Freshman Focus: Colin McGovern

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For all the complaints recently about Notre Dame struggling to get the best players out of the Chicagoland area (one of the only gripes you could muster about this staff’s recruiting efforts), the Irish did great work landing offensive lineman Colin McGovern. A throwback player to the Lou Holtz /Joe Moore era, McGovern looks to be the type of road-grader that would’ve fit in well two decades ago as well.

With depth thin and experience virtually nonexistent on the interior of the offensive line behind Chris Watt, McGovern is an important building block to the future of Harry Hiestand’s troops. A late season knee injury suffered during his high school playoffs forced McGovern to rehabilitate a torn ligament, but he should be healthy and ready to go come training camp.

Let’s take a closer look at McGovern:

RECRUITING PEDIGREE

While McGovern falls outside of both Rivals and 247’s top 250 list, he was an Under Armor All-American and had an offer from Alabama, so somebody that knows something sees some promise in McGovern’s game.

McGovern was a first-team All-State and All-Area performer in Chicago and didn’t allow a sack during his junior or senior seasons, playing in one of Chicago’s premiere football leagues. Other offers for McGovern include Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State and Wisconsin.

While the recruiting services didn’t see him as an elite prospect, his offer list says something otherwise.

EARLY PLAYING TIME OPPORTUNITIES

McGovern’s PCL tear probably doesn’t help his chance to get on the field, but then again he shouldn’t see the field anyway. Redshirting a prospect like McGovern makes the most sense, especially with enough depth on the interior of the line if everybody stays healthy.

Looking into the future, it’ll be interesting to see how McGovern works into a depth chart that might only feature Conor Hanratty and Mark Harrell next season, with Bruce Heggie not necessarily guaranteed to return for a fifth year.

There will be more than a few moving pieces on the interior of the offensive line, and McGovern can stake a claim to playing time with some solid work with Paul Longo and his strength team.

PROJECTING THE FUTURE

There’s plenty of room for contributors on the interior of the offensive line and McGovern looks like a leading contender. If the Irish are looking to find a tougher breed of lineman to play guard, then it sounds like Kelly thinks they may have found one of them in McGovern.

“Colin is more than just a player from the Midwest; he’s a physical, strong guy that can play inside for us,” Kelly said on Signing Day. “Here’s another guy that came up to camp, and we got a chance to see him in person, and that makes such a big difference to us. He’ll be a nice player for us working inside out.”

Inside-out gives you the idea that this staff believes that McGovern could be a tackle if they wanted him to be, though the Irish staff sees McGovern teaming with John Montelus as guards while Mike McGlinchey and Steve Elmer will be tackles and Hunter Bivin starts as a center.

It’s basically been all Charlie Weis recruits for the Irish staff along the offensive line. As guys like Zack Martin and Watt graduate, it’ll be interesting to see if this staff’s evaluation skills are as good along the offensive line as they are at other positions. If so, the best is yet to come from this offensive line.