The quintet of Steven Elmer, Colin McGovern, Hunter Bivin, Mike McGlinchey, and John Montelus is a fantastic haul for Notre Dame and will set this class apart for the next few seasons. In recent years Notre Dame’s offensive line has been an area of question, but this past season the solidification of the front five has given fans a chance to exhale and not worry every time the quarterback takes his drop.
Leading the pack is Steven Elmer, the dynamic offensive tackle from Midland, Mich. He has all the tools to be a main stay along the Irish offensive line for many years. He has the explosion and good feet you expect for a player who will most likely end up as a left tackle. Pass protection is not an issue for this lineman that uses his long arms and hands to separate and lock out defenders. Don’t fret because he is not a five-star player, he is a five-star talent, but he is getting overlooked because of his very early commitment to the Irish. He is a five-star in my book.
He can play very well in the spread offense based on the film I have watched. He can move his feet and get down the line to make the zone blocks that Harry Hiestand and Chuck Martin will ask of him. He is adept at pass protection so I do not see any issue with Elmer making the transition to the next level.
Projection: Elmer is the ideal offensive tackle for the Irish. He has the ability to push for playing time as a freshman, but will likely red shirt and join the rotation during his sophomore season. He needs to get in the weight room and establish himself and he will be a fan favorite.
Colin McGovern is next in line after Elmer. McGovern is a tough hard-nosed kid from the far south west side of Chicago. He is a finisher and with great explosion and excellent feet. He is an accomplished pass blocker in his own right. He is fluid in his kick slides and makes all of his blocks. He puts himself in position to keep the defender off of his quarterback. I would think that McGovern will play tackle, most likely right tackle, but could possibly move inside if needed. I would prefer to see him as a tackle but he has versatility to play both.
McGovern has excellent versatility and can play inside or out. He has good enough feet to be a zone blocker in Notre Dame’s offense. His ability to get to the second level makes me sure that his transition will be very smooth.
Projection: The New Lennox, Ill. native is the right size and has a good body to add weight to be ready to play some as a sophomore, but I wouldn’t expect to see McGovern until his junior season. His development is up to him as I feel he needs add 25 to 30 pounds to his frame depending if he ends up at tackle or as a guard.
John Montelus is the new comer to the Irish offensive line. He is the most recent and likely last offensive line commitment taken by the Irish. He is my third favorite prospect along the offensive line. He is the only pure inside player that the Irish have recruited this season. Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 295 pounds he has the body to be a guard or a center once he arrives on campus. He needs some redistribution of his weight but that can be accomplished in his first offseason at Notre Dame. I like the way he finishes blocks and gets to the second level. He is looking to hit someone and he has good technique off the snap and continues it throughout the block.
As a guard I like the potential of Montelus. He has the size and strength to excel at Notre Dame. He can move his feet and plays behind his hips and this allows him to move people off the ball. As a zone blocker I see no issues for him making the leap. He will be a decent pass protector and it will be easier for him to protect from the inside than a tackle like he plays in high school.
Projection: Montelus will be a guard once he arrives at Notre Dame. I am not currently thrilled with the guard depth Notre Dame currently has along the offensive line. I think he will get a chance to prove himself as a sophomore, but his development will be up to him. I would like to think he is in the two-deep as a sophomore but he will make his presence felt as a junior.
Mike McGlinchey is a pure tackle plan and simple. Standing 6-foot-9 he is at a disadvantage in the run game but has the ability to excel as a pass protector. He reminds me a lot of former Irish tackle Brennan Curtin. He is long and rangy and move surprisingly well for a player of his size. Keeping his pad level low could be problem for him, but he does have a good knee bend so that could help him make up for his height issue. Currently at 280 pounds, he needs to add some weight to get him up to 300 pounds before he can make an impact. This should not be a problem for someone with a frame like McGlinchey has.
He can move around laterally as well as getting down field. He moves well and gets his hands on defenders and moves them out of the way. He can make the zone steps and get himself up to the second level. Once he gets his hands on the defender he can use his long arms to lock his opponent out. He does a good job with pass protection. He is a right tackle, currently. He is rangy enough to play left tackle, but I think that he will make his impact as a right tackle.
Projection: McGlinchey needs to bulk himself up and prove that he is a player who can play with a low enough pad level to be a contributor along the line. I predict that he will make his move junior year and should be in position to start as a junior or senior. He is a wild card. If things fall into place early for McGlinchey he can be a stellar offensive lineman but he has to prove it before I move him to an early contributor.
Hunter Bivin is a recruit that I think is going to have the toughest road. With his measurables he has what it takes to be a big-time offensive lineman in college. At 6-foot-7 and 290 pounds he should be punishing defenders. He needs to finish his blocks time after time. While his size suggests that he is a offensive tackle, I like him better inside. His best material on film is when he is playing center. There he shows that he is a finisher. His biggest problem is he doesn't face the best competition. I think while playing tackle he got lazy because things came too easy for him. He played high and left too many guys off the hook. I think Bivin will be a center or a guard once he gets to Notre Dame.
He has decent footwork and can make the blocks in the zone game. He is a decent pass protector and should have an easy time with this as an interior lineman. He will have to work extra hard in the weight room and reform his body in to the type of lineman he needs to be, thick-legged and angry. He can definitely succeed at Notre Dame. I hope to see him make the effort.
Projection: The Owensboro, Ky. star has some work ahead for him. He needs to bring intensity to every play. No one across from him will give him any quarter and he should act the same way. With some hard work and dedication Bivin could prove to be the diamond-in-the-rough of the offensive lineman. I expect him to play center and guard the way Mike Golic, Jr. does.
Final Verdict: Steven Elmer is my favorite lineman in the class with Colin McGovern coming in a solid second behind him. The other three players are all gifted and grouped fairly closely together in terms of talent and how they project at Notre Dame. This is one of the best offensive lineman hauls Notre Dame has had since the vaunted class of 2003( I am kind of partial to that class for obvious reasons). I look forward to following these player's development and expect them to be the future along the offensive line.