In incoming freshman Sam Mustipher, offensive line coach Harry Hiestand found himself another interior offensive lineman who looks the part of a future starter.
Mustipher comes to South Bend from one of the top programs in the Washington D.C. area, a three-year starter at Good Counsel High School. With no rush to see the field at Notre Dame, Mustipher will join a depth chart filled with plenty of former blue-chippers, all looking for a chance to see the field.
Let’s take a closer look at Mustipher.
6’3″ 294 lbs.
Freshman, No. 53
Mustipher played in the Under Armour All-American game, and was a first-team All-State and All-City performer during his senior season at Good Counsel. A Top 250 recruit, Mustipher had elite offers before committing to Notre Dame in April, turning down Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Stanford.
That’s the type of offer list that should get you excited, and on Signing Day, Brian Kelly talked about his expectations for Mustipher, who camped at Notre Dame over the summer.
“Sam was another young man that we got a chance in the summer to see and spend time with. I think Coach Hiestand has done a great job in building relationships with all of these young men,” Kelly said. “He’s a powerful guy inside, and again, I think what stood out for us with Sam was his ability to move his feet.”
At this point, it’s beginning to sound like a broken record. Notre Dame has hand-picked offensive linemen with offers to play at some of the top programs in the country, so on paper just about every one of these guys that have been recruited by Kelly and Hiestand have the projected ability to help a program.
Of course, not all of them can do that, especially as the competition to see the field gets stiffer. But one thing that’s on Mustipher’s side is the excellent coaching he received at Good Counsel, a program that produces a ton of talent, and a school Notre Dame has to feel good about getting into.
Mustipher is not the towering prospect that many thought they signed, with his 6-foot-3 height limiting him to playing on the interior of the offensive line. He’s also not the most physically well put together lineman in the freshman class, meaning he’ll need to get friendly with Paul Longo and his staff before he’s ready to contribute in the trenches.
But all of that is nit-picky. Mustipher has everything you want from a young lineman, and the elite offer list he holds all but proves it.
Something quite eventful would need to happen for Mustipher to see the field in 2014. So his eligibility clock likely starts ticking in 2015, with Christian Lombard gone and Nick Martin, Conor Hanratty and Matt Hegarty in their (potential) fifth years. That should make for an interesting battle on the inside, with Steve Elmer likely able to shift back outside if needed and other linemen like Hunter Bivin, Colin McGovern and John Montelus all angling for playing time.
But projecting that far into the future is a fool’s errand, especially when we’ve seen so little of the linemen that will be fighting for a job. But as we continue rolling through this exercise, one thing is certain: There is no lack of talent along the offensive line.
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