Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 60 Cole Mabry, offensive tackle
Listed Measurements: 6-foot-5, 273 pounds.2019-20 year, eligibility: A sophomore, Mabry has all four seasons of eligibility remaining, including 2019, after not appearing in any games as a freshman.Depth chart: Mabry will be listed as the backup to senior left tackle Liam Eichenberg, though in reality, if Eichenberg were to be injured, junior left guard Aaron Banks would move to tackle and Mabry would remain on the sidelines.Recruiting: A consensus three-star prospect, Mabry chose Notre Dame over offers from Cincinnati, Indiana and Memphis a year before he was expected to sign. His unwavering commitment reduced the bigger offers he could have received.
CAREER TO DATE
Mabry spent 2018 working with the scout team.
It can be difficult to assess young linemen buried on the depth chart. That is where the offseason work in the weight room can show the coaching staff who is physically progressing, and that is apparently where Mabry fared well this winter.
“Probably of all the offensive linemen, if you take a look at where they have tested out, Mabry ended up second across the board in all of our testing when we take all of our different tests and put it all together,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said early in spring practices.
WHAT WAS PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
“The only non-injury-related way for Mabry to find himself playing time this season would be to make an unexpected jump a la [Robert] Hainsey a year ago, perhaps combined with Eichenberg regressing in preseason practice. Even then, Irish offensive line coach Jeff Quinn would likely be inclined to give Eichenberg time to improve before then turning to sophomore Josh Lugg.
“Hainsey will stand as this generation’s exception to the rule of Notre Dame not starting freshmen offensive linemen. Not even Quenton Nelson saw playing time as a freshman, after all.”
The guard-to-tackle contingency of Banks moving outward if Eichenberg gets hurt is not a new approach for the Irish, and not one indicative of a lack of trust in Mabry. Quinn has continued former offensive line coach Harry Hiestand’s preference of getting the five best linemen onto the field, figuring out their positions as needed. Simply put, Banks’ backup — junior Josh Lugg — is better than Mabry, meaning he will find his way onto the field before Mabry, even if it means moving Banks to best set up Lugg.
However, Mabry has entered the broader conversation. Furthering his buzz in summer work and into preseason practice could change that plan, just as Banks managed a year ago. A strong spring showing makes it clear Mabry could pull that off, or least continue to trend in that direction.
At the least, he should spell Eichenberg in a few blowouts, perhaps first getting his feet wet as Notre Dame cruises past Louisville on Labor Day (98 days).
DOWN THE ROAD
It’ll remain difficult for Mabry to earn much playing time, given the Irish should return all five starters next season. But that will then use up Eichenberg’s and Hainsey’s eligibility, putting Mabry into a competition for either starting tackle spot when he still has two years remaining. There will be other contenders, but Mabry will certainly get his chance in due time.
NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 95: Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle
No. 94: Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle
No. 91: Ade Ogundeji, defensive end
No. 90: Hunter Spears, defensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 89: Brock Wright, tight end
No. 88: Javon McKinley, receiver
No. 87: Michael Young, receiver
No. 85: George Takacs, tight end
No. 84: Cole Kmet, tight end
No. 83: Chase Claypool, receiver
No. 80: Micah Jones, receiver
No. 78: Tommy Kraemer, right guard, three-year starter
No. 77: Quinn Carroll, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 76: Dillan Gibbons, offensive guard
No. 75: Josh Lugg, offensive lineman
No. 74: Liam Eichenberg, left tackle, two-year starter
No. 73: Andrew Kristofic, offensive tackle, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 72: Robert Hainsey, offensive tackle, three-year starter
No. 71: John Olmstead, offensive lineman, early-enrolled consensus four-star
No. 69: Aaron Banks, left guard