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Irish A-to-Z: Hunter Bivin

May 8, 2014, 1:57 AM EDT


While he spent his first year in the program with a redshirt on, Hunter Bivin is another promising offensive line prospect collected by Harry Hiestand. With the size of an offensive tackle and the ability to play both inside and out, Bivin is part of the next generation of lineman that Brian Kelly has been targeting and collecting at a very successful rate.

The wait to get onto the field might not come to an end in 2014, but Bivin has the physical tools and blend of athleticism and size to challenge for the starting center job once Nick Martin departs.

Let’s take a closer look at the soon-to-be sophomore from Owensboro, Kentucky.

6’5.5″, 291 lbs.
Sophomore, No. 70


Another blue-chip prospect, Bivin was a consensus top 250 player, with 247 ranked him among the elite in the country. A first-team All-Kentucky offensive lineman, Bivin was also an honorable mention selection on the Parade All-American team as well as a USA Under-18 team and Under Armour All-American.

Bivin collected offers from elite programs, with Florida, LSU, Miami, Oklahoma, Michigan and Ohio State giving chase. He committed to Notre Dame early, pledging in March. Bivin was a starter on his high school basketball team that won the Kentucky 3A state title and won a state title in the shot put.



Freshman Season (2013): Did not see game action.



Theoretically, Bivin’s ceiling hasn’t been adjusted since he entered Notre Dame with sky high expectations. But where Bivin plays along the offensive line still seems to be up for grabs. Spring ball isn’t always the best indicator for playing time, especially with the Irish needing additional depth to get two full units. So if Bivin struggled a bit at left tackle then that’s to be expected. He was filling a hole, not necessarily competing for time.

It still appears that Bivin’s best position will be on the interior of the offensive line. That gives him some time before he’s needed to contribute, with development still necessary for the raw but promising athlete.

This is the time of year where finding a way to crack the lineup always seems toughest. But as last season showed us, a depth chart is only as good as its weakest position, and Bivin will likely spend some time playing on special teams before getting a chance to compete for a job at center or guard.



When it’s all said and done, expect Bivin to be the Irish’s next starting center after Nick Martin. That it means he could wait two more seasons to see the starting lineup is a sign that everything went according to plan.

Athletically, Bivin has everything needed to be an elite college football player. And with no time constraints to see the field, Harry Hiestand can continue to mold Bivin to his liking, taking the athlete impressive enough to win state titles in basketball and shot put and turn him into a gifted player.

The battle up front will be one worth watching over the next few years, especially as Christian Lombard and Martin move on. But Bivin looks like the kind of player who has what it takes to win a starting job… even if it’s not right away.


The Irish A-to-Z
Josh Atkinson
Nicky Baratti
Alex Bars

  1. yaketyyacc - May 8, 2014 at 6:44 AM

    thanks for the photo. Well, Bivins shows just how loaded the Irish are. Imagine a player that was sought by the better football programs fighting to break into the starting position. Stay with it Bivins, make whoever is slightly ahead of you sweat for that right. you are a good man, and I am sure you know the saying, “u can’t keep a good man down.” go Irish go!

  2. blackirish23 - May 8, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    How come when we discuss an offensive lineman having to wait two years before seeing any real playing time, we see that as a positive and no one screams transfer!! And yet that same patience goes out of the window when discussing QB’s or skill positions in general, even when the person starting has the experience and skill to keep the job (i.e. Golson vs. Zaire). Just thinking out loud.

    • 4horsemenrideagain - May 8, 2014 at 12:19 PM

      I suppose the expectation for on o-lineman coming in is different from a skill position. the skill guy may actually be physically able to compete, while the o-line guy needs a year on the weight/strength and conditioning program to genuinely be able to handle the abuse of his position.

      the mental aspect, meaning recognition and reaction to schemes probably plays a part too.

    • mtflsmitty - May 8, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      I like your though, BlackIrish. I agree with 4H. But I’d also add that elite linemen, in addition to being big and strong, are highly skilled technicians. The kid next door grew up to be a D1 DT. He’s now a junior. Last summer he was telling me about what he’s up against when playing savvy, experienced OL. In addition to amazing strides in footwork, these guys learn all sorts of subtle tactics to gain huge advantages with their hands. Apparently, it’s pretty difficult to master.

    • whiskeystraight - May 9, 2014 at 12:25 AM

      There is only one QB on the field. With five offensive line positions anything can happen. Last year three starters went down with injury, opening the door for backups. The odds are in your favor that you will play significant minutes if you are a top 7-8 lineman at ND. At QB you might never play if the starter is healthy.

  3. knuterocknesghost - May 8, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    I second 4hourse’s reference to the notion that time is needed for strength and weight development for O-lineman. The fiscal traits or “gifts” of being bigger and stronger most often take time and can be developed. Speed and quickness for skill players? Those physical traits or gifts are there from the day these players walk onto campus and cannot be developed or improved to the same extent. By comparison, most lineman do not come in ready made physically to play at a high level. Still, both groups have something of a learning curve to tackle before they are able to be deemed ready to play. But the physical readiness to play is quite different for lineman versus skilled position players .

    If your inquiry is more about the unstated assumption that a skilled player’s patience is likely to run out, but far less so for an O-lineman, then what does history suggest? Once on campus, how many O-linesman have bolted versus skilled players? And even if history were to suggest that the odds are the same between these two position groups, which loss is more keenly felt by a football team? E.g., how many QBs are on the field at a time and how deep are most teams when it comes to experienced and talented QBs? Which players are of greater concern to a team?

  4. jmset3 - May 15, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    Isn’t Kentucky all one class for high school basketball?

  5. toconnell14 - May 17, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    I agree with everything you are saying except for the center part. Considering that we should have Martin and Heagarty at Center for the next 2 years, I assume that Hoge would be put in place for center. He’s one of the best in the class and I would think Bivin would be better suited playing guard than center considering his quickness and ability. I would expect vets to back up Martin until Hoge RS and then starts his sophomore year

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