While the Blue-Gold game captured most of the headlines this weekend, the biggest victory for Brian Kelly was over Urban Meyer on the recruiting trail. On Sunday, touted Ohio offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg committed to the Irish, just hours after leaving an unofficial visit to Columbus.
In Eichenberg, some believe the Irish have one of the country’s top players. 247 Sports views him as the No. 17 overall player in the country. While Rivals’ current evaluations only have him a 3-star talent, Eichenberg has an elite offer list, choosing Notre Dame over programs like Alabama, Florida State, Michigan and Miami.
The Cleveland, St. Ignatius product took to Twitter to announce his decision:
Eichenberg is another big recruiting victory for Harry Hiestand, who out-dueled Meyer and offensive line coach Ed Warinner for Eichenberg—one of the state of Ohio’s top offensive linemen. Notre Dame already has Ohio’s No. 1 lineman in the fold, tackle Tommy Kraemer, and Eichenberg turned down a serious recruiting pitch from Meyer this weekend to decide to spend his next four years in South Bend not Columbus.
Kelly made the news unofficially official via Twitter, putting an exclamation point on a weekend that showcased the Irish’s strength along the offensive line. That style of play and coaching from Hiestand, was a big part of Eichenberg deciding to commit to Notre Dame, according to Tom Loy of Irish 247.
“I’d say Coach Hiestand played a large part,” Eichenberg told Irish 247. “Along with him being a great coach and having many years of experience, he truly cares about his players. He knows what it takes to become the best offensive lineman.
“He didn’t annoy me or direct message me [on Twitter] every day. We just talked every other week and sometimes he would come visit me at school. The hand written letters honestly meant a lot more than some people may know. Thinking about having the opportunity to play for a coach who sculpted Zack Martin gives me chills.”
Eichenberg is a key building block as the Irish look to reload along the offensive line this recruiting cycle. He’s Notre Dame’s sixth commitment in the 2016 class.