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Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 68 Michael Carmody, junior offensive line utility man

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 02 Cincinnati at Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 02: Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive linemen Michael Carmody (68) and Zeke Correll (52) block during a college football game against the Cincinnati Bearcats on Oct. 2, 2021 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Listed measurements: 6-foot-5 ½, 290 pounds.2022-23 year, eligibility: A junior, Carmody has three seasons of eligibility remaining.Depth Chart: Any injury along the offensive line could force Carmody into the starting lineup, be it directly or via a domino effect. In a literal sense, he should be on the two-deep as the backup at one of the tackle positions.Recruiting: An All-American and consensus four-star prospect, Carmody chose the Irish over Auburn, Ohio State and Michigan, among many others. The Pennsylvania native spent much of his recruitment taking a hard look at his homestate flagship along with those other Big 10 powers, but his familiarity with Notre Dame always made a South Bend landing likely. Carmody’s older brother, Robby, has played on the men’s basketball team since 2018, though his career has been beset by injuries.

Carmody played in only the South Florida blowout as a freshman in 2020, making for his start one game into the 2021 season even more of a surprise. After Blake Fisher tore his meniscus in the season opener, Carmody stepped in at left tackle. Of course, he could not make it through that first start without spraining his ankle, and though he got a second start a few weeks later, that plaguing ankle cut that short, too.

In total, Carmody appeared in 10 games for the Irish in 2021, starting twice. That may not seem too notable, but being the first left tackle off the bench emphasized his broad standing, something that carried over to this spring.

Now this is good caption writing, more than anything else, but it is organic thoughts like these that should be capitalized on. WD-40 has not had a notable advertisement in Carmody’s lifetime. A small spend here would have garnered at least an afternoon of social media notice.

But in the meantime, Carmody and the rest of Notre Dame’s offensive line continue to show how easily NIL can be put to positive use, despite so many people’s hand-wringing over the idea of paying college students.

As the Irish sought a healthy left tackle just as much as a good left tackle last season, the differences between Carmody, classmate Tosh Baker and then-freshman Joe Alt were expounded upon plenty. In October, all three managed to be healthy. Notre Dame needed to turn to just one.

“Each one of them has characteristics that allow them to compete at Notre Dame at the left tackle position,” then-Irish head coach Brian Kelly said. “None of them are finished products. You have great length with Baker (standing 6-foot-8), you probably have a little bit more athleticism with Carmody, and then maybe a little bit of both with Alt, but he’s young.”

That athleticism of Carmody’s warrants continued notice as he becomes the Notre Dame offensive line utility man.

“Carmody has all the tools wanted, they are just raw. That is to be expected from any sophomore, let alone current sophomores who lost many chances at growth and development during the pandemic.

“The Irish will need a right tackle in 2022, unless current senior Jarrett Patterson moves to tackle then after that was expected this offseason. In that case, then Notre Dame will need a right tackle in 2023, when Carmody will still have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

“He will get his chance, and it would be foolish to downplay that chance. The high school basketball player has the lateral quickness needed on the edge, and though his 6-foot-5 ½ frame might be small compared to (Josh) Lugg, it is plenty long enough to excel once given the chance.”

Offensive line utility man may seem like a minimal role, but consider what it is referencing. A utility infielder sees plenty of action throughout the long baseball season, filling in wherever rest or injuries dictate the need.

And rare is the football season in which all five starting offensive linemen remain unscathed. Notre Dame started seven offensive linemen in 2018 and 2019, years where the initial line was made up entirely of NFL-quality players. The Irish needed eight starting offensive linemen to get through the chaotic yet abridged 2020 season and nine in 2021 thanks largely to the rash of injuries at left tackle.

During the current Notre Dame resurgence, only the Joe Moore Award-winning 2017 unit never suffered an injury, a unit that included two top-10 draft picks and six NFL-quality starters. Yes, six, because even if it never suffered an injury, freshman Robert Hainsey and sophomore Tommy Kraemer still worked within a timeshare at right tackle.

Thus, the utility man will almost certainly be needed.

If a tackle is injured, Carmody figures to step right in. If a guard is injured, that should be the most likely result, but returned Irish offensive line coach Harry Hiestand could instead indulge in some re-shuffling. At center, Carmody has worked the fulcrum in practices to create some semblance of depth, further testimony to the faith in his innate athleticism.

Utility man work need not be selfless. Learning each position eventually leads to playing time. Exhibit A: Josh Lugg. He was long in Carmody’s current role, which gave him the present ability to move between tackle and guard. That ensures Lugg a starting role while also giving Notre Dame options to craft its best offensive line.

Predicting where Carmody will start when depends on predicting many other dynamics, but this much is certain: The Irish will need at least two new starters in 2023, replacing Lugg and fifth-year center Jarrett Patterson. A third may be needed if current senior Andrew Kristofic both starts this season at left guard and departs following this year.

In 2024, up to two new tackles could be needed, given how quickly Blake Fisher and Joe Alt impressed and established themselves as freshmen last season.

Starting opportunities will come for Carmody. His work across the line will have him prepared for wherever he is needed.

From Blake Grupe to Braden Lenzy, the offseason countdown begins anew
No. 99 Blake Grupe, kicker, Arkansas State transfer
No. 99 Rylie Mills, junior defensive lineman, a tackle now playing more at end

No. 98 Tyson Ford, early-enrolled freshman, a defensive tackle recruited as a four-star end
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, sophomore defensive tackle, still ‘as wide as a Volkswagen’
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, a junior defensive tackle who tore his ACL in March
No. 91 Josh Bryan, sophomore kicker
No. 91 Aiden Gobaira, early-enrolled freshman defensive end, four-star recruit
No. 90 Alexander Ehrensberger, junior defensive end, a German project nearing completion
No. 89 Eli Raridon, incoming freshman tight end with a torn ACL
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, sophomore tight end
No. 87 Michael Mayer, junior tight end, likely All-American
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, junior tight end
No. 83 Jayden Thomas, sophomore receiver, former four-star recruit
No. 80 Cane Berrong, sophomore tight end coming off an ACL injury
No. 79 Tosh Baker, one of four young Irish offensive tackles
No. 78 Pat Coogan, sophomore center, recovering from a meniscus injury
No. 77* Ty Chan, incoming offensive tackle, former four-star recruit
No. 76 Joe Alt, sophomore starting left tackle
No. 75 Josh Lugg, sixth-year offensive lineman, likely starting right guard
No. 74 Billy Schrauth, early-enrolled freshman offensive guard coming off foot surgery
No. 73 Andrew Kristofic, senior offensive tackle-turned-guard
No. 72 Caleb Johnson, sophomore offensive tackle, former Auburn pledge

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