Pregame Six Pack: Anchors await


Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic. Work began on Mount Rushmore. The Jazz Singer ended the silent film era. Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs. And Notre Dame played Navy in football for the first time.

The Irish won that contest 19-6, and the two teams have played every year since then. So much has changed since that first game, yet the longest running intersectional rivalry is still rolling on, stronger now than maybe ever.

While the Irish’s four game winning streak has extended their already lopsided series lead (Notre Dame holds a 74-12-1 edge), the ledger is hardly what makes the game special. An annual David & Goliath matchup, both schools remain committed the game, part of the unique bond that exists between the two institutions.

So much of this week has been made about the mutual respect between the two programs. A 30-minute documentary aired earlier this week. Both teams will share part of their uniform—as will the coaches on the sidelines—a tip of their cap to the shared history (and nifty corporate synergy) between respected opponents once again doing battle.

But make no mistake: All the respect talk this week doesn’t make this a friendly Saturday.

There is no love lost between the Irish and the Midshipmen on the field.  So while both teams may honor the other by standing during their respective alma mater, this is a game that each team desperately wants to win.

After a rain-soaked weekend in South Carolina, it looks like a dry Saturday in South Bend. So let’s put away the rain panchos and get to the Pregame Six Pack.


After watching the Georgia Tech game from the sideline, Max Redfield steps back into the starting lineup. 

Drue Tranquill begins his recovery from ACL surgery today, as fearless as ever. And while Matthias Farley has shown some playmaking ability against option attacks, Brian Kelly confirmed that Max Redfield would stay in the starting lineup against Navy.

Redfield is coming off his most productive game as a college football player, making 14 tackles—including 11 solo stops—against Clemson. Now Redfield will step into the one-high safety role, while Elijah Shumate will take over for Tranquill in the box.

“He plays the role that Shu played. Shu played the role that Tranquill played,” Kelly said.

That means it’ll be Shumate running the alley and handling the pitch man. And Redfield will be asked to serve both as the last line of defense and also make a difference in the option game as well.

Just about everybody who watched Redfield last week saw a different player than the one who was largely ineffective against Virginia as he tried to play through a broken thumb. And Kelly talked Thursday evening a little bit about the journey Redfield has taken to get there.

“Each kid is a little bit different in the way that football strikes them,” Kelly said. “He’s somebody that I think is looking at football through a different lens and understands that there are so many details to it… He wants to play at the highest level, he wants to play on Sundays. He wants to get his degree from Notre Dame. I think he’s just maturing and developing at a pace that’s comfortable to him.”


DeShone Kizer did more than just survive at Clemson. Can his silver-lining performance trigger a more explosive offense?

With the game on the line and Hurricane Joaquin creating a relentless rain storm, nobody would’ve thought putting the game on the shoulders of DeShone Kizer would be Notre Dame’s best chance to win. Yet that’s what Brian Kelly did, and Kizer very nearly pulled a rabbit out of the hat.

Navy doesn’t play defense like Clemson. While the Midshipmen’s defense is vastly improved (they rank just one spot behind Notre Dame in total defense heading into Saturday’s contest), they’ll be in a physical mismatch for most of the day, relying on turnovers and stops to limit the Irish offense.

But after serving as the unexpected engine of Notre Dame’s comeback last Saturday, Kizer looks capable of doing more than just game managing, especially for an offense that’s averaged seven touchdowns a game against Navy the past four years.

“I just think when you get opportunities to play on the road, leading your team back in the fourth quarter, you gain more of an understanding of a quarterback who’s got to make plays,” Kelly said. “I think we knew he was the guy that could handle the moment, he certainly was able to do that… I think it just added on to the fact that we’ve got a quarterback that can help us win a championship.”


For as challenging as slowing down Navy’s option is every year, Notre Dame fans sometimes forget that Navy’s got to find a way to stop the Irish, too. 

As mentioned just before, Notre Dame is scoring 48.25 points against Navy during their four-game winning steak. And one of the biggest challenges that Navy faces is Brian Kelly the playcaller.

Earlier this week, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo talked about what makes Kelly’s offense so good and why Notre Dame’s head coach is so difficult to stop.

“Coach Kelly, I’ve always admired the way he calls plays. Some play-callers bury their face in their call sheet, but he’s watching the game,” Niumatalolo said. “But if he sees something, he’s going to exploit it. He’s got a great feel for the game. We’ve got to be able to adjust. We’ve got some ideas of what we can do, but he’s going to adjust very quickly to us and we’ve got to be able to adjust.”

Expect Kelly to try and get the ground game back rolling again after a difficult weekend at Clemson. And with veteran safety Kwazel Betrand likely lost for the year with after suffering a broken ankle against Air Force, the back end will be tested as well.

It’s a challenge at every level for Navy. And with Kelly, Mike Denbrock and Mike Sanford keeping the offense moving, it’ll stress the Midshipmen like no other game on their schedule.


Even with one loss, Kelly still thinks Notre Dame controls their own destiny. 

Earlier this week, Brian Kelly hopped on SiriusXM radio with Stephen A. Smith. And while on Tuesday Kelly said he wasn’t sure if a one-loss team could get into the College Football Playoff, he sounded more confident that the Irish still controlled their own destiny when he was talking to Smith.

“After you lose, you’re going to take that bump. That’s really part of it,” Kelly said, sounding unworried about the slide to No. 15. “I think we have a really good football team. We did not play up to the level we’re capable of and you should fall considerably because of it.”

But Kelly thinks the Irish have a schedule in front of them that can allow them to step back into the race. And while it’s still way, way, way too soon to be wondering if the Irish have the schedule needed to qualify without a conference title game, Kelly seemed to think winning out would solve all of those problems. (Even with USC’s Thursday night loss to Washington.)

“The great part of it is that we’ve got a schedule in front of us that’ll allow us to control our own destiny,” Kelly said. “If we continue to play better football and we’re a better football team in November than we are right now, we’ve got a chance to be where we need to be at the end of the year.”



For Notre Dame to win, they need to slow down Navy’s option specialist, record-setting quarterback Keenan Reynolds

Justin Thomas may have gotten all the preseason attention from Irish fans. But Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds is the more dangerous of the option trigger-men. The senior quarterback and leader of the Midshipmen will finish his college career as one of the most prolific players in college football history.

Reynolds has already scored nine touchdowns this season and his 73 career rushing touchdowns tied for second most in college football history, only four behind Montee Ball‘s record. At 25-11, his 25 wins as a starter are the most in Navy history, third most among active NCAA players.

Reynolds saw his first action as a freshman in 2012, thrown into action in Dublin after starting quarterback Trey Miller went down. Looking for his first victory against the Irish, Reynolds cherishes the opportunity to come to South Bend and fight for one.

“I’m excited. Playing at Notre Dame Stadium. I wouldn’t want to go out any other way,” Reynolds said. “It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a tough challenge. They’re a very, very good team. It’s the best team we’re going to see, they’re a Top 10 team in the country, even with a loss.”


This is Ken Niumatalolo’s best Navy team. And he knows it needs to play perfect to beat Notre Dame. 

During this week’s Onward Notre Dame: Mutual Respect documentary, we saw the large photo that hangs on the office wall of Ken Niumatalolo—the chaos and happiness of Midshipmen celebrating after they shocked Notre Dame in 2007, ending a 43-year losing streak.

While Niumatalolo was just the offensive line coach at the time, he acknowledged just how important that victory was to his program.

“For us it was a great accomplishment. I have [the picture] up there because they’re hard to beat and it doesn’t come too often, so we had to relish that one time we beat them in 2007,” Niumatalolo said in the documentary. “A big part of that picture just shows the jubilation of years trying to get over the hump.”

If there was ever a Navy team that’s well positioned to make a shocking statement at Notre Dame Stadium again, it might be this team. Outside of sophomore right tackle Robert Lindsey and sophomore linebacker D.J. Palmore, every starter on Navy is an upperclassman.

The offensive line doesn’t have a man smaller than 275 pounds, a much larger unit than you’re used to from Navy’s standards. The entire backfield is seniors, led by Reynolds but tag-teamed with fullback Chris Swain and slotbacks Desmond Brown and DeBrandon Sanders.

Even with Reynolds and a veteran group of talent, this group knows it can’t afford to make any mistakes, especially in the turnover column.

“It’s priority each and every week. But especially this week,” Reynolds said. “We can’t give them any [turnovers]. They’re very very good on offense, we can’t put our defense in a bind by giving them a short field. We understand the importance of ball security this week and having zero turnovers.”

Defensively, Dale Pehrson has taken over for Buddy Green as defensive coordinator while Green recovers from offseason surgery. With a veteran front seven and some talent on the back end, this isn’t a hapless defense just hoping to capitalize on an Irish mistake, but rather a defense that Kelly said is befitting of a Top 25 team.

Still, it’ll take more than just Niumatalolo’s best team to beat Notre Dame—they’ll need the Irish to falter. But in the midst of a four-game losing streak against the Irish, expect Navy to empty their arsenal to do anything to get a win.

“We’ve had a hard time making the plays,” Niumatalolo said about the last four years. But this is our best defense that we’ve had. We’ll go in there and take a shot at them. They’re really good. Always have been.”


Friday at 4: Jack Swarbrick’s time at Notre Dame marked by retained Irish independence, not by hires or construction

Notre Dame v Pittsburgh
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When Jack Swarbrick walks out of his Notre Dame offices for the last time at some point early in 2024, after nearly 16 years as the director of athletics, one thing will be beyond debate: Swarbrick will have left his mark at Notre Dame.

He took over after Kevin White left South Bend for the same role at Duke in 2008. While an athletic director has to worry about far more than football, Notre Dame’s athletic director will always be most judged by that program, and the Irish were coming off their losingest season ever, going 3-9 in 2007.

Charlie Weis would get two seasons under Swarbrick to try to right that ship, so it was not immediately realized the decade of checks the Irish athletic department was saddled with, but it was clear: Swarbrick inherited a football program, and thus an athletic department, that needed work.

He then hired the winningest football coach in Notre Dame history, navigated Brian Kelly’s surprise exit when 2021 Playoff hopes still lingered and instilled stability into the program in a moment that could have been absolute chaos.

Between those hires, Swarbrick oversaw the installation of turf at Notre Dame Stadium — it did not replace grass, it replaced literal dirt. He expanded the Stadium to include far more luxury suites and seats, perhaps a half-measure waiting for more work given the reality of who attends live sporting events nowadays. Swarbrick blessed the comedy of the visitors’ tunnel in the Stadium’s northeast corner and the return of night games beginning with the 2011 tilt against USC, though the piped-in audio playlist that October night was far from ready.

Add in the renovations to Purcell Pavilion and building Compton Family Ice Arena and those were the changes every fan noticed during Swarbrick’s 15 years-and-counting. Those along with hiring Brian Kelly and then Marcus Freeman, not to mention women’s basketball coach Niele Ivey (replacing Muffet McGraw after 33 years) and men’s basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry (replacing Mike Brey after 23 years), making Notre Dame one of two FBS schools with Black head coaches leading all three programs (joining Syracuse).

In the short-term, Freeman’s, Shrewsberry’s and Ivey’s success will determine how Swarbrick is remembered, and in that order. No matter how 2023 goes for Freeman and imported quarterback Sam Hartman, years 3-5 of Freeman’s tenure will alter how Swarbrick’s tenure is retroactively perceived. The stability he conjured in 2021 was the product of deft maneuvering, yet it largely dissipated when the Irish lost to Stanford last season. Freeman’s coming successes or failures will be remembered and tied to Swarbrick far more than a hyped week a couple of Decembers ago.

Yet, how Freeman fares should not be the top bullet point attributed to Swarbrick. His long-term achievement of keeping Notre Dame independent through the 2010s and now seemingly through the 2020s has been the singular task of Swarbrick’s tenure.

The partial membership with the ACC, announced in 2012 and beginning in 2014, staked the Irish position through the first round of modern conference realignment. As Maryland, Rutgers and Nebraska all joined the Big Ten and the Big East crumbled under ACC influence, Swarbrick found a position for Notre Dame to continue as a football independent without sacrificing viability in any other sports. If it seemed like he had the Irish straddling a line, one foot in a conference and one foot out, that is because the balance of setting up basketball, hockey and all other sports for success while keeping football in a position unique to Notre Dame required such figurative flexibility.

That allowed the NBC partnership to continue unabated. It allowed the Irish to continue facing USC every season. And it gave Mike Brey, Muffet McGraw and Jeff Jackson conceivable paths to national title contention.

Navigating that same balance the last couple of years while the College Football Playoff pondered expansion solidified Swarbrick’s long-term stamp at Notre Dame. The Irish are now positioned to be a perennial Playoff contender when it expands to 12 teams next year, all while remaining a football independent during this Big Ten and SEC arms race.

The hiring of NBC Sports Group Chairman Pete Bevacqua to succeed Swarbrick certainly suggests the Notre Dame-NBC relationship will continue. (Writer’s Note: Those conversations occur about a dozen levels above this scribe and no NBC information trickles down to this keyboard.) If/when that officially extends past 2025, Irish football should be again clearly independent for the foreseeable future.

The day may come when that independence ends, but the fact that it persisted through the 2010s and is unlikely to end in the 2020s is a testament to Swarbrick’s understanding of the national landscape.

However Freeman, Ivey and Shrewsberry fare, whatever anyone thinks of the expanded Notre Dame Stadium, Jack Swarbrick keeping Notre Dame football independent of a conference in two decades of massive changes to college football is the landmark accomplishment of his 16 years as Irish athletic director.

Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 74 Billy Schrauth, sophomore left guard, likely starter

Clemson v Notre Dame
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Listed measurements: 6-foot-4 ½, 304 pounds.
2023-24 year, eligibility: A sophomore, Schrauth has all four seasons of eligibility remaining.
Depth Chart: Schrauth pushed through a crowded field this spring, a position competition including senior Michael Carmody and junior Rocco Spindler, to emerge as the leader at left guard when preseason practices begin.
Recruiting: The No. 3 offensive guard and No. 68 overall recruit in the class, Schrauth’s recruitment will be best remembered for being the first task for Marcus Freeman after he was named Notre Dame’s head coach. Freeman quite literally went from his introductory press conference straight to Fond du Lac, Wis. Less than a week later, the consensus four-star had joined the Irish class rather than heading to his homestate power.

Schrauth did not play in 2022, at least in part due to a left-foot surgery when he first arrived at Notre Dame, the result of an injury that he played through in the final month of his senior season of high school.

Schrauth keeps a low profile in terms of social media and such, but Notre Dame’s in-house social media team gave away his progress a couple times this spring. While the Blue-Gold Game featured fractured offensive lines, an intrasquad scrimmage in Notre Dame Stadium a week earlier offered better looks at the tiered units. At the 27-second mark of this video, spot Schrauth lined up alongside preseason All-American left tackle Joe Alt, Schrauth taking on a rush from senior defensive tackle Rylie Mills while Alt squares off with senior end Jordan Botelho.

Only the imagination tells how the snap ended, cut off in the video’s edit, but those three other names are all clear-cut starters, which makes it apparent Schrauth likely will be, too.

That same week, a social-media video with a mic on new offensive line coach Joe Rudolph showed Schrauth lined up between Alt and fifth-year center and three-year starter Zeke Correll at least three times, as well as a fourth moment of those three in conversation with Rudolph.

In a starting role along an offensive line looking to return to Joe Moore Award-status, some name, image and likeness rewards should quickly flow Schrauth’s way.

The quote that will stick to Schrauth for years to come will be, quite simply, “It’s about hitting guys. I just like hitting guys.”

Schrauth said that with crutches at his side in his first media availability last winter as an early enrollee, and that mentality obviously fits the exact ethos wanted from an offensive lineman.

RELATED READING: Foot surgery can’t slow the roll of ND freshman O-line prodigy Schrauth

Rudolph saw that mentality, as well, when he arrived in South Bend this winter.

“What is different about Billy is he’s got an edge,” Rudolph said in mid-April. “He’s got an edge that truly brings a feeling of physicality, a toughness, a grit.”

“Schrauth played through a left foot injury in his senior season of high school. No further damage was done, but it was enough of a concern that he had surgery on the foot within a week of arriving on Notre Dame’s campus.

“Thus, Schrauth’s spring lifting was done largely one-legged. He missed all of spring practices.

“He may have garnered praise similar to Spindler a year ago, seen as a worthy contributor if the offensive line needed him. Instead, the focus is now on Schrauth getting fully healthy.

“A 300-pound teenager on a stressed foot warrants caution. There is no need to rush Schrauth back. Even if he could be listed on the two-deep, Notre Dame will have options at guard. From (Josh) Lugg, Carmody and Spindler, there is also fifth-year center Jarrett Patterson. Some speculation already expects Patterson to move to guard (and senior Zeke Correll to start at center). If so, that is another body ahead of Schrauth in that pecking order. If not, any long-term injury at guard would immediately reignite such speculation, again dropping Schrauth down the pecking order.

“For 2022, Schrauth may be out of the mix, but that should pay off for him in terms of health.”

Schrauth worked his way into the starting lineup in the spring, and establishing cohesion among that first-team unit will be an August priority after Notre Dame’s offensive line opened each of the last two seasons sluggishly. Thus, preseason tinkering should be kept to a minimum.

Rather, the Irish should drive forward with the look of, from left to right, Alt – Schrauth – Correll – fifth-year Andrew Kristofic – junior Blake Fisher.

Since his freshman year, Alt has been lauded for his presnap communication. Back then, Jarrett Patterson was starting at center, and he regularly commented on how Alt would be blunt and loud in what he saw before the snap, and that played a part in the Notre Dame offensive line finding form as the season progressed.

That should now come at Schrauth’s benefit, lining up between a pair of three-year starters. It will not just be Alt’s ability to set an edge and Correll’s willingness to stick his head into a blitzing linebacker that will set up Schrauth for success, but also their preparation before those pass rushers even begin their assaults. If Schrauth is in the right position and understands his assignment, his physical skills should take care of the rest. That is one thing in practice — where Rudolph admitted Schrauth still has growing to do — but an entirely different thing in games. Having veterans like Alt and Correll next to him may elevate Schrauth from a learning sophomore into a distinct offensive asset.

Schrauth needs to take advantage of those tutors in 2023 because Alt should not be around in 2024 and Correll may well not be, either. With Kristofic a fifth-year veteran already, though having eligibility through 2024, and it not being beyond possibility that Fisher could join Alt in the NFL draft, Schrauth might be Notre Dame’s only returning offensive lineman in 2024.

That is unlikely but not impossible.

Either way, the left side of the line will need to replace Alt, and part of that process will be Schrauth repaying the presnap perks he enjoys this season.

The summer countdown begins anew, Rylie Mills to Deion Colzie
No. 99 Rylie Mills, senior defensive tackle, moving back inside from end
No. 98 Devan Houstan, early-enrolled four-star defensive tackle
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, junior defensive tackle, one of three Irish DTs with notable experience
No. 95 Tyson Ford, sophomore defensive tackle, up 30 pounds from a year ago
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, a senior defensive tackle now ‘fully healthy’ after a 2022 torn ACL
No. 91 Aiden Gobaira, sophomore defensive end, former four-star recruit
No. 90* Brenan Vernon, incoming freshman defensive end, four-star recruit
No. 90* Boubacar Traore, incoming freshman defensive end, four-star recruit
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, the next starter at ‘TE U’
No. 86* Cooper Flanagan, incoming freshman tight end, four-star recruit
No. 85 Holden Staes, sophomore tight end, up 20 pounds in a year
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, senior tight end coming off a torn ACL
No. 83 Jayden Thomas, junior receiver, probable No. 1 target in 2023
No. 79 Tosh Baker, senior tackle, again a backup but next year …
No. 78 Pat Coogan, junior interior offensive lineman
No. 77 Ty Chan, sophomore offensive tackle, former four-star recruit
No. 76 Joe Alt, first-team All-American left tackle
No. 75 Chris Terek, incoming freshman offensive lineman, four-star recruit
Rhode Island transfer safety Antonio Carter gives Notre Dame desperately needed backline depth
Penn State RB transfer Devyn Ford gives Notre Dame newly-needed backfield depth, experience

Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick to step down in 2024, to be succeeded by NBC’s Pete Bevacqua

Ball State v Notre Dame
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Notre Dame director of athletics Jack Swarbrick will step down in early 2024 after more than 15 years in the role, the University announced Thursday morning. NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua will succeed Swarbrick, first joining Notre Dame this July as a special assistant to University President Fr. John Jenkins, focusing on athletics.

Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde first reported these plans.

“It speaks volumes about Notre Dame and Father Jenkins’ leadership that we can implement such a well-conceived succession plan and attract someone of Pete’s talent and experience,” Swarbrick said in a statement. “I have worked closely with Pete throughout his time at NBC and based on that experience, I believe he has the perfect skill set to help Notre Dame navigate the rapidly changing landscape that is college athletics today and be an important national leader as we look to the future. I look forward to helping Notre Dame’s student-athletes and coaches achieve their goals in the months ahead while also helping Pete prepare for his tenure as athletics director.”

Swarbrick took over the role in the summer of 2008. Since then he hired football head coaches Brian Kelly and Marcus Freeman, as well as women’s basketball coach Niele Ivey and men’s basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry, navigated Notre Dame’s partial entry into the ACC and kept the Irish actively engaged with the twice-expanded College Football Playoff.

Swarbrick told Sports Illustrated he would “love to do one more thing in the industry,” suggesting this is not an outright retirement for him, but it was important to him for Jenkins to choose the next AD.

“There’s a sense that it’s the appropriate time,” Swarbrick said. “It’s important for Father John to make the selection of the next AD, because I don’t know how much longer he’s going to go.”

A 1993 alumnus of Notre Dame, Bevacqua has worked at NBC since 2018, securing a Big Ten partnership that goes into effect this summer, as well as extending NBC’s deals with the NFL and the PGA Tour.

SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio At 2018 PGA Merchandise Show - Day 2
Pete Bevacqua, left, with former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz in 2018. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

“This is an unbelievable honor for me and a dream come true,” Bevacqua said in a statement. “With the exception of my family, nothing means more to me than the University of Notre Dame. As a Notre Dame alum, I have a keen understanding and deep appreciation of the lifetime, transformational benefit our student-athletes receive in a Notre Dame education, one that is unique and unlike any other institution in the world.”

NBC has broadcast every Notre Dame home game since the 1991 home opener with the current deal running through the 2025 season.

Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 75 Chris Terek, incoming freshman offensive lineman, four-star recruit

Chris Terek Notre Dame

Listed measurements: 6-foot-6, 295 pounds
2023-24 year, eligibility: An incoming freshman, Terek has all four seasons of eligibility remaining.
Depth Chart: Terek will come nowhere near Notre Dame’s two-deep this season, needing to focus more on strength and conditioning while also getting a better feel for the idea of a move to an interior, something the Irish will at least consider with Terek.
Recruiting: A long-time Wisconsin commit, Terek reconsidered his college destination when the Badgers abruptly and rather surprisingly fired Paul Chryst. The four-star joined Notre Dame’s class right about the exact same time Wisconsin was announcing the hiring of Luke Fickell.

“Notre Dame, they’ve got a pretty crazy track record,” Terek told Inside ND Sports. They do very well with their O-linemen. (Former Irish offensive line) coach (Harry) Hiestand is awesome. And they seem like they’re really building something there.”

“His massive lower body — which Notre Dame strength and conditioning coordinator Matt Balis should enjoy molding — gives Terek ample power, something that Hiestand could turn loose on many Irish running plays. …

“Give Terek some time to develop physically before locking him into the two-deep anywhere.”


Do not expect to hear Terek’s name again until the spring. That is not a knock on him, not in any regard. Rather, it is an acknowledgment of what to expect from most freshmen offensive linemen and, in particular, what to expect from them when Notre Dame has 17 scholarship offensive linemen on the roster.

Five of them are freshmen, and while early enrollee Sam Pendleton could perhaps crack the paper version of a three-deep at center, none should press for playing time in 2023.

Terek, perhaps more than the others, will need the year with no expectations. He played right tackle in high school, and the Irish are likely to try him out on the interior. At 6-foot-5, he is not yet too long to play inside, but much more vertical growth could change that.

Learning the interior footwork will be enough of a task for Terek as a freshman, along with the usual strength and conditioning work.

With 17 scholarship offensive linemen knocking around, and three already committed in the next class, position competitions will be the norm moving forward, though there will naturally be front runners.

Current sophomore Billy Schrauth and fifth-year Andrew Kristofic should emerge as the starting guards this season. If Kristofic spurns his final year of eligibility in 2024, current junior Rocco Spindler should get next crack at a starting role.

Both Schrauth and Spindler could be around in 2025, with current junior Pat Coogan supplementing them if he has not grabbed hold at center. Only then can names like Terek, classmate Joe Otting and sophomore Ashton Craig begin to be considered.

All of which is to say, Notre Dame is in an enviable position. Offensive line talent is scarce on the transfer market. Individual players need to be staring at uphill trajectories like this if the program wants to be a genuine contender instead of just the 10th team into the expanded Playoff.

WHY No? 75?
Terek wore No. 77 in high school, but current sophomore Ty Chan owns those digits in the Irish locker room. With offensive linemen largely focused on numbers in the 70s, 75 is one of just two available numbers (along with No. 71).

Perhaps Terek drops to No. 67, but for this penciling him into the content calendar, 75 fits well enough.

The summer countdown begins anew, Rylie Mills to Deion Colzie
No. 99 Rylie Mills, senior defensive tackle, moving back inside from end
No. 98 Devan Houstan, early-enrolled four-star defensive tackle
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, junior defensive tackle, one of three Irish DTs with notable experience
No. 95 Tyson Ford, sophomore defensive tackle, up 30 pounds from a year ago
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, a senior defensive tackle now ‘fully healthy’ after a 2022 torn ACL
No. 91 Aiden Gobaira, sophomore defensive end, former four-star recruit
No. 90* Brenan Vernon, incoming freshman defensive end, four-star recruit
No. 90* Boubacar Traore, incoming freshman defensive end, four-star recruit
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, the next starter at ‘TE U’
No. 86* Cooper Flanagan, incoming freshman tight end, four-star recruit
No. 85 Holden Staes, sophomore tight end, up 20 pounds in a year
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, senior tight end coming off a torn ACL
No. 83 Jayden Thomas, junior receiver, probable No. 1 target in 2023
No. 79 Tosh Baker, senior tackle, again a backup but next year …
No. 78 Pat Coogan, junior interior offensive lineman
No. 77 Ty Chan, sophomore offensive tackle, former four-star recruit
No. 76 Joe Alt, first-team All-American left tackle
Rhode Island transfer safety Antonio Carter gives Notre Dame desperately needed backline depth
Penn State RB transfer Devyn Ford gives Notre Dame newly-needed backfield depth, experience