On Saturday, Notre Dame held its annual Junior Day. The Irish hosted 22 players form various parts of the country, with the prospects getting to tour the campus, watch a spring practice and meet with the coaches. The day turned out to be very productive as four of the prospects gave non binding commitments to the Irish. Three of the four were offensive linemen, all of whom are very highly recruited players.
The first to commit was 6-7, 280-pound offensive lineman Colin McGovern from New Lenox, Illinois. McGovern is rated as a 4-star recruit by Scout.com and a 3-star recruit by Rivals.com. He held offers from such schools as Alabama, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
McGovern was followed by fellow offensive lineman Hunter Biven from Owensboro, Kentucky. The 6-7, 288-pound lineman is rated as a 4-star recruit by both services and his offer list includes Auburn, Clemson, Florida and LSU.
Yesterday, big 6-9, 280-pound Mike McClinchey from Philadelphia had left Notre Dame and was driving to visit Wisconsin when he and his family turned the car around and drove back to South Bend to commit to Notre Dame. McGlinchey, like McGovern, is rated 3 stars by Rivals and 4 stars by Scout. Like the other commits, McGlinchey had a very impressive offer list that included Florida, Florida State, Miami and Penn State.
The ironic part of Notre Dame landing three offensive line recruits early was that back in January when head coach Brian Kelly hired Harry Hiestand from Tennessee to be his new offensive line coach it wasn't met well by some of the fan base. The reason being Tennessee did not have a strong offensive line in 2011. What the faithful didn’t know or realize is that Hiestand is one of the finest offensive line coaches in college football and a top recruiter. He spent 5 years with the Chicago Bears, which included an NFC Championship and Super Bowl appearance.You don’t win a conference championship in the NFL without an outstanding offensive line coach.
The final commitment for the Irish over the weekend was a huge one. Quarterback Malik Zaire, a 4-star recruit from Kettering, Ohio, said no to Ohio State and gave his pledge to Notre Dame. Because he was from Ohio, it was looked upon as a given that Zaire would attend Ohio State. He was also was offered by the likes of Alabama, Wisconsin, Arizona and Pittsburgh.
With the momentum going strong, look for the Irish to pick up a few more commitments in the next few weeks from this past weekend’s visitors.