Notre Dame came into the 2013 cycle looking for five offensive linemen and the Irish got five, but more importantly, they got the five they wanted.
Steve Elmer offered his commitment to Notre Dame months before signing day, months before signing day of 2012.
The Michigan offensive lineman got the Irish’s 2013 recruiting class to a big start when he offered his pledge in September of 2011. He was in Ann Arbor as a recruit for the Wolverines' crazy last-minute victory over Notre Dame and found that he was one of the few inside the Big House who was upset with the ending. He committed to Notre Dame a week later.
Elmer remained Notre Dame’s only commitment until March, when Jacob Matuska and James Onwualu jumped on board before the floodgates opened at the Irish’s Junior Day later that month.
The Junior Day event resulted in six verbal commitments, including a trio of offensive linemen.
Colin McGovern got things started by committing during the event and Hunter Bivin jumped on board an hour or so later. Bivin and those close to him helped us understand the scene leading up to his pledge, which you can read here.
Mike McGlinchey (pictured right with Bivin) was actually on his way from South Bend to Wisconsin for a visit the next day. About 30 minutes into the trip, he told his father to turn the car around. He called offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, committed to the Irish and returned to campus.
As soon as the Irish emerged from Junior Day with four in the fold, they were able to isolate the guy they wanted to fill out the group. The fact that Notre Dame was so choosy so early in the process proves that it ended up with the guys high on the board.
Even with a need at the position, the Irish didn’t have to extend many offers before landing the players they ended up with. No one gets all of the players they offer and players like Ethan Pocic, Jake Raulerson, Logan Tuley-Tillman, Evan Lisle and Patrick Kugler chose to go elsewhere, but there ended up being no room for many of the other prospects the Irish offered.
The Irish could have definitely be in the race for linemen like Aaron Cochran, Dorian Johnson and Donovan Munger had they decided to pursue harder and even turned at least one prospect away. They were waiting for their guy and they made it clear John Montelus was him.
Montelus was literally on his way to South Bend for his first trip to Notre Dame when he told Irish Sports Daily that he would “probably” commit if it felt right. It did and he did, offering his pledge just moments after the Irish’s spring game in April.
Hiestand had a huge impact on recruiting in his first year as a member of Notre Dame’s staff. Elmer was already on board when he was hired, but the new Irish offensive line coach played a key role in the commitments of the other four linemen.
Bivin grew up a huge Notre Dame fan and relished an offer from the Irish, but had to wait a bit as Tim Hinton and Ed Warinner – his recruiter and potential position coach – left South Bend for Ohio State. As soon as he got the offer, in late January, the Irish were considered the leader, but Bivin’s recruitment may have played out much longer had he not hit it off immediately with Hiestand.
Hiestand hit it off even more quickly with Montelus, who he first met during that spring game weekend.
Notre Dame was finished recruiting the position before summer even came and the Irish were able to sell their offensive line to prospects like Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston down the road.