Listed measurements: 6-foot-2, 268 pounds.
2022-23 year, eligibility: An incoming freshman, Hinish has all four seasons of eligibility remaining.
Depth Chart: Slot Hinish in on the scout team as the nose tackle in 2022. With senior Jacob Lacey, Harvard graduate transfer Chris Smith and sophomore Gabriel Rubio ahead of him, Notre Dame would have to suffer at least one long-term injury for Hinish to move into a contributing role this season.
Recruiting: Some brothers try not to follow their elder siblings’ footsteps. For others, it is only too natural. The consensus three-star prospect and No. 44 defensive tackle in the class, per rivals.com, always seemed likely to head to South Bend after his older brother Kurt had such success, though the expected gap between the two was anticipated to be a season, not mere months thanks to the universal pandemic eligibility waiver keeping Kurt around for a record-setting fifth season.
NAME, IMAGE, LIKENESS
Hopefully Serena Williams, Jim Harbaugh and Jeff Bridges launch some bragging rights enterprise to forever remind older siblings that the youngers often find more success.
If anyone would predict greater success for Donovan at Notre Dame than Kurt enjoyed — that is one-time captain, five-year contributor, 61 games played, 20 tackles for loss — it would be Kurt. It may be a bit before anyone offers a better scouting report of Donovan than his older brother did more than a year ago.
“All the coaches out there are always joking around with me and talking about stuff that he’s better at than I am,” Kurt said in April of 2021. “So we’re about the same size, if not, he might be an inch or two taller than I am, give or take. He’s about 275 (pounds) right now. My dad has him in the gym working out, putting some weight on him, he looks real good.
“The one thing my younger brother does a lot better than I do, just naturally he’s a lot more athletic than I am, laterally. He’s a better all-around athlete than me. I kind of got the $%#@ end of the stick. It is what it is. The youngest get it all.”
The youngest get it all.
To be clear, Kurt is not the only one to suggest he is the less talented Hinish brother.
“He’s a more athletic Kurt,” former Irish defensive line coach Mike Elston said in December. “I know he’s a more athletic Kurt, and he’s probably a little bit stronger than Kurt coming out of high school. So I’m super excited for him. He’s going to be a pit bull, bull dog inside, like his brother has been, with maybe a little bit more athleticism in there.
“And I’m not afraid to say that because Kurt knows I would say that.”
WHAT WAS SAID WHEN HINISH SIGNED IN DECEMBER
“If Kurt’s scouting reporting is accurate, than much may be expected from his younger brother, recruiting ranking aside. Donovan will have to channel the same drive that pushed Kurt, but every indication is that blue-collar attitude runs throughout the entire family.”
Hinish is so much like his older brother, it could be to his detriment. Just like Kurt sought second opinions to gain medical clearance during the 2021 season after some concussion concerns, Donovan played the entire season with a torn labrum. He injured his shoulder in July but did not get surgery on it until the winter.
He should be recovered from that before the 2022 season, but his weight training may have fallen behind a touch. That, again, is hard to fathom from a Hinish and thus is likely an overreaction, but that possibility is further reason to pace Donovan this season.
That is a distinct difference from Kurt’s freshman season, when an utter lack of depth on the defensive interior forced both Hinish and classmate Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa to play full seasons in 2017, the freshman duo serving as Notre Dame’s second-string tackles.
DOWN THE ROAD
Lacey may enjoy another season in 2023, and at three-technique tackle, senior Howard Cross could conceivably play through the 2024 season at Notre Dame, though any sixth-year moments should be considered unlikely.
But beyond them, the Irish depth on the interior will shift quickly. Smith has only this season at Notre Dame. Fifth-year three-technique Jayson Ademilola will almost certainly head to the NFL following this season.
Thus, in 2023, Hinish could be in a competitive situation to be the backup at either interior position.
If he is as advertised by his older brother, Donovan Hinish forcing his way into significant playing time will be only a matter of when.
WHY NO. 51?
Editor’s Note: The original version of this story was published before Notre Dame announced Hinish would wear No. 41 this season. That version guessed at his jersey number.
Rather simply, Hinish wore No. 51 in high school and no one on the Irish roster currently demands it. There is absolutely no reason to think Hinish will change numbers moving forward, unless he wants to don his older brother’s digits of 41. It would be oddly fitting, given Kurt wore No. 51 in high school before making the switch to 41 because junior linebacker Devyn Spruell wore No. 51.
NOTRE DAME 99-TO-0
From Blake Grupe to Braden Lenzy, the offseason countdown begins anew
No. 99 Blake Grupe, kicker, Arkansas State transfer
No. 99 Rylie Mills, junior defensive lineman, a tackle now playing more at end
No. 98 Tyson Ford, early-enrolled freshman, a defensive tackle recruited as a four-star end
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, sophomore defensive tackle, still ‘as wide as a Volkswagen’
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, a junior defensive tackle who tore his ACL in March
No. 91 Josh Bryan, sophomore kicker
No. 91 Aiden Gobaira, early-enrolled freshman defensive end, four-star recruit
No. 90 Alexander Ehrensberger, junior defensive end, a German project nearing completion
No. 89 Eli Raridon, incoming freshman tight end with a torn ACL
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, sophomore tight end
No. 87 Michael Mayer, junior tight end, likely All-American
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, junior tight end
No. 83 Jayden Thomas, sophomore receiver, former four-star recruit
No. 80 Cane Berrong, sophomore tight end coming off an ACL injury
No. 79 Tosh Baker, one of four young Irish offensive tackles
No. 78 Pat Coogan, sophomore center, recovering from a meniscus injury
No. 77* Ty Chan, incoming offensive tackle, former four-star recruit
No. 76 Joe Alt, sophomore starting left tackle
No. 75 Josh Lugg, sixth-year offensive lineman, likely starting right guard
No. 74 Billy Schrauth, early-enrolled freshman offensive guard coming off foot surgery
No. 73 Andrew Kristofic, senior offensive tackle-turned-guard
No. 72 Caleb Johnson, sophomore offensive tackle, former Auburn pledge
No. 68 Michael Carmody, junior offensive line utility man
No. 65 Michael Vinson, long snapper, ‘Milk’
No. 65* Chris Smith, defensive tackle, Harvard transfer
No. 59* Aamil Wagner, consensus four-star incoming freshman offensive tackle
No. 57 Jayson Ademilola, fifth-year defensive tackle, coming off shoulder surgery
No. 57* Ashton Craig, incoming freshman center
No. 56 Joey Tanona, early-enrolled offensive guard coming off a concussion
No. 56 Howard Cross, senior defensive tackle with heavy hands, and that’s a good thing
No. 55 Jarrett Patterson, fifth-year offensive lineman, three-year starting center, captain
No. 54 Jacob Lacey, senior defensive tackle, now lighter and a starter
No. 54 Blake Fisher, sophomore starting right tackle, ‘ginormous’
No. 52 Zeke Correll, senior center or perhaps left guard
No. 52 Bo Bauer, fifth-year linebacker, Ironman