Notre Dame gets the letters: Three more offensive linemen in Caleb Johnson, Pat Coogan & Joe Alt
Trinity Catholic High School; Ocala, Fla.
Measurements: 6’7”, 290 lbs.Accolades: The consensus four-star is the No. 33 offensive tackle in the class, per rivals.com, and No. 50 overall player in Florida this cycle.
Other Notable Offers: Johnson flipped his Auburn commitment just three weeks ago, part of Notre Dame’s late surge in flipping Power Five commitments. Johnson also held offers from Alabama and Florida, to give an idea of what the SEC powers thought of him. Flipping that commitment so close to the signing day stands out, given Johnson will enroll in South Bend in February.
Projected Position: Assignment-sound and mobile with powerful arms, not to mention arms with the reach of someone standing 6-foot-7, Johnson should have a future setting the edge at tackle.
Quick Take: Notre Dame took only a pair of offensive linemen in last year’s class, making an influx this cycle vital. Johnson’s late flip may not have been part of the strategy 12 months ago, but adding him to the class affirms the approach of viewing recruiting cycles in pairs as one builds to the next which builds to the next.
Short-Term Roster Outlook: Notre Dame has a pair of sophomore tackles it intends to lean on as reserves in the short-term in Andrew Kristofic and Quinn Carroll, and Blake Fisher is more ready for playing time among this year’s signees, so Johnson should have some time to focus on his strength and conditioning.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: Last year’s dearth of offensive line recruits gives Johnson a genuine chance at playing time in 2022 if either Kristofic or Carroll do not pan out, and even if they do, he will have a larger window to seize since no one is immediately in front of him in the pecking order, beginning in 2024 or so. That may sound like a long way off, but it would fit with Notre Dame’s general trend among offensive tackles, Robert Hainsey aside.
Marist High School; Chicago.
Measurements: 6’5”, 300 lbs.Accolades: The consensus three-star is the No. 6 recruit in Illinois, per rivals.com, and the No. 38 offensive tackle in the class.
Other Notable Offers: When it comes to offensive linemen, Notre Dame is used to competing with Stanford and Michigan, though not as accustomed to also working against Ohio State, Oklahoma and LSU. No matter. A longtime Notre Dame fan from Chicago was always going to end up Irish.
“Being from the Chicagoland area, there’s a big Notre Dame pull,” he told Blue & Gold Illustrated. “My family has always been a Notre Dame family. On any given Saturday, we’ll turn on the Notre Dame game instead of any other team and watch them.”
Projected Position: Coogan may have the reach of a usual tackle, but he does not have the footwork inherent to the position, likely setting him up to work on the inside at guard.
Quick Take: Irish offensive line coach Jeff Quinn will have plenty to cover with Coogan regarding footwork and timing, but he will also have time to do it, as Coogan will not need to devote as much time to strength work as a usual freshman may. He is already a powerful blocker, particularly thanks to his low level of attack.
Short-Term Roster Outlook: If Coogan shows up in the summer and impresses, it is conceivable he ends up within Notre Dame’s two-deep at guard, since the current underclassmen have yet to secure those backup roles moving forward.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: In the class ahead of him, Coogan needs to compete with only Michael Carmody at guard. In other words, by 2023 or 2024, Coogan could have pole position on a starting gig, simply due to the current roster construction.
Totino Grace High School; Fridley, Minn.
Measurements: 6’7”, 270 lbs.Accolades: The rivals.com three-star was hardly praised as a recruit, largely because he played tight end in high school.
Other Notable Offers: The son of a former Pro-Bowler who went to Iowa, Alt considered both Iowa and Iowa State, as well as his homestate Minnesota, before picking Notre Dame.
Projected Position: Given time to add strength and weight, reportedly already closing in on 290, Alt’s length and agility should set him up on the edge at tackle.
Quick Take: Some signings are projects, and Alt will be one, though that is hardly meant as a knock. He simply did not play on the offensive line in high school, so developing into that role will take some time.
Short-Term Roster Outlook: The Irish can afford to give Alt that time, with some combination of Josh Lugg, Aaron Banks and Jarrett Patterson likely starting at the tackle positions next year with current sophomores Andrew Kristofic and Quinn Carroll their backups.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: But after Kristofic and Carroll, Notre Dame will need a tackle to join Tosh Baker. That recruiting hole from a year ago should work out to Alt’s long-term advantage.
SIGNING DAY COVERAGE
— On Signing Day, remember Notre Dame’s surge has hinged on three-stars
— A Signing Day surprise: Four-star safety Khari Gee, flipped from LSU
— A Signing Day surprise: Consensus four-star RB Audric Estime, flipped from Michigan State
— Consensus four-star QB Tyler Buchner
— Trio of four-star WRs in Lorenzo Styles, Deion Colzie and Jayden Thomas
— Five-star offensive tackle Blake Fisher and four-star guard Rocco Spindler
— Consensus four-star LB Prince Kollie, the day’s greatest worry
— Hawaiian LB Kahanu Kia
— Cornerbacks Philip Riley and Ryan Barnes
— Three-star cornerbacks JoJo Johnson and Chance Tucker
— Consensus three-star safety Justin Walters
— Tight ends Cane Berrong and Mitchell Evans— Consensus four-star defensive tackle Gabriel Rubio— Pair of California defensive ends, Will Schweitzer and Devin Aupiu
— Three more offensive linemen in Caleb Johnson, Pat Coogan & Joe Alt
— Inexperienced defensive end Jason Onye
— Kicker Joshua Bryan