SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame redshirt junior left tackle Mike McGlinchey said he plans on returning for a fifth year, a decision that isn’t formal but could have a significantly positive impact on the Irish in 2017.
McGlinchey was asked if he came to Notre Dame with the mindset that he’d spend five years in South Bend, and said he did and fully intends to follow through with that plan.
"It's going to be a five-year process. I have 19 games left here, and that's what I fully intend to take on," McGlinchey said. "I have a lot left to learn. I'm not ready to go anywhere. I have the best in the business coaching me each and every day, and it's to my benefit to just stay here and learn from him, and there's nothing that I can do to want to change that. I have no intention of wanting to change that.
"I mean, I've played a lot of football so far, but I have a lot left to accomplish, and I know I'm not going to put myself in a position to go somewhere when I'm not fully ready to. And I'm fully confident that I will be ready at some point, but I don't think it'll be after this season."
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It’s worth noting that former Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt and wide receiver Will Fuller both said during the season they planned on returning for their senior years before deciding to turn pro with a year of eligibility renaming. McGlinchey, though, volunteered his mindset, whereas Fuller last year was directly asked about it (Tuitt told the school paper he was returning in 2013 and was later non-commital about that decision).
McGlinchey said he hasn’t paid attention to draft projections, some of which have him pegged as a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft if he were to turn pro. But even if he is projected as a first-round pick — as former Irish left tackle Ronnie Stanley became in May after passing on a fifth year — he won’t take that into consideration as to whether or not he’ll stay or go.
Instead, McGlinchey said, it’ll be more about looking in the mirror and figuring out if he’s ready to go pro. For now, though, McGlinchey sounded sure of his mindset to stick around and learn from offensive line coach Harry Hiestand again in 2017.
"It's not going to come down to a projection for me," McGlinchey said. "It's going to come down to a mindset and a look in the mirror of whether or not I am ready to go, and based off of what I'm feeling now, I'm pretty confident that I'll be back here for a fifth year. And it's not any major decision or ground-breaking decision. I fully intended to do that when I first got to college.
"And like I said, I have so much left to learn here, and it's not going to come down to projections or potential money that I can make. Because if I'm good enough at the point when I feel ready to do it, I'll do it. And those projections will become reality at some point when it's my time to be ready to do that."