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Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 76 Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman

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Listed Measurements: 6-foot-4, 307 pounds
2018-19 year, eligibility: Sophomore with four seasons of eligibility remaining, including 2018.
Depth chart: Gibbons would be the most-likely backup to step in if either junior right guard Tommy Kraemer or fifth-year left guard Alex Bars were to suffer an injury of any kind. Gibbons was also mentioned by offensive line coach Jeff Quinn as a possibility at center if fifth-year snapper Sam Mustipher went down for any period of time. Gibbons, Bars and senior Trevor Ruhland have all worked on snapping, per Quinn.
Recruiting: A rivals.com three-star recruit, Gibbons committed to the Irish in April of 2015, the spring semester of his sophomore year of high school and the first commitment in the Notre Dame class of 2017. Though he had an Ohio State offer to consider at the time, Gibbons shut down his recruitment following that commitment, never wavering from the Irish and then-offensive line coach Harry Hiestand.

CAREER TO DATE
Gibbons saw no action his freshman season, preserving a year of eligibility.

QUOTE(S)
There are two versions of a sixth offensive lineman. One was seen last year, when Kraemer split time at right tackle with Robert Hainsey, meaning six offensive linemen saw frequent action. The other, more typical, is the player who backs up the most positions, ready to play at a few spots along the line in case of injury. Gibbons may fit that second description this season.

“I would say the next group coming in would be Trevor Ruhland, [sophomore] Josh Lugg, … guys like [sophomore] Aaron Banks and Dillan Gibbons,” Quinn said in mid-April. “All those guys are in the mix. As their development continues to improve, their opportunities will come.”

WHAT WAS PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
“There are no guarantees in life, but if there were, it would be a guarantee Gibbons spend 2017 preserving a year of eligibility while working with the offensive scout team. That is simply the trend of freshman linemen in Hiestand’s program, with the rare exception of an early enrollee.”

2018 OUTLOOK
No one wants to find playing time solely because of an injury to a teammate. By no means does Gibbons hope for Kraemer, Mustipher or Bars to fall with so much as a sprained ankle. It is, however, a fact of life in football.

Serving as an injury replacement possibility for so much of the line means Gibbons very well might see competitive time this season. Even if he does not back up Mustipher, Bars may, and that would inherently create a need at guard, to be filled by either Gibbons or Ruhland.

DOWN THE ROAD
Kraemer’s future has long been seen as a guard, and that coming to be a reality this year delayed Gibbons’ hopes of starting by at least a season. If Kraemer had remained at tackle, then perhaps it would be Gibbons who stepped into the hole created by Quenton Nelson’s departure.

There will be two more spots open next year with both Bars and Mustipher out of eligibility. With no clear heir apparent at center on the Notre Dame roster, Gibbons and Ruhland seem the two most-likely candidates, as the other competing at guard against the likes of Lugg and some of the incoming freshman class.

Gibbons is fortunate that he projects as a guard, not a tackle, considering the Irish appear to have both tackle positions set for the next two or three seasons. His frame should hold the power necessary to excel on the interior, once he has that chance.

NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 99 Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle, senior
No. 97 Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle, senior
No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 94 Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 93 (theoretically) Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 91 Ade Ogundeji, defensive end, junior
No. 90 (theoretically) Tommy Tremble, tight end, incoming freshman
No. 89 Brock Wright, tight end, sophomore
No. 88 Javon McKinley, receiver, junior
No. 87 Michael Young, receiver, sophomore
No. 86 Alizé Mack, tight end, senior
No. 85 George Takacs, tight end, early-enrolled freshman
No. 85 Tyler Newsome, punter and captain, fifth-year senior
No. 84 Cole Kmet, tight end, sophomore
No. 83 Chase Claypool, receiver, junior
No. 82 Nic Weishar, tight end, fifth-year senior
No. 81 Miles Boykin, receiver, senior
No. 80 Micah Jones, receiver, early-enrolled freshman
No. 79 (theoretically) Cole Mabry, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 78 Tommy Kraemer, right guard, junior
No. 77 (theoretically) Jarrett Patterson, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 11 Freddy Canteen, receiver, outgoing transfer