It may sound like a broken record at this point, but Notre Dame may have their next great offensive lineman on campus in Tommy Kraemer. The state’s player of the year in Ohio, Kraemer was a nationally recruited tackle prospect that Harry Hiestand targeted and landed early.
With a chance to contribute at right guard and a likely serve as a back-up at both tackle positions, Kraemer could jump the line in a depth chart that’s had some of the finest recruiting in the country over the past five seasons. But that’s a testament to Kraemer’s abilities and the staff’s belief in his football acumen as well.
6’5″, 310 lbs.
A Top-50, elite level recruit. Finished at No. 27 on 247 Sports’ composite ranking. The Gatorade State Player of the Year for Ohio, a 2015 Army All-American, MaxPreps first-team All-American, All-Ohio D-I first team, and the 2015 Enquirer Media Ohio All-State first team.
Turned down Ohio State and Michigan before committing to Notre Dame very early in the process.
Comparing anybody to Zack Martin isn’t fair, but Kraemer shares many of Martin’s attributes. He’s not the biggest or most physically imposing, but Kraemer’s Football IQ has the staff comfortable with inserting him into a position battle for a starting job and from being one snap away at a tackle position.
How long will it take Kraemer to find a starting job? What position will he end up at? And can he really be Notre Dame’s lineman of the year for four-straight seasons? (Probably not.) But it would surprise nobody if Kraemer played from jump street and spent four years excelling before a career in the NFL.
If Notre Dame can redshirt Kraemer, they’d be wise to do so. That’d mean they survived at tackle with Mike McGlinchey and Alex Bars, and also found a starter at right guard from a collection of talent that range from young (Tristen Hoge) to old (Hunter Bivin).
But Kraemer may be too good not to redshirt. If that’s the case, he’ll likely start out on the inside while backing up both tackle spots, knowing that the depth chart on the outside is shakier than it should be after the early departure of Ronnie Stanley.
The value of a redshirt (Martin, Stanley, McGlinchey, Nelson) shouldn’t be lost. Especially if someone else can ascend and play good football at right guard. But Kraemer is a building block for the future. The timing is still just TBD.
2016’s Irish A-to-Z
Torii Hunter Jr.
Tony Jones Jr.