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Irish A-to-Z: Steve Elmer

Jun 28, 2014, 5:36 PM EDT

Elmer AP

Recruited to be the next Zack Martin, sophomore Steve Elmer is on track to becoming the next Chris Watt. And that’s a very good thing for Harry Hiestand’s offensive line, with the 6-foot-5.5 lineman a super-sized guard with the athleticism and physicality to play both inside or out.

An early enrollee who took advantage of a depth chart that needed him to be ready to step in and play, Elmer has done everything the coaching staff has asked of him, including play guard (both in 2013 and 2014), all in an effort to get the best five linemen onto the field.

Let’s take a closer look at Steve Elmer.


6’5.5″, 318 lbs.
Sophomore, No. 79



Elmer was an elite recruit, committing to the Irish very early in the process and sticking with Notre Dame until enrolling early. He had a bit of a roller coaster when it came to his overall ranking, but it was pretty clear the Irish staff identified Elmer as elite early and knew exactly what they were getting.

Elmer ended up a four-star prospect, a Top 100 talent that picked Notre Dame over home state Michigan. Here’s how Brian Kelly described Elmer when he announced the 2013 recruiting class.

“I think when you look at all the things, he’s got the size, he’s 6’5″, he’s got great feet, he’s 300 pounds right now, but looks like he could put on as many pounds as we need to in strength and conditioning with Steve,” Kelly said. “Bright, articulate, he fits all the profiles that we’re looking for with great feet, athleticism, can play on the edge, play the tackle position for us, and again, just a great student and a great young man.”

A perfect building block that became not just a top talent, but a great student-athlete.



Freshman Season (2013): Played in 10 games, starting four of them at right guard after Christian Lombard’s season ended with back surgery. Elmer shared playing time and the starting role with Conor Hanratty at Lombard’s guard spot.



The sky is the limit for Elmer, who still might end up a tackle both collegiately and at the next level. He’s the prototype of this “next wave” of Irish offensive linemen recruited by Harry Hiestand: bigger, stronger and more athletic than their predecessors.

Looking the part and actually playing to that level are two very different things. And in his second year of eligibility and first in a starting role, getting Elmer to play like an upperclassman and dominate when he’s really a true sophomore might be a challenge.

With Ronnie Stanley the preferred left tackle by Kelly and Heistand, and giant Mike McGlinchey given the first opportunity to step in at right tackle for Stanley, Elmer is another potential tackle playing on the interior. That should help add some thunder to the offensive line while making for a highly versatile Elmer — he’s still likely the first man in at either tackle position if an injury hits.



There are few linemen I like more than Elmer, a solid kid who is showing quite a bit of maturity by sliding inside to guard and taking one for the team. In the end, if he’s as good as we all tend to think, it could end up helping. A Swiss-Army lineman could do similar things in the eyes of NFL scouts as Zack Martin — and Elmer doesn’t have “size” issues that plagued Martin.

Putting him in Martin’s class is a bit premature. At least until we see him dominate like Martin did from the moment he hit the field. But Elmer didn’t get the benefit of redshirting like Martin did, so he has some work to do before he wins multiple lineman of the year awards at Notre Dame.

Ultimately, Elmer, Stanley and McGlinchey have the opportunity to do something very special and form a nucleus that will elevate the Irish offensive line to heights we haven’t seen.

(And no, I’m not talking about the trio being tall.)


The Irish A-to-Z
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Nicky Baratti
Alex Bars
Hunter Bivin
Grant Blankenship
Jonathan Bonner
Justin Brent
Kyle Brindza
Chris Brown
Jalen Brown
Greg Bryant
Devin Butler
Jimmy Byrne
Daniel Cage
Amir Carlisle
Austin Collinsworth
Ben Councell
Scott Daly
Sheldon Day
Michael Deeb

  1. irishmob89 - Jun 28, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    I love this kid. Great work ethic. Great attitude. And the best part, he picked us over Michigan. Elmer has all the tools to be an All-American when he reaches his full potential.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      Agree with you mobster and I’m having a hard time understanding why anybody would thumbs down your comment. Don’t you just love Internet anonymity? He’d never thumbs down you to your face.

      • papadec - Jun 29, 2014 at 2:10 AM

        Either a um fan that’s still upset about the future schedule, OR just one of the trolls on the loose again – could be one-and-the-same.

    • goirishgo - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:02 PM

      Almost word for word what I was thinking. I love this kid!

  2. mattymill - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    Even though the OL lost a couple studs to the NFL, is it too crazy to think they could actually be better as a unit? With Harry’s boys up front and the 3-headed monster (+Golson) in the backfield – no reason the Irish can’t pound the ball at will vs most their opponents. Go Irish!

    • papadec - Jun 29, 2014 at 2:13 AM

      matty – that’s pretty much what I have my money riding on – all the way to the promised land of a NC.

  3. yaketyyacc - Jun 29, 2014 at 6:58 AM

    you’re right Keith. Elmer is not in a class with Martin. He’s in a class by himself, and better than Martin, which makes for a very good offensive line.
    and tell coach Kelly he can say Notre Dame. and not …he is good for “us”. Notre Dame is still not inside him.

    • mediocrebob - Jun 29, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      There’s no way you could say he’s in a league above where Zach Martin was. That’s absurd. Haven’t seen nearly enough of him to make that call. He has potential to be.

      And this nonsense about Kelly…are you serious? I usually don’t mind your posts but come on bud. The Irish finally have a coach that gets it. Enjoy it. Won’t last forever.

  4. onward2victory - Jun 29, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    Hilliard and Cornell to announce at the same time on Wednesday? That makes me really nervous that they’re gonna go OSU…

    • johngaltisspeaking - Jun 29, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      I watched the notre dame bowl game on Saturday night. I hope that Brian K has this team playing better. the pinstripe bowl was awful.

      • mediocrebob - Jun 29, 2014 at 5:55 PM

        You’re observant. You must really know the game. Thanks for your insight.

    • johngaltisspeaking - Jun 29, 2014 at 11:41 PM

      Both of them to Ohio State. Look at what Urban has already achieved at Ohio State. I just watched the ND Bowl Game and man we need some serious help. We just are not a great team. When you win you get the recruits. I dont think we close a top 15 class this year. We will have the highest amount of 3 star prospects every signed.

      • 1historian - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        When is Patrick Henry U. going to field a team?

    • upthera44 - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:10 AM

      Ya, I don’t mean to be a downer, but I assume they’re going to OSU. Several reasons:

      1) Recruiting experts at 247 and elsewhere all seem to overwhelmingly predict both to OSU. Since I don’t spend all day reading these kids’ twitters and searching for rumors, I assume they know much more than I do.

      2) Announcing at same time and they want to play together. Cornell has just visited OSU a few days ago and hasn’t been to ND for months.

      3) Hilliard seems like a good kid and probably a decent fit for ND, but how many of these blue chippers flirt with the idea of Notre Dame and ultimately turn it down? It’s like ‘yea mom and dad, this would be a great place, but ultimately I want to be treated like a star, have no responsibilities, do nothing but football and party and then jump to the NFL.’ Ehh, it’s depressing.

      • johngaltisspeaking - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:22 AM

        I have tried to explain this to everyone on these boards but nobody listens. If your a blue chip recruit where would you want to place your future in the hands of Urban who has won HUGE or Brian K the coach with the luck 2012 year. There is no luck with Ohio State winning big twice in a row. Hillard is an excellent player and even though the education is good at Notre Dame I think he can play for a better coach and get a very good education. Also Ohio State is setup to win. They play a good solid schedule unlike Notre Dame who think they can beat all the top teams. Hillard to Ohio State because he will have way more success. Plain and Simple !

      • upthera44 - Jun 30, 2014 at 11:58 AM

        Galt, your troll posts will soon be completely ignored, but for now I’ll give a response. You immediately have zero credibility when you claim OSU’s schedule is harder than Notre Dame’s. That is an absolute knee-slapper. According to the NCAA Notre Dame has the 4th hardest schedule in the country this year (strength of schedule), while OSU has the 35th hardest:

        Need I remind you about OSU’s games vs. Kent State, Cincinnati, Indiana, Navy, Rutgers and Maryland, not to mention some of the less than daunting Big 10 teams like Minnesota.

        I wouldn’t call Urban’s term at OSU mind-blowing yet. One undefeated season (with a weak schedule) in a year that didn’t matter and another 12-2 season getting beat handily by the only really tough teams on the schedule.

        As someone who is a phd student at Ohio State (and also has followed the academic and other scandals there) I can attest to the joke of a comparison between the OSU and Notre Dame academic experience.

        So, wrong on all points.

      • johngaltisspeaking - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:57 PM

        upthera44 – MR PHD Student I would highly suggest going back and reading my post again. Either that or learn to read.

  5. danirish - Jun 29, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    O-Line, O-Line, O-Line!


  6. yaketyyacc - Jun 30, 2014 at 6:32 AM

    mediocrebob… it is just my opinion, still think Elmer will excel, and still think, that yes, while Coach Kelly sure has done good for Notre Dame, he just isn’t Notre Dame.

    • johngaltisspeaking - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Yes I agree I think Brian K added some toughness in our players but from a coaching standpoint he is not cutting it. The great coaches can turn a winning football team into greatness fast. Guz Malzahn, Urban, Saban, Fisher, Miles, Stoops. These guys are proven winners and will get it done no matter where they are. Brian K could win in the Big East but he is not with the likes of the big boys. I get we won 12 games in 2012 but the end result was a joke. When you get to the Big one and play it safe you have solidified yourself as a marginal coach.

      • 1historian - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:17 AM

        Hate to agree with you because I think BK has done his absolute best but I have to. It don’t mean a thing without that ring. If BK wins one he is big-time, until then – he’s not. If he wins one i’ll gladly take back this post.

  7. upthera44 - Jun 30, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    I do love that our OLine is in such good shape. It should be paying dividends soon that we only scratched the surface of in the last couple years

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