive football players in college football, still on the board for teams to pick.

Here’s a smattering of instant reactions from the immediate aftermath.

 

 

Jaylon Smith goes to Dallas with 34th pick

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 07:  Jaylon Smith #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates by wearing the hat of team mascot, Lucky The Leprechaun, following their 42-30 win against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field on November 7, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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Jaylon Smith’s nightmare is over.

After watching his football life thrown into chaos with a career-altering knee injury, Smith came off the board after just two picks in the second round, selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 34th pick. His selection ended the most challenging months of Smith’s young life, and come after cashing in a significant tax-free, loss-of-value insurance policy that’ll end up being just shy of a million dollars.

No, it’s not top-five money like Smith could’ve expected if he didn’t get hurt. But Smith isn’t expected to play in 2016.

And while there was a pre-draft fascination that focused on the doom and gloom more than the time-consuming recovery, it’s worth pointing out that Dallas’ medical evaluation comes from the source—literally. After all, it was the Cowboys team doctor, Dr. Dan Cooper, who performed the surgery to repair Smith’s knee.

Smith joins Ezekiel Elliott with the Cowboys, arguably the two best position players in the draft. While he might not be available in 2016, Smith will be under the supervision of the Cowboys’ medical staff, paid a seven-figure salary to get healthy with the hopes that he’ll be back to his All-American self sooner than later, especially as the nerve in his knee returns to full functionality.