Irish A-to-Z: Tristen Hoge

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Harry Hiestand finally recruited a true center in early-enrollee freshman Tristen Hoge. Now it’s up to the two-time Idaho state player of the year to earn the opportunity to replace Nick Martin at the heart of the Irish offensive line.

On paper, Hoge looks like an ideal fit. But after the Irish all but manufactured their last two centers, moving guards and tackles to the center spot, he’ll face challengers like Sam Mustipher—and maybe others like Mark Harrell, Colin McGovern and Hunter Bivin—when a vacancy opens in 2016.

Let’s take a closer look at one of Harry Hiestand’s newest linemen.

 

TRISTEN HOGE
6’4.5″, 281 lbs.
Freshman, No. 66, Center

 

RECRUITING PROFILE

First-team Parade All-American. U.S. Army All-American. State Player of the Year for Idaho. 247Sports’ No. 1 center in the country.

Hoge turned down offers from Boise State, Cal, Florida, LSU, Stanford, UCLA and many others to commit to the Irish more than a full calendar year before Signing Day.

 

FUTURE POTENTIAL

It’s tough to find a recruit that has a more straight-forward profile than Hoge. A four-year starter as a center with a 47-game playing streak and the only two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year in Idaho football history, Hoge should be considering the front-runner to take over the center position after Nick Martin heads to the NFL.

But for as obvious as that natural progression looks on paper, there’s a certain caveat that should come with making that automatic assumption. Rarely does a high school team keep their best offensive lineman at center. And the fact that Hoge managed to be the state’s most decorated player, all while playing a position that’s usually where high school teams hide their undersized or less-skilled linemen, well—it leaves some doubt in the equation until we actually see Hoge work at the college level.

A viewing of high school tape goes a long way towards eliminating those limitation worries. But Hoge had some struggles at the Army game in San Antonio, again understandable after making the jump from the Idaho prep scene to dealing with some of the nation’s toughest interior linemen. So before we annoint Hoge as the next center, let’s see how he progresses under Hiestand and strength coach Paul Longo.

 

CRYSTAL BALL

Hoge isn’t playing in 2015. Not unless something goes terribly wrong. So anything written or assumed about Hoge’s future at Notre Dame won’t need to be decided until after he’s established himself in the system, giving the coaches a very good look at his capabilities to take over the center job as a first-year contributor.

Right now, that seems like the most likely scenario, especially after seeing Sam Mustipher struggle with the consistency of his snaps. But in a depth chart that’s as competitive as the one that currently exists in South Bend, nobody is handed a job. And next spring is critical for Hoge, a 15-practice try-out for a starting job that many assume is his if he’s capable of taking it.

Hoge is in perfect position to take over come 2016, but he’ll have to earn it.

 

THE 2015 IRISH A-to-Z
Josh Adams, RB
Josh Barajas, OLB
Nicky Baratti, S
Alex Bars, OL
Asmar Bilal, OLB
Hunter Bivin, OL
Grant Blankenship, DE
Jonathan Bonner, DE
Miles Boykin, WR
Justin Brent, WR
Greg Bryant, RB
Devin Butler, CB
Jimmy Byrne, OL
Daniel Cage, DL
Amir Carlisle, RB
Nick Coleman, DB
Te’von Coney, LB
Shaun Crawford, DB
Scott Daly, LS
Sheldon Day, DL
Michael Deeb, LB
Micah Dew-Treadway, DL
Steve Elmer, RG
Matthias Farley, DB
Nicco Fertitta, DB
Tarean Folston, RB
Will Fuller, WR
Jarrett Grace, LB
Jalen Guyton, WR
Mark Harrell, OL
Jay Hayes, DL
Mike Heuerman, TE
Kolin Hill, DE