Listed measurements: 6-foot-5 ¼, 292 pounds.
2021-22 year, eligibility: A junior, Kristofic still has four seasons of eligibility remaining thanks to the universal pandemic eligibility waiver, a sentence that while making sense, remains incomprehensible each time it is typed.
Depth Chart: Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly lumped Kristofic in with players working at tackle this spring, but among the tackles — including early-enrolled freshman Blake Fisher, sophomore Tosh Baker, fifth-year Josh Lugg — Kristofic is no higher than No. 4 among them, suggesting second-team work.
Recruiting: A consensus four-star prospect out of the Pittsburgh area, Kristofic first crossed the Irish radar when the coaching staff was pursuing his high school teammate, quarterback Phil Jurkovec. When Clemson, Ohio State and Wisconsin came chasing Kristofic, Notre Dame had already established itself in the All-American’s eyes.
CAREER TO DATE
Kristofic has appeared in eight games in his two years, four moments in each season, none of them competitive in nature.
NAME, IMAGE, LIKENESS
If Bass Pro Shops doesn’t put together a sponsorship deal with the Irish offensive line as soon as NIL legislation has passed, then the outdoor recreation retailer may never have a chance at catching up to LL Bean or REI in its respective market share.
Discussion of Kristofic this spring mostly hinged on Kelly mentioning the tackle as getting work at center. As the roster is currently constructed, Notre Dame would not have a center on its No. 2 offensive line in practices. Kristofic may replace Dillan Gibbons in that respect after Gibbons transferred to Florida State.
WHAT WAS SAID TWO YEARS AGO
“Expecting an early-enrolled freshman to wait and wait and wait is the usual, and the presumed future for Kristofic. Notre Dame’s line is set for the next two seasons, so there is no need to hurry his development.
“After 2020, though, the Irish will need two first-time starting tackles. Kristofic will be in the mix for either gig, along with Carroll, Mabry and whatever recruits join the mix in the current cycle (headlined by consensus four-star Tosh Baker).”
Even the center duty should not lead to genuine playing time for Kristofic this season. If junior Zeke Correll is injured, the Irish are more likely to call upon senior Jarrett Patterson or fifth-year Josh Lugg, both of whom have center experience though now expected to start at right guard and right tackle, respectively.
But that should not diminish Kristofic’s work this fall. If he impresses this preseason, he could become the line-wide utility man, a role that Lugg embraced the last two years and then buoyed him into a starting role.
DOWN THE ROAD
The bounty along Notre Dame’s offensive line is so thorough it comes at the expense of players like Kristofic. A four-star once pursued by the sport’s blue bloods and the No. 32 offensive tackle in his class, per rivals.com, Kristofic enters his junior year entrenched as no better than the fourth Irish offensive tackle. Sophomore Michael Carmody, junior Quinn Carroll and even freshman Caleb Johnson all loom as candidates who could leapfrog Kristofic when Lugg finishes his career. Not to mention, the runner-up of the Baker-Fisher competition to start at left tackle in 2021 will be in the mix to step forward at right tackle as Lugg’s successor.
But Kristofic could also presumably start at most programs in the FBS.
Program growth like this is a good thing, and transfers with immediate eligibility make it so that growth does not cost individuals their chances elsewhere.
A potential Kristofic transfer would not come before the 2021 season, and his play as the utility man could change this entire conversation, but a transfer at some point in 2022 might not be too shocking. With four seasons of eligibility remaining currently, his possible years of service available would be appealing to most teams.
NOTRE DAME 99-TO-0
Let’s try this again
No. 99 Rylie Mills, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 98 Alexander Ehrensberger, sophomore defensive end
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, early-enrolled freshman defensive tackle the size of a Volkswagen
No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, fifth-year defensive tackle-turned-end
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, early-enrolled freshman tight end, a former high school quarterback
No. 87 Michael Mayer, star sophomore tight end and lead offensive weapon
No. 85 George Takacs, senior tight end, ‘152 years old’
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, sophomore tight end
No. 82 Xavier Watts, sophomore receiver
No. 81 Jay Brunelle, speedy sophomore receiver
No. 80 Cane Berrong, early-enrolled freshman tight end
No. 79 Tosh Baker, sophomore offensive tackle
No. 78 Pat Coogan, incoming freshman center
No. 77 Quinn Carroll, junior offensive lineman
No. 76 Joe Alt, incoming and towering freshman offensive lineman
No. 75 Josh Lugg, fifth-year right tackle, finally a starter