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Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 94 (theoretically) Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle


Listed Measurements: 6-foot-2, 280 pounds
2017-18 year, eligibility: Freshman yet to enroll
Depth chart: Copy-and-pasting this section from the Darnell Ewell entry would not be inaccurate. Hinish will presumably join his classmate in competing to back up junior Jerry Tillery. It would be a surprise to see both freshmen surpass senior Daniel Cage and junior Brandon Tiassum in that positional battle.
Recruiting: A consensus three-star out of Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Hinish was one of the core recruits Irish coach Brian Kelly credited with holding the class of 2017 together during the disappointing 4-8 season and subsequent assistant coaching turnover.

In addition to praising Hinish’s communication skills among his peers, Kelly pointed to the lineman’s overall demeanor as a key to his future, possibly just as much as his physical talents, when Kelly discussed the recruits on National Signing Day.

“We really wanted that tough-guy mentality on our defensive line,” Kelly said. “Kurt brought that to us right away. Not only did he make plays, but he had a toughness to him. We wanted to upgrade that toughness across the board.

“We thought we had some big, athletic guys. We wanted that physical and mental toughness that Kurt brought to his game.”

Hinish will provide immediate depth and long-term potential on the defensive front, and that cannot be overrated. His was a recruitment low on drama, and thus often low on rave reviews. Those two should not depend on each as often as they do.

Hinish will likely preserve a year of eligibility in 2017. Injuries could certainly force him into action, but all signs indicate he will not be needed on the defensive front this season. The talk of a lack of depth on the interior is not necessarily referencing a lack of bodies, but rather a lack of proven talents. The former does not need yet another name in the mix, and as an incoming freshman, it will be difficult for Hinish to establish himself as a proven talent.

That year on the sidelines can allow Hinish to focus on getting ready for spring practice of 2018, when opportunity will certainly be there for him. As has often been seen, the biggest hurdle for a sophomore in that position is sometimes remaining healthy. (See: Dew-Treadway, Micah) If Hinish has that luxury, up to three defensive tackle departures will give him a chance to go about establishing himself as that proven talent.

It is not outlandish to see that being four defensive tackle departures, including two starters, given the possibility of junior Jerry Tillery leaving a year early to head to the NFL.

As discussed in the Darnell Ewell entry, … aside from the five early enrollees, the numbers are not yet known for the Irish freshmen class. That is one of the admitted drawbacks to organizing this summer-long series numerically. But a little bit of educated guessing can garner estimates for those numbers, and those estimates can allow the series to proceed without pause.

After all, the real purpose is to take a look at each player. The order, quite frankly, doesn’t matter. It is nothing more than a gimmick, be it done alphabetically, numerically or by the magic number crafted by adding the single integers of each player’s birthday. (For example, Derek Jeter’s June 26 birthday would equal 0 + 6 + 2 + 6 = 14.)

How are those estimates crafted? The first step is to take a look at certain NCAA rules. That is less helpful on defense than it is on offense. The NCAA places no stipulations on defensive integers. That is how Notre Dame ends up with one defensive end named Hayes wearing No. 93 (senior, Jay) and one defensive end named Hayes wearing No. 9 (sophomore, Daelin). Yet, only so many numbers are available. The Irish are likely to avoid any unnecessary doublings so as to lessen the chances of somehow ending up with two players wearing the same number defending, hmmm, a field goal, by chance. Obviously, such a noticeable infraction would inevitably draw a flag.

For this exercise, at least, the estimates are garnered under that presumption.

Kurt Hinish is probably not going to wear No. 94, but it is possible. It certainly seems more likely than No. 8 or No. 31, both of which are unclaimed on the Notre Dame roster. Only time will tell. For today, let’s just go with No. 94.

2017’s Notre Dame 99-to-2
Friday at 4: Goodbye A-to-Z, hello 99-to-2
No. 99: Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti, defensive end
No. 97: Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah, defensive tackle
No. 95 (theoretically): Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle