Looking for the next great offensive lineman can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Sure you can find some players who are serviceable and play the position well, but finding that dominate bulldozer who controls the line of scrimmage is rare.
The Irish have already begun to gauge the interest of some of the elite offensive line talent in the 2012 class and one who has already been in Notre Dame's sights is Lee's Summit West's (Lee's Summit, Missouri) Evan Boehm.
Boehm, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound lineman, helped lead his team to the 5-A state championship this year and according to his father and coach, Royce Boehm, his son's dominance on the field can be attributed to his hard work and the help of someone else.
"Honestly, I think it's his natural ability," said Royce Boehm. "God has blessed him with something special that you can't coach. Even when he was young we would go to baseball tournaments, basketball tournaments and soccer tournaments and would always have to take his birth certificate with us, because they couldn't believe that Evan was at the age that he was at. We always had to prove how old Evan really was."
As the young man worked through junior high to high school, he just kept getting better though his father was still a bit pessimistic.
"Back in Evan's freshman year, my offensive line coach and defensive line coach said they believed Evan was already a varsity football player as a freshman," he said. "Being the dad I said, 'No, he's a freshman and he'll play with the freshman football team.' And that was that.
"So we are practicing the first part of the season doing two-a-days, and we had just won a state championship in 2007, so coming into our 2008 year my coaches are saying, 'Coach, Evan can play at this level.'
We had two all-state defensive tackles that year and the coaches kept begging me, 'Coach, please bring up Evan and put him against our studs.' I said, 'You know what? If you guys want to do it, do it, but I'm going to have no part of it.' So I went at the other end of the field with the quarterbacks and receivers.
"I'm watching from a distance, Evan competing against our all-state defensive tackles, and these guys are seniors. Evan, as a freshman, is driving these guys 10 yards off the line of scrimmage.
"The coaches then come down and asked if I needed to see any more and I said, 'No, I've seen enough.'
So Evan Boehm began his high school football journey by being thrown in the fire early, but when most guys would be chewed up and tossed out, he was the one dominating.
"Evan has started every game since his freshman year for our varsity football team at Lee's Summit West," said the coach. "He started at left guard for us his freshman year and also did all of our long-snapping and short snapping. Evan earned all-conference honorable mention as a freshman, then was named first team all-state as a sophomore and then this year as a junior he was named all-state again.
"He was named MVP of our offense as a lineman, and he was also chosen unanimously for the all-conference player of the year. Those type of awards usually go to to quarterbacks, running backs or receivers.
"He was up for Missouri's Class-5 player of the year and was beat out by quarterback Corbin Berkstresser (Missouri commit)."
So what makes the junior so successful? If you ask him it's simple.
"I bring an attitude to the game," said the Lee's Summit star. "I finish every block and have great footwork that helps me get to the next level very well. Off the field, I'm known as a teddy bear, but when I get on the playing field I get that attitude and out comes the mean streak.
"We won state this year in class 5-A. We beat Webster Groves (44-21), they were undefeated for two years and were ranked #23 in the nation by USA Today when we played them."
Boehm's playing style has already garnered him early offers from big-time college football programs and the Irish are starting to show him a lot of attention.
"Evan was offered by the University of Missouri after his freshman year and now with the likes of Wisconsin, Northwestern, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State," his father said. "It's just honestly a great group of schools to be honored by. Evan has a top five right now, but if Notre Dame throws an offer on the table for Evan, that would throw a wrinkle into the whole process.
"When Coach (Ed) Warinner came in a few weeks ago, he told us that Evan was one of the top five offensive linemen they are after, so he said something could be coming around within the next month or two.
"Like I said, if Notre Dame offers it will put a huge wrinkle in the whole process."
The Irish also pique the junior's interest.
"Notre Dame has great tradition," said the lineman. "I would like to visit Notre Dame in the future. If they came walking through the door, I would be very interested."
With many formidable offers on the table already for the Missouri standout, he knows what type of schools he'll be looking for.
"Most importantly, I'm going to be looking at the education," said Boehm. "I will also be looking at the tradition behind the program, the championships, the bowl games, the atmosphere and if they have that family feeling."
Royce Boehm agrees with his son's assessment and knows that Evan will soon make the next step in his football journey.
"It's a scary thing for his mother and I," said Boehm's father. "We only have a year and a half left with him. So the realistics come back to ask the question, 'Have his mother and I done everything we can to prepare Evan for the world outside of this house?' That's our jobs as parents to make sure we have done that.
"There is that day where you have to let them go, and hopefully you have instilled in them the upper powers of the Almighty to make the right decisions and the right choices."
Part of the all-state lineman's journey will take him to San Antonio next week for a big-time engagement.
"Tom Lemming contacted us and told us that Evan is in the top-50 juniors in the nation and was invited to the U.S. Army All-American combine," said Royce Boehm. "We weren't signed up for it at first, but after Lemming's call we signed Evan back up and will be going to San Antonio.
"Even with that news, we have to make sure that Evan remains very humbled, respectful and not let anything go to his head. That is mom and dad's responsibility to make sure he stays grounded."