In freshman tackle Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame has what looks like a future cornerstone on the offensive line. Now he’ll need to develop into the front-line player many hope he’ll become.
The good news? Harry Hiestand is on the case. Few offensive line coaches in college football do a better job of sculpting linemen, and in Eichenberg, the veteran Irish assistant has quite a piece of clay.
With Mike McGlinchey and Alex Bars slotted into the starting lineup heading into camp, Eichenberg will likely spend 2016 watching, learning, eating and lifting weights. But with the NFL beckoning for McGlinchey and the depth chart at tackle thin, there’s not much time to waste.
6’6″, 285 lbs.
Four-star, Top 100 recruit. Under Armour All-American. Max Preps first-team All-American. All-State Ohio first-team.
Eichenberg was one of the most sought after offensive tackle prospects in the country and he chose Notre Dame over Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State, Miami and a few dozen others.
While Tommy Kraemer might be a better near-term prospect, there’s a “sky-is-the-limit” feel to Eichenberg after talking to people around the program. So while it’ll likely be Kraemer earning training camp praise from Kelly as the battle at right guard adds a new contender, giving Eichenberg the year to develop behind Mike McGlinchey and Alex Bars will be ideal.
That being said, there should be some urgency to this season for Eichenberg. Because it’ll take minutes for the college football world to notice how good of an NFL prospect McGlinchey is and a fifth-year might not be necessary for the Philadelphia native. And with little depth on the outside, an injury could change Eichenberg’s playing trajectory before a spring practice where he could be in the middle of a battle for playing time.
A redshirt for Eichenberg.
Then a spring where he could be in a battle to replace Notre Dame’s next first-round left tackle. (It’s too early to predict if McGlinchey is heading to the NFL, but he certainly will have all eyes on him.)
Regardless, it’s a critically important season for Eichenberg on the practice field and in the weight room. Because there’s every reason to believe that the Irish will be reloading on the offensive line this recruiting cycle, and there’s be competition in the ranks from the moment he steps on campus.
2016’s Irish A-to-Z