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Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 57 Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman

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Listed Measurements: 6-foot-3 ½, 303 pounds
2017-18 year, eligibility: Junior with three years of eligibility remaining including 2017
Depth chart: Ruhland provides a crucial piece of depth along the interior of the offensive line. Along with fifth-year senior Hunter Bivin, Ruhland could spell either guard.
Recruiting: A rivals.com three-star prospect, Ruhland shut down his recruitment 10 months before National Signing Day even though he had interest from Big Ten schools such as Wisconsin, Nebraska and Minnesota. Rivals rated Ruhland as the No. 6 player in Illinois in 2015 and the No. 30 in the country at his position.

CAREER TO DATE
Ruhland preserved a year of eligibility in 2015 and saw action in nine games last season.

2015 NATIONAL SIGNING DAY HIGHLIGHT REEL

WHAT KEITH ARNOLD PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
With John Montelus back on the offensive line and shifting outside to right tackle in fall camp, Ruhland will be among the depth battling to get into the two-deep at guard. What looks like a three-man race at right guard likely means Colin McGovern could slide over to the left side behind Nelson, keeping Ruhland as a third-stringer, nothing to be upset about at this point.

“There are opportunities coming — especially with Nelson capable of heading to the NFL after this season and other pieces coming and going. So I’m capping my expectations for Ruhland’s 2016 at a few mop-up time snaps, and maybe securing some special teams work.”

2017 OUTLOOK
Don’t take this the wrong way: The Irish hope Ruhland does not see much action in 2017. If he does see significant playing time, that is a sign of equally-significant injuries along Notre Dame’s offensive line.

Bivin will be the first backup to see action if fifth-year senior left tackle Mike McGlinchey, senior left guard Quenton Nelson or senior right guard Alex Bars were to suffer an injury. Bivin would also see imminent playing time if senior center Sam Mustipher went down, as Irish coach Brian Kelly has indicated Bars would slide to the middle. If Bivin is already filling in for one of those spots and another injury were to occur, Ruhland would be the likely next man in. (At right tackle, whoever finishes second in the competition between sophomores Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg will naturally back up the winner.)

This is not an indictment of Ruhland. Depth is needed. This is football, after all. Injuries occur. But Notre Dame would certainly rather escape the season without much more than a turned ankle along the offensive front line.

DOWN THE ROAD
Still largely an unknown, Ruhland will have his chance to make an impression when Nelson heads to the NFL following this season. Along with some of the incoming freshmen — namely Dillan Gibbons and early enrollee Robert Hainsey — Ruhland will be in the mix to fill that starting role. In both last year’s and 2015’s A-to-Z entries regarding Ruhland, Keith preached patience, and rightfully so. The opportunity presented by Nelson’s moving on will be the moment Keith was looking toward for Ruhland’s future.


2017’s Notre Dame 99-to-2
Friday at 4: Goodbye A-to-Z, hello 99-to-2 (May 12)
No. 99: Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end
No. 97: Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah, defensive tackle
No. 95 (theoretically): Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 94 (theoretically): Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle
No. 93: Jay Hayes, defensive end
No. 92 (theoretically): Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90 (theoretically): Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87 (theoretically): Jafar Armstrong, receiver
No. 86: Alizé Mack, tight end
No. 85: Tyler Newsome, punter
No. 84 (theoretically): Michael Young, receiver
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 82: Nic Weishar, tight end
No. 81: Miles Boykin, receiver
No. 80: Durham Smythe, tight end
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right tackle
No. 77: Brandon Tiassum, defensive tackle
No. 75: Daniel Cage, defensive tackle
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, right tackle
No. 73: (theoretically) Josh Lugg, offensive tackle
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle
No. 71: Alex Bars, offensive lineman
No. 70: Hunter Bivin, offensive lineman
No. 69: Aaron Banks, offensive lineman
No. 68: Mike McGlinchey, left tackle
No. 67: Jimmy Byrne, offensive lineman
No. 65: (theoretically) Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman
No. 58: Elijah Taylor, defensive tackle

TRANSFERS
No. 66: Tristen Hoge, offensive lineman, transfers to BYU
No. 50: Parker Boudreaux, offensive lineman
No. 30: Josh Barajas, linebacker, to transfer to Illinois State

INJURIES
No. 13: Tyler Luatua, tight end, career ended by medical hardship

Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 58 Elijah Taylor, defensive tackle

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Listed Measurements: 6-foot-3, 280 pounds
2017-18 year, eligibility: Junior with three years of eligibility remaining including 2017
Depth chart: A LisFranc fracture early in spring practice clouds Taylor’s placement on the depth chart. Before the injury, he was backing up senior Jonathan Bonner at defensive tackle, perhaps getting ready to challenge for that starting position. If he returns fully healthy, Taylor will now compete with junior Micah Dew-Treadway for that support role.
Recruiting: A rivals.com three-star recruit, Taylor boasted an offer sheet typical a more-heralded prospect, including the likes of Florida State, Michigan State and Miami. The No. 39 defensive tackle in the class per rivals, Notre Dame’s most serious competition for Taylor’s commitment came from Ohio State.

CAREER TO DATE
Taylor preserved a year of eligibility in 2015. Last season, he saw action in four games, including the final three. Now-senior Daniel Cage missed the last four games of the year, creating a need for another big body on the defensive interior, hence an increase in action for Taylor.

With Cage out, Taylor recorded his first career tackles in the first half against USC, notching three takedowns including one for a loss.

QUOTE(S)
Taylor’s LisFranc injury changed the trajectory of his spring from contending for playing time to worrying about rehab. Irish coach Brian Kelly was optimistic about Taylor’s chances at being ready for fall camp.

“Typical LisFranc fractures, we’ve had good success with their repairs,” Kelly said in March. “[Taylor] got stepped on in the second practice. We’ll be able to train around the injury. Full range of motion moving around and doing things in June. Probably full clearance sometime in July.”

Per the South Bend Tribune’s Mike Vorel, Kelly pushed that timeline back toward August earlier this week while speaking at The Kelly Cares Foundation’s annual golf invite. Kelly still expects Taylor to be ready for the start of camp in August, though.

WHAT KEITH ARNOLD PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
If Taylor can find his way into the rotation, it’s a successful season. Because if Jarron Jones stays motivated and Daniel Cage can shake off a few training camp bumps and bruises, this will be a stout interior.

“The defensive tackle group is lacking guys who can step in for Sheldon Day. [Current junior] Jerry Tillery is going to have first crack at that and Jon Bonner is still an option as a guy who hasn’t shown much yet.

“I think Taylor is a role player at best — mainly in the trenches. If he can jump ahead of guys like Bonner and [senior] Pete Mokwuah, he’ll be a two-deep player. I’d call that a successful season as a redshirt freshman.”

2017 OUTLOOK
The timing of all injuries is unfortunate, but Taylor’s LisFranc fracture truly came at an inopportune time for his career progression. The opportunity was there for Taylor to establish himself as a known presence in the two-deep roster. Instead, he will have to work his way back into the rotation once healthy, and LisFranc fractures can be fickle, despite Kelly’s confidence. Such concerns come with routinely placing 300-plus pounds of force on the intricate bone structure of a foot.

For this exercise, let’s presume Taylor is indeed healthy by the start of August drills. If he can match Dew-Treadway, Taylor will likely be given the edge by the coaching staff partly in deference to the time lost to injury and partly due to projecting a higher ceiling. At that point, Taylor will be called on plenty to provide relief for Bonner, who while not undersized for the defensive interior, is far from a looming force at 6-foot-3 ½ and 284 listed pounds.

Incoming freshmen Darnell Ewell and Kurt Hinish will add to the defensive tackle depth this spring, and unlike most freshmen, they will have a chance at playing time due to the unproven and shallow nature of the position group as is. Ewell, especially, could force the issue. While he is more likely to line up behind Tillery on the depth chart, an additional capable body will impact the playing time of everyone in the mix.

DOWN THE ROAD
Cage will be out of eligibility following this season. Tillery will likely have an NFL Draft decision to make. While the Irish would assuredly prefer he returns, if he went it would create ample opportunity for Taylor—and Dew-Treadway and, even more so, Ewell and Hinish.

Of the Dew-Treadway/Taylor/classmate Brandon Tiassum grouping, Taylor may have the clearest path to capitalizing on that experience vacuum in the future. He needs to get healthy first, obviously.


2017’s Notre Dame 99-to-2
Friday at 4: Goodbye A-to-Z, hello 99-to-2 (May 12)
No. 99: Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end
No. 97: Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah, defensive tackle
No. 95 (theoretically): Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 94 (theoretically): Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle
No. 93: Jay Hayes, defensive end
No. 92 (theoretically): Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90 (theoretically): Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87 (theoretically): Jafar Armstrong, receiver
No. 86: Alizé Mack, tight end
No. 85: Tyler Newsome, punter
No. 84 (theoretically): Michael Young, receiver
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 82: Nic Weishar, tight end
No. 81: Miles Boykin, receiver
No. 80: Durham Smythe, tight end
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right tackle
No. 77: Brandon Tiassum, defensive tackle
No. 75: Daniel Cage, defensive tackle
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, right tackle
No. 73: (theoretically) Josh Lugg, offensive tackle
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle
No. 71: Alex Bars, offensive lineman
No. 70: Hunter Bivin, offensive lineman
No. 69: Aaron Banks, offensive lineman
No. 68: Mike McGlinchey, left tackle
No. 67: Jimmy Byrne, offensive lineman
No. 65: (theoretically) Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman

TRANSFERS
No. 66: Tristen Hoge, offensive lineman, transfers to BYU
No. 50: Parker Boudreaux, offensive lineman
No. 30: Josh Barajas, linebacker, to transfer to Illinois State

INJURIES
No. 13: Tyler Luatua, tight end, career ended by medical hardship

Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 65 (theoretically) Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman

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Editor’s Note: Today would have featured No. 66, junior offensive lineman Tristen Hoge, but with Hoge’s transfer to BYU, the slate moves up a slot. A version of a 99-to-2 entry did accompany the post regarding Hoge’s transfer.

Listed Measurements: 6-foot-4, 315 pounds
2017-18 year, eligibility: Incoming freshman with four years of eligibility remaining
Depth chart: Gibbons’ placement on the depth chart is largely superfluous at this point, but if he slots in anywhere, it would be as a third-string guard. More than that, expect him to spend 2017 on the scout team.
Recruiting: A rivals.com three-star recruit, Gibbons committed to the Irish in April of 2015, the spring semester of his sophomore year of high school. Though he had an Ohio State offer to consider at the time, Gibbons shut down his recruitment following that commitment, never wavering from Notre Dame.

QUOTE(S)
When discussing the four offensive linemen in the class of 2017 on National Signing Day, Irish coach Brian Kelly framed their arrival in terms of who is already around.

“If you take a look at the recruiting on the offensive line, Josh Lugg, Aaron Banks, Dillan Gibbons, Robert Hainsey, these are guys that are rated as high as any offensive linemen in the country,” Kelly said. “But they’re coming into a situation where we have, for example, on our left side with [senior guard] Quenton Nelson and [fifth-year senior tackle] Mike McGlinchey, two guys that are arguably the best at their position in the country.

“We have very, very good offensive linemen coming in, but we’ve got talented players at that position with experience across the board. We feel great about the depth that we’ve developed at that position.”

WHAT WE SAID WHEN GIBBONS’ NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT ARRIVED
Gibbons very well could be a prototypical [offensive line coach] Harry Hiestand offensive guard. Already coming in at a good size, some time in a college strength and conditioning program should serve to turn Gibbons into a stout offensive lineman. Just remember the spelling of his first name. That –an ending is bound to trip up some of us in the coming years.”

2017 OUTLOOK
There are no guarantees in life, but if there were, it would be a guarantee Gibbons spends 2017 preserving a year of eligibility while working with the offensive scout team. That is simply the trend of freshman linemen in Hiestand’s program, with the rare exception of an early enrollee.

DOWN THE ROAD
If Gibbons’ future is indeed at guard — and both his size and style seem most-applicable inside — then he will have chances at playing time beginning in 2018. Current senior left guard Quenton Nelson will head to the NFL after this season, and a number of Notre Dame linemen will vie for that slot, with Gibbons’ classmates such as Robert Hainsey and Josh Lugg presenting as his main competition.

Supposing Gibbons does not win that competition, he is likely to have another chance at a starting slot in 2019 once current senior right guard Alex Bars uses up his eligibility.

Gibbons projects as a piece of patience. In time, he will have his chances, plenty of them, at that. Just not for a few years.


Aside from the five early enrollees, the numbers are not yet known for the incoming Irish freshmen. A little educated guessing can garner estimates for those numbers, and those estimates allow the proceedings to continue sans pause.

The NCAA recommends guards wear a number between 60 and 69. In that range, Notre Dame’s roster does not already have Nos. 60, 61, 65 and 66, that last number formerly being Hoge’s. Which of those this arbitrary exercise assigns to Gibbons does not change much — the next entry comes in at No. 58, anyway.


2017’s Notre Dame 99-to-2
Friday at 4: Goodbye A-to-Z, hello 99-to-2 (May 12)
No. 99: Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end
No. 97: Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah, defensive tackle
No. 95 (theoretically): Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 94 (theoretically): Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle
No. 93: Jay Hayes, defensive end
No. 92 (theoretically): Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90 (theoretically): Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87 (theoretically): Jafar Armstrong, receiver
No. 86: Alizé Mack, tight end
No. 85: Tyler Newsome, punter
No. 84 (theoretically): Michael Young, receiver
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 82: Nic Weishar, tight end
No. 81: Miles Boykin, receiver
No. 80: Durham Smythe, tight end
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right tackle
No. 77: Brandon Tiassum, defensive tackle
No. 75: Daniel Cage, defensive tackle
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, right tackle
No. 73: (theoretically): Josh Lugg, offensive tackle
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle
No. 71: Alex Bars, offensive lineman
No. 70: Hunter Bivin, offensive lineman
No. 69: Aaron Banks, offensive lineman
No. 68: Mike McGlinchey, left tackle
No. 67: Jimmy Byrne, offensive lineman

TRANSFERS
No. 66: Tristen Hoge, offensive lineman, transfers to BYU
No. 50: Parker Boudreaux, offensive lineman
No. 30: Josh Barajas, linebacker, to transfer to Illinois State

INJURIES
No. 13: Tyler Luatua, tight end, career ended by medical hardship

Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 67 Jimmy Byrne, offensive lineman

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Listed Measurements: 6-foot-4, 294 pounds
2017-18 year, eligibility: Senior with two years of eligibility remaining including 2017
Depth chart: Byrne has yet to find traction in moving up the depth chart. Most would list him as the No. 3 option at right tackle currently. If anything, he offers a piece of depth along the line that would not cost a freshman eligibility if needed for only a handful of snaps.
Recruiting: A consensus four-star recruit, Byrne committed to the Irish in December of 2012, a full 14 months ahead of his National Signing Day. Thus, his offer sheet never developed the length of many — opposing schools knew his commitment was firm. When he committed, his top choices were Notre Dame and Ohio State. Rivals.com ranked Byrne the No. 19 player in Ohio and the No. 30 tackle in the class of 2014.

CAREER TO DATE
Byrne preserved a year of eligibility in 2014 and did not see any action in 2015 or 2016.

QUOTE(S)
At the start of spring practice, Irish coach Brian Kelly indicated Byrne would be in the mix as Notre Dame looked for a starting right tackle after senior Alex Bars moved from right tackle inward to right guard.

“We feel pretty good that we want to get a competitive situation over there,” Kelly said. “[Sophomore Tommy] Kraemer, [sophomore Liam] Eichenberg, [fifth-year senior Hunter] Bivin, all those guys will get an opportunity to get some work …

“Jimmy Byrne looks really good. He’s probably had his best offseason. All those guys are going to get an opportunity to get out there and compete.”

WHAT KEITH ARNOLD PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
I see a season of special teams duty for Byrne, an interior offensive lineman on long snaps and some time as a second-stringer or garbage time participant. One player to watch that could impact Byrne’s future is Tommy Kraemer. The Irish staff thinks [it has] a special player in Kraemer. They also really, really want to redshirt him if possible.

“Byrne’s development at this point in his career doesn’t mean his fate is sealed when it comes to playing time. It should take well into a lineman’s career to earn snaps and starts. But it’s telling that the right guard job opened up and Byrne wasn’t all that close to competing for the gig.

“It’s year seven of the Kelly era. Harry Hiestand has been recruiting like an ace, making limited offers and landing at a very, very high rate. Byrne’s a victim of circumstance — getting a starting job on the O-line is one of the hardest to earn at Notre Dame. That means Byrne is going to have to show patience, all while working his way slowly up the ladder.”

2017 OUTLOOK
Considering Byrne never seemed to threaten the sophomore duo of Kraemer and Eichenberg for the starting right tackle job, his prospects for the coming season seem dim. In many respects, Keith was right, Byrne is a victim of circumstance. The class of 2014 included four offensive linemen, all four-star recruits: Byrne, Bars, Quenton Nelson and Sam Mustipher. Three of those four will start on the Irish line this season. Two of them started 12 games last year. Nelson has racked up two seasons of starting duty already and will be an early NFL Draft pick in the spring.

With results like that, someone gets stuck on the backside of the depth chart. In this instance, that is Byrne.

Should Notre Dame suffer a few serious injuries and then a minor one, he could find himself filling in for a few snaps. In that hypothetical instance, using Byrne while a lineman is evaluated could prevent someone such as early-enrolled freshman Robert Hainsey burning a year of eligibility during a quick three-and-out only to find out Bars’ sprained ankle is mild, at worst. Even to get to that point, though, Irish linemen would have needed to fall at a rate greater than seen in 2013. (See: Friday at 4: Offensive Line Depth)

DOWN THE ROAD
An offer of a fifth year at Notre Dame in 2018 would be an unprecedented surprise for a player yet to see playing time and likely to see minimal time this season, at best. At that point, it will be up to Byrne if he wants to pursue a graduate transfer elsewhere to enjoy one season of genuine college football action or if his career will have reached the end of its road.

As a one-time consensus four-star recruit now with four years under Hiestand’s tutelage, it is safe to assume some programs would be interested in Byrne’s services.


2017’s Notre Dame 99-to-2
Friday at 4: Goodbye A-to-Z, hello 99-to-2 (May 12)
No. 99: Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end
No. 97: Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah, defensive tackle
No. 95 (theoretically): Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 94 (theoretically): Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle
No. 93: Jay Hayes, defensive end
No. 92 (theoretically): Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90 (theoretically): Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87 (theoretically): Jafar Armstrong, receiver
No. 86: Alizé Mack, tight end
No. 85: Tyler Newsome, punter
No. 84 (theoretically): Michael Young, receiver
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 82: Nic Weishar, tight end
No. 81: Miles Boykin, receiver
No. 80: Durham Smythe, tight end
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right tackle
No. 77: Brandon Tiassum, defensive tackle
No. 75: Daniel Cage, defensive tackle
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, right tackle
No. 73: (theoretically): Josh Lugg, offensive tackle
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle
No. 71: Alex Bars, offensive lineman
No. 70: Hunter Bivin, offensive lineman
No. 69: Aaron Banks, offensive lineman
No. 68: Mike McGlinchey, left tackle

TRANSFERS
No. 66: Tristen Hoge, offensive lineman, transfers to BYU
No. 50: Parker Boudreaux, offensive lineman
No. 30: Josh Barajas, linebacker, to transfer to Illinois State

INJURIES
No. 13: Tyler Luatua, tight end, career end by medical hardship

Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 68 Mike McGlinchey, left tackle

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Listed Measurements: 6-foot-8, 312 pounds
2017-18 year, eligibility: Fifth-year senior with eligibility remaining in only 2017
Depth chart: Let’s keep it simple: As long as he is healthy, McGlinchey will start at left tackle.
Recruiting: A consensus four-star recruit, McGlinchey committed to Notre Dame over the likes of Michigan, Wisconsin and State. Rivals.com rated McGlinchey as the No. 22 tackle in the class of 2013.

CAREER TO DATE
McGlinchey preserved a year of eligibility in 2013, and has seen time in every game since. He started the 2014 Music City Bowl against LSU at right guard in place of the injured Christian Lombard, beginning a streak of 26 consecutive starts across three positions.

In 2015, he held steady at right tackle before moving to left tackle last season.

QUOTE(S)
If McGlinchey was not discussed much this spring, it was because there are few questions regarding him. He is not only a known commodity, he is a known commodity of value.

The only question was just how high that value was, as in, why didn’t he enter the NFL Draft after his senior season? McGlinchey received an undoubtedly tempting draft evaluation, but felt there was room to improve. For Notre Dame’s part, Irish coach Brian Kelly said the program could offer the chance for that improvement in exchange for one more year of dominant edge blocking. That improvement would start, as it has with most of the team in the past six months, in the weight room under the direction of new director of football performance Matt Balis. (Editor’s Note: The following quote is lengthy, but all ties back to McGlinchey’s return to Notre Dame and mutual expectations for the coming year, so it will be included in full.)

“[McGlinchey] came back with a want and a desire to improve in the weight room,” Kelly said in March. “There was a commitment that we needed to make to him that we were going to get it to the end with him. In other words, bigger, faster, stronger.

“He’s gone up almost 8-10 pounds with good weight. He has gone from 16 to 24 in terms of 225 bench reps. He’s made significant gains in the weight room.

“We owed him something on our end, as well, and that is to physically develop him, to mentally develop him as a captain and as a leader, and then to develop his skill. We moved him over to left tackle, and there was an adjustment period for him there. [Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand’s] work with him is crucial.

“This was kind of a deal: You come back, you finish off at Notre Dame, you help us win a championship, and we’re going to develop you physically, we’re going to help you in your leadership skills, and we’re going to help you obviously on the field with your skills to that translates next year as you help Notre Dame football, it’s also going to help you individually [in the future].”

WHAT KEITH ARNOLD PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
I expect All-American honors for McGlinchey, who took about two practices to convince Brian Kelly and Hiestand that he’s talented enough athletically to make the transition to left tackle seamlessly. As one of the nation’s premier run blockers already, all that’s needed is a smooth transition against speed rushers, something McGlinchey should handle just fine with his length and athleticism.

“McGlinchey will earn his degree this spring, meaning a fifth year likely isn’t in the cards if he’s weight a first-round grade. And while we can look back on a season spent on the bench in 2014 behind Steve Elmer and Christian Lombard, two frontline seasons in South Bend could be enough to cement McGlinchey’s legacy as the next great tackle coming out of Notre Dame — and if he stays around for 2017 it’d be gravy.”

2017 OUTLOOK
Welcome to gravy. McGlinchey received that first-round draft grade, but returned for a third season as a starter, anyway. His reasoning doesn’t much matter, but one would presume Kelly’s comments above stemmed from conversations he had with McGlinchey. The left tackle’s return will immensely help Notre Dame, but he wanted more than to be a good teammate. He wants a return on the investment, as well.

Presuming health, McGlinchey will start at least 38 — and 38 consecutive, at that — games in his Irish career. That is far from a small accomplishment. It is certainly production no one can scoff at.

Some will remember McGlinchey’s penalty woes from last season. One might guess rectifying those mental errors played a part in thinking a return could help his draft stock. Whether that motivation is pure enough or not is superfluous as long as it is motivation enough to keep McGlinchey on side this season. Between him and senior left guard Quenton Nelson, the Irish should enjoy having a solid left side of the line while it lasts. Both will be off into the NFL next season following early first-round picks.

DOWN THE ROAD
The quick NFL success of former Notre Dame left tackles Zack Martin and Ronnie Stanley will help McGlinchey’s draft projections. Much like some offensive systems supposedly fail to produce NFL-quality quarterbacks and thus those quarterbacks slide down draft boards, Hiestand’s outstanding track record with linemen is noticed.

It should also be noted Kelly knew McGlinchey’s exact 225-pound bench press rep count. That is a fine metric of evaluation, but it is really used only once as that metric: at the NFL Draft combine. Tracking it this past February is as sure a sign as any Notre Dame knows McGlinchey expects an enjoyable April of 2018.

Looking past that April, he projects as an NFL-level tackle, be it on the left or the right side. In many respects, his 6-foot-8 frame precludes a move inside in most minds.

PRESESASON HYPE
This will not often be a section in these parts. Most preseason hype revolves around watch lists and yawn.

But when someone makes the cover of Phil Steele’s annual preview magazine, that warrants notice.


2017’s Notre Dame 99-to-2
Friday at 4: Goodbye A-to-Z, hello 99-to-2 (May 12)
No. 99: Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end
No. 97: Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah, defensive tackle
No. 95 (theoretically): Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 94 (theoretically): Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle
No. 93: Jay Hayes, defensive end
No. 92 (theoretically): Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90 (theoretically): Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87 (theoretically): Jafar Armstrong, receiver
No. 86: Alizé Mack, tight end
No. 85: Tyler Newsome, punter
No. 84 (theoretically): Michael Young, receiver
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 82: Nic Weishar, tight end
No. 81: Miles Boykin, receiver
No. 80: Durham Smythe, tight end
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right tackle
No. 77: Brandon Tiassum, defensive tackle
No. 75: Daniel Cage, defensive tackle
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, right tackle
No. 73: (theoretically): Josh Lugg, offensive tackle
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle
No. 71: Alex Bars, offensive lineman
No. 70: Hunter Bivin, offensive lineman
No. 69: Aaron Banks, offensive lineman

TRANSFERS
No. 66: Tristen Hoge, offensive lineman, transfers to BYU
No. 50: Parker Boudreaux, offensive lineman
No. 30: Josh Barajas, linebacker, to transfer to Illinois State

INJURIES
No. 13: Tyler Luatua, tight end, career end by medical hardship