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Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 56 John Dirksen, incoming freshman, offensive lineman


Listed Measurements: 6-foot-5, 300 pounds
2018-19 year, eligibility: Incoming freshman with four years of eligibility remaining, including the 2018 season.
Depth chart: Dirksen arrives deep in the reserves of the Irish offensive line.
Recruiting: A consensus three-star prospect, Dirksen chose Notre Dame over the likes of Iowa State, Michigan State and Boston College as the No. 37 offensive tackle in the class, per, and the No. 28 recruit in Ohio.

To some degree, mentioning Dirksen grew up on a dairy farm is simply a nod to a storyline. In more pertinent terms, it underscores the area in which he is from, arguably part of why his recruitment never truly took off.

“In a rural area, a winner,” is how Irish head coach Brian Kelly described Dirksen on National Signing Day, before moving on to explain he will fit into the offensive line position meetings with little trouble.

“We’re looking for offensive linemen that have had success, that are great teammates, that will fit into the culture of the offensive line room. That’s a huge piece for us. Our offensive linemen are eminently involved in the recruiting process. They give us thumbs up and thumbs down on a lot of guys that we’re recruiting. They are part of this recruiting process.

“They first and foremost have to fit that room, and then we look at their potential, the development potential of that player, and John fits that for us.”

“At some point or another, every offensive lineman gets his chance. … That may be at guard or tackle for Dirksen, with a frame that could fit at either position. A guard spot will open up following the 2018 season with senior Alex Bars using up his eligibility. Otherwise, Dirksen may need to wait another two years for [now-junior] Tommy Kraemer and [now-sophomore Robert] Hainsey to finish up their time.”

Dirksen will spend the season preserving a year of eligibility, learning the competitive nature of the collegiate game. He may have won three state titles in high school and started as a freshman then, but another gear will be needed from Dirksen to find success at the next level.

After Dirksen spends 2018 on the sidelines, he will be two seasons of eligibility behind the triumvirate of junior left tackle Liam Eichenberg, right guard Kraemer and right tackle Robert Hainsey. If Dirksen does not push past the grouping of current sophomores who will vie for the guard spot opened up by Bars’ departure, biding his time until 2021 will not be that long of a wait.

WHY NO. 70?
The end of this string of offensive linemen is in sight. From No. 79 on down, every spot has been filled. Slotting in Dirksen at No. 70 in this exercise is simply positioning him at a possible number before No. 69 sophomore Aaron Banks is the only entry left before a numeric drop to No. 57 senior Trevor Ruhland.

NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 99 Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle, senior
No. 97 Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle, senior
No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 94 Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 93 (theoretically) Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 91 Ade Ogundeji, defensive end, junior
No. 90 (theoretically) Tommy Tremble, tight end, incoming freshman
No. 89 Brock Wright, tight end, sophomore
No. 88 Javon McKinley, receiver, junior
No. 87 Michael Young, receiver, sophomore
No. 86 Alizé Mack, tight end, senior
No. 85 George Takacs, tight end, early-enrolled freshman
No. 85 Tyler Newsome, punter and captain, fifth-year senior
No. 84 Cole Kmet, tight end, sophomore
No. 83 Chase Claypool, receiver, junior
No. 82 Nic Weishar, tight end, fifth-year senior
No. 81 Miles Boykin, receiver, senior
No. 80 Micah Jones, receiver, early-enrolled freshman
No. 79 (theoretically) Cole Mabry, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 78 Tommy Kraemer, right guard, junior
No. 77 (theoretically) Jarrett Patterson, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 76 Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman, sophomore
No. 75 Josh Lugg, offensive lineman, sophomore
No. 74 Liam Eichenberg, starting left tackle, junior
No. 73 (theoretically) Luke Jones, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
No. 72 Robert Hainsey, right tackle, sophomore
No. 71 Alex Bars, left guard and captain, fifth-year senior
No. 11 Freddy Canteen, receiver, outgoing transfer

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