Junior offensive lineman Tristen Hoge will finish his college career at BYU after announcing Monday an intention to transfer from Notre Dame.
A heralded recruit, Hoge was the presumptive Irish center of the future upon his arrival as an early enrollee in January of 2015. The consensus four-star recruit was fresh off a trip to the U.S. Army All America Bowl and held the honor of being the No. 1 center in the class per rivals.com.
After preserving a year of eligibility that fall — and being named the offensive scout team player of the year — Hoge lost a competition with current senior Sam Mustipher to be the starting center last season. That alone did not bode overly poorly for Hoge. Mustipher had an additional year in offensive line coach Harry Hiestand’s system, as well as in a college weight room.
With Mustipher still having two seasons of eligibility remaining, Hoge tried his hand at right guard this spring but could never gain much traction on senior Alex Bars. Bars started 12 games last year at right tackle before moving inward this spring to make space for sophomores Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg.
Hoge’s departure marks the second in the last week. Junior linebacker Josh Barajas announced Wednesday he will play for FCS-level Illinois State next year.
Former Irish quarterback Malik Zaire also made transfer waves this week, finally announcing his long-expected next destination, Florida. Zaire left Notre Dame before spring practice, though, so that maneuver was not the development Barajas’ and, even more so, Hoge’s were.
As with Barajas last week, a quick look at Hoge through the 99-to-2 mechanism seems fitting considering the time of year.
Listed Measurements: 6-foot-4 ½, 303 pounds
2017-18 year, eligibility: Junior with three seasons of eligibility remaining including the 2017 season, though if Hoge transfers to an FBS-level program, he will need to sit out 2017 and then will have only two years of eligibility remaining
Depth Chart: Not only was Hoge behind Bars at the right guard spot, but Irish coach Brian Kelly had indicated fifth-year senior Hunter Bivin could be the top backup at three or four of the offensive line positions. Presumably, that included right guard. Early-enrolled freshmen Robert Hainsey and Aaron Banks both also earned ripe praise from Kelly this spring, indicating one or both could be in the mix for a starting position come 2018, furthering pressure on Hoge.
Recruiting: The Idaho-product chose Notre Dame over offers from a number of Pac-12 programs such as Cal, UCLA and Stanford, among others throughout the country.
CAREER TO DATE
Hoge saw action in six games last season.
The only mention of Hoge this spring came early in the slate of 15 practices with Kelly giving a general overview of who would be in the mix for the two open starting positions on the right side of the line.
“I think we feel pretty good that we want to get a competitive situation over there,” Kelly said. “Kraemer, Eichenberg, Bivin, all those guys will get an opportunity to get some work.
“There are a number of candidates. Tristen Hoge is going to be in there. [Senior] Jimmy Byrne looks really good. He’s probably had his best offseason.
“All those guys are going to get an opportunity to get out there and compete.”
WHAT KEITH ARNOLD PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
“I see Hoge as the key backup at center and guard, called into action only if there’s injury at center or if Hunter Bivin fails to lock down the starting job at guard. There were some in the program who thought Hoge had a chance to win the right guard job outright this spring, so don’t be surprised if he’s one of the young players making noise come camp this August.”
2017’s Notre Dame 99-to-2
Friday at 4: Goodbye A-to-Z, hello 99-to-2 (May 12)
No. 99: Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end
No. 97: Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah, defensive tackle
No. 95 (theoretically): Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 94 (theoretically): Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle
No. 93: Jay Hayes, defensive end
No. 92 (theoretically): Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90 (theoretically): Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87 (theoretically): Jafar Armstrong, receiver
No. 86: Alizé Mack, tight end
No. 85: Tyler Newsome, punter
No. 84 (theoretically): Michael Young, receiver
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 82: Nic Weishar, tight end
No. 81: Miles Boykin, receiver
No. 80: Durham Smythe, tight end
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right tackle
No. 77: Brandon Tiassum, defensive tackle
No. 75: Daniel Cage, defensive tackle
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, right tackle
No. 30: Josh Barajas, linebacker, to transfer to Illinois State