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Irish A-to-Z: Chase Hounshell

Jul 15, 2014, 12:43 PM EDT


Entering his senior season, Chase Hounshell‘s career has been defined by what’s kept him off the field, not his performance on it. While the Ohio native was one of the earliest freshmen contributors along a defensive line filled with much more heralded prospects, multiple shoulder injuries have rendered his next two seasons obsolete, forcing Hounshell to look retirement in the eyes before getting up and going back to rehab.

That decision looks to have finally paid dividends, as Hounshell made it through spring practice healthy and looks to take on a very important reserve role at defensive tackle behind Sheldon Day. What the Irish will get out of the Ohio native is a huge question mark, though it’s clear that Hounshell’s effort and determination won’t be.

Let’s take a closer look at the star-crossed senior defensive lineman.


6’4.5″ 271 lbs.
Senior, No. 50



Hounshell was an early Florida commitment, pledging to Urban Meyer, a rarity for an Ohio-based defensive lineman going down to the SEC. But that says something about Hounshell’s high school production, and the two-way prep lineman was one of the state’s top players.

But after Meyer “retired,” Hounshell took an official visit to Notre Dame. Not long after, he committed to the Irish, spurning Will Muschamp’s new staff, along with offers from Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin and others.

Here’s what Brian Kelly had to say about Hounshell on Signing Day.

“He’s somebody that gives us, again, great versatility, great motor. Continues to play right to the whistle. And, again, you can’t have enough of these kinds of profile players,” Kelly said, seeing Hounshell as a perfect fit at 3-4 defensive end. “He’s a very tough and aggressive kid. He takes great care of himself. He’s physically in great shape. Loves to work out. Nutrition is key to him. He just has all those components that we’re looking for in our defensive linemen. Very conscious of his body and taking care of himself and plays the game from sideline to sideline and never takes a play off.”



Freshman Season (2011): After injuries to veterans Sean Cwynar and Ethan Johnson, Hounshell played in seven games down the stretch for the Irish. All four of his tackles came against Air Force. Originally tore his labrum against Navy, playing out the season injured before offseason surgery.

Sophomore Season (2012): Played in the season opener against Navy, but re-injured his shoulder. Did not play the rest of the season.

Junior Season (2013): Re-injured his right shoulder during spring drills, missed the entire season after labrum and shoulder reconstruction. Began practicing with the team near the end of the season, but was held out to compete in the spring.



Any “potential” was likely flushed down the toilet as his shoulder injuries began to pile up. At this point Hounshell is a hardened veteran, with his ability to contribute likely tied to his ability to get complete health out of a shoulder that’s been surgically repaired multiple times.

It’s hard not to feel bad for a kid that’s suffered as much as Hounshell has during his short time at Notre Dame, with one Tweet from Hounshell encapsulating his career in South Bend.

Even if Hounshell isn’t the player that Notre Dame recruited, he’s walking into a depth chart that’s actually set up for his success. He and Tony Springmann are coming off of significant injuries, but they’re also veterans equipped to help this team immediately.

Hounshell isn’t a perfect fit at defensive tackle. He’ll need to use speed, athleticism and a high motor to battle through the physical limitations that come with playing probably 20 pounds lighter than the ideal. But if he’s able to trust his body and find a niche, he’s capable of contributing to an Irish defense that’s in need of interior linemen.



At this point, anything the Irish get out of Hounshell should be considered a bonus. Every live rep he takes will give Sheldon Day a much needed breather and help the Irish play with some mature bodies at the point of attack. Hounshell’s reputation as a workout warrior will be of great help — and if he’s able to find a spot in the Irish rotation, it’ll be music to the ears of Kelly, Brian VanGorder and line coach Mike Elston.

Still, it’s hard not to wonder how his shoulder will hold up in the trenches. His last surgery required more than just a simple labrum repair, and shoulder reconstruction had both Kelly and Hounshell wondering if it was time to retire from the game. He didn’t, and it’s allowed him to come into his senior season and be ready to contribute. But until he proves he can make it through a season, it’s hard not to see it as a ticking bomb.

Hounshell is the type of player you should root for. Even if he’s unable to produce at the highest of levels, getting him back on the field and healthy is only fair after spending the past two years watching.



The Irish A-to-Z
Josh Atkinson
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
Steve Elmer
Matthias Farley
Tarean Folston
Everett Golson
Jarrett Grace
Conor Hanratty
Eilar Hardy
Mark Harrell
Jay Hayes
Matt Hegarty
Mike Heuerman
Kolin Hill
Corey Holmes

  1. johngaltisspeaking - Jul 15, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    Big Ten Player

    • mtflsmitty - Jul 15, 2014 at 5:42 PM

      Early on I was pretty impressed with your “we” tactic. The way you were disguising your asinine anti-ND blather as constructive, honest criticism from within the ranks of ND fans was unique among the other losers who apparently have nothing better to do with their time.

      But seriously. You post here more than anyone else. I get it. It can be fun to irritate others. My 11yo daughter does it to her older siblings pretty commonly. But she’s 11. I presume you’re an adult. The fact you would get such a kick out of it that you would check the site every hour or so to see if there is another opportunity to be irritating says a lot about you.

      As for your approach being unique, well, you’re pretty much like all others who’ve come before you. There’s a long line of guys who’ve played this game before. They all needed jobs, or a pet, or something else to bring them joy. Eventually they found it someplace else.

      Here’s wishing you all the best on your search.

      (Bern and Nude, Yes. I know.)

      • irishmob89 - Jul 15, 2014 at 6:53 PM

        Just ignore John…he’s just a troll trying to get a rise out of people. He’s a smug, arrogant jackass that roots for USC and the SEC.

      • johngaltisspeaking - Jul 16, 2014 at 10:47 AM

        Smitty you are just like many of the ND fans I have met over the years you have your head buried so far up South Bend you can’t see the clear picture of the program. Rating players by Conference is just my unique way of stating who I think is elite, who has potential and who shouldn’t be on the field. Its an opinion either downvote it or move on. But to spend time and try an attempt at your textbook Psycho Babble really make you a hypocrite. Just because I think the SEC is the best conference in the country and that USC is gonna beat us this year doesn’t mean I am a troll or less of a ND fan. Sometimes you need cool on the ND Vice that controls your existence. Trust me not everything is perfect especially religious institutions.

      • mediocrebob - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:44 PM


        I understand your rating system however when most of the guys you’re talking about not being “SEC talent” hold offers from programs within the SEC, your theory falls flat on its face. But you are correct. You’re allowed to say what you want on here regardless of how much sense it makes. But at the same time, same rules apply for everyone, so accept people’s replies.

      • nudeman - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:23 PM

        I’m sort of enjoying galtis. He doesn’t annoy me, partially because I like the give and take and partially because his stuff isn’t difficult to dismantle. At all.

        I have him ranked a shade below HarvUpdyke and WAY below the other guy (whose name I’ve forgotten) who was slapping mediocrebob around.

        Sorry bob; nothing personal there; just thought some of his stuff like the daily updates on a “3-coiler” were humorous. Until galtis gets into toilet humor, he’s no match.

        Leads me to a question: Are the toilets better in the SEC too?

      • domerboyirish - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:51 PM

        Was that Paul Hargis?

      • mediocrebob - Jul 16, 2014 at 3:04 PM

        Still don’t get the ” slapping around” but sounds good nude. My thought is that a good troll is one that doesn’t repeat the same things daily. I’ve yet to see that. I used to think that anyone could troll. Guess it’s hard for a lot of people.

        Also John. You’re not an Irish fan. Your ” catholic institution ” comment gave that one away.

      • nudeman - Jul 16, 2014 at 3:20 PM

        Ok, how about “attempting to slap you around”?

        My real points are that a good troll is entertaining. Johngaltis is about a 4.
        Hargis was a 7 or an 8.

      • johngaltisspeaking - Jul 16, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        Wait so you are saying that you must be religious to be a fan ? Wait what about all of the students who are agnostic ?

      • mediocrebob - Jul 16, 2014 at 4:48 PM

        Nude- we’re on the same page.

        John- no the students that are at Notre Dame probably agree mostly for what the university stands for. You don’t have to be catholic to be accepted at a place like Notre Dame ( or any catholic schools that I’ve been associated with) but your comment clearly was meant as a knock on the university out of dislike. Much like most of your comments on the board.

        Like I said, this is the forum for people like you. Do your thing. You’re not fooling anyone though. Most of the people like you spice up the site. However, you’re kind if boring.

      • notredameirish1980 - Jul 16, 2014 at 5:14 PM

        Now the essence of John is revealed. Those of us who were fortunate enough to attend Notre Dame love the school for what it is, warts and all. And as a non-Catholic, what I love about ND has nothing to do with religion, but rather the goodness and family that is at the heart of ND. God, Country, and Notre Dame is not a punch-line, but the basis for an education that will last you throughout your life. No words will adequately explain this without the experience to back it up, and I feel truly sorry for those whose hate blinds them.

    • shaunodame - Jul 15, 2014 at 5:48 PM

      Considering that the Big Ten landed 14 players on the AP All-American teams for 2013 I’m assuming this is a compliment. Right?

      • johngaltisspeaking - Jul 15, 2014 at 6:22 PM

        yeah he is good but not SEC Material

      • liv4nd - Jul 16, 2014 at 8:59 AM

        You are correct John…probably not SEC material. No criminal records AND they can read and write..

  2. mediocrebob - Jul 15, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    Hope for his sake he can stay healthy. Kid contributed as a true freshman. Urban Meyer wanted him badly to play SEC(!!!!) ball when he was at Florida. He can add some needed leadership. Kid could’ve easily packed it in already but he obviously loves the game and loves the University of Notre Dame. Good luck to him. He’s been through a lot.

  3. shaunodame - Jul 15, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    I’m sure he could easily land a Medical Hardship Waiver or even two for some extra years of eligibility but I’m not so sure ND will want to pledge a scholarship to him again and again. Similar to Ishaq Williams this feels like a make or break, now or never type of year for Chase. You have to respect his determination and his drive to keep fighting to come back tho. I’ll be in the Chase Hounshell corner this year wishing him health and success.

  4. don74 - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    I hope the kid has a great year and plays 11 games….I think he should sit against Navy.

  5. golfboy66 - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    what is this “we” s#&t? Just another wingnut with too much time on his hands. Back to your cave under the bridge. There you go……. Bye-bye

  6. newmexicoirish - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    The dedication and tenacity of a kid like Chase Hounshell absolutely overwhelms me. Because of his injuries, a future in the NFL may not be realistic. It’s my sincere hope and prayer that what remains of his playing career at Notre Dame is both successful and personally rewarding to him.

    Chase all the best to you – you are definitely the RKG!

    Go Irish!

  7. idratherbeinsouthbend - Jul 15, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    Don’t let ‘ole John Galt get to you…

    “No ones happiness but my own is in my power to achieve or destroy.”

    -anybody know who said that???

    • DPU Man ND Fan - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:07 AM

      Haven’t looked it up, but I suspect it is from a certain Ayn Rand book?

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:09 AM

        DePaul or DePauw?

    • 1historian - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      Sounds like John. I read the book 5 times but it is so wordy that that statement was made interminable times in interminable ways.

      Wow – did I really say that?

      Mille pardons.

      Can we get back to football?

      • papadec - Jul 16, 2014 at 3:58 PM

        hist – I fear you have been snowbound, down that dirt road, for far too long.

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Jul 16, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      Herb Tarlek?

  8. newmexicoirish - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:07 AM

    Winston Churchill?

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jul 16, 2014 at 1:07 AM

      they have google in new mexico?

  9. yaketyyacc - Jul 16, 2014 at 4:50 AM

    A player like Hounshell is responsible for as many victories, as the actual game player. facing adversity, coming back only to face further adversity and still coming back, is something that is not missed by his teammates. it is this quiet inspiration that encourages others to do their best.
    Now johngatisspeaking, you are 100% right, Hounshell is not SEC, he’s way above. HE’S NOTRE DAME.

  10. newmexicoirish - Jul 16, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    We do have Google in New Mexico. We’re actually one of the states in the Union. Geographically we’re the 5th largest state. We’re just south of Colorado wedged in between Arizona and Texas – it’s on all the maps – you can’t miss us!

    • dbldmr - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:17 AM

      It’s always funny to read New Mexico Magazine’s feature, “One of Our 50 Is Missing.” It’s amazing how many people don’t really believe NM is part of the Union. I live there part-time…one of the most striking landscapes in the US.

      • johngaltisspeaking - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        Say my name:

    • onward2victory - Jul 16, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      Do you know Walter White??

    • gbsk - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      I go to Espanola every year for a Yoga Summer Solstice Festival. Beautiful.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jul 16, 2014 at 11:53 PM

        You should tell people that you go Yoga Festival… just shouldn’t

  11. newmexicoirish - Jul 16, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Gentlemen I have lived in New Mexico most of my life. I think it’s one of the best kept secrets in the country – and to be honest I hope we can keep it that way! On the other hand don’t pass up an opportunity to visit. There’s a reason we’re referred to as The Land of Enchantment. We truly have some of the most beautiful landscape anywhere. Best time to visit is in the fall (late September into October). Worst time to visit is spring – unless you like wind.
    It’s my understanding that New Mexico has only made two contributions to the Irish football program in its entire history. MH has done a pretty good job representing the state.

    • bearcatirishfan - Jul 16, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      spent 11 days there when i was 15 in a place called philmont. It’s a boy scott ranch where you can backpack through the rockies. Definitely gorgeous out there. Spent some time in sante fe and Albuquerque as well. Would recommend a similar trip to anyone.

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