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Now that Spring ball is winding down, and all the recruits are signed, we can turn the page and look forward to the 2021 season. First note: for all of those who thought a kid from a 1A school in Indiana had no business on the roster of a powerhouse D1 program like ND, here’s the assessment of Pioneer’s Jack Kiser heading into the season:

Some wondered what Clark Lea was thinking when he zeroed in on this Single A high school quarterback/linebacker out of small-town Indiana. But in addition to leading Pioneer High School (enrollment 444) in the town of Royal Center (population 833) to a 15-0 record and a state championship his senior season, Kiser proved himself to be a savvy, gifted athlete whose humble beginnings did indeed translate to big-time college football at Notre Dame. After a transition year as a freshman in ’19, he served as a backup Buck linebacker in ’20. He stepped into the starting lineup against South Florida and excelled. Now, under Marcus Freeman, he is showing quite well at Rover this spring. If there’s a football and Kiser is on the field with said football, he’ll be around it. He looks like a three-year starter from 2021-23. (Emphasis supplied)

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8 hours ago, Bobref said:

Now that Spring ball is winding down, and all the recruits are signed, we can turn the page and look forward to the 2021 season. First note: for all of those who thought a kid from a 1A school in Indiana had no business on the roster of a powerhouse D1 program like ND, here’s the assessment of Pioneer’s Jack Kiser heading into the season:

Some wondered what Clark Lea was thinking when he zeroed in on this Single A high school quarterback/linebacker out of small-town Indiana. But in addition to leading Pioneer High School (enrollment 444) in the town of Royal Center (population 833) to a 15-0 record and a state championship his senior season, Kiser proved himself to be a savvy, gifted athlete whose humble beginnings did indeed translate to big-time college football at Notre Dame. After a transition year as a freshman in ’19, he served as a backup Buck linebacker in ’20. He stepped into the starting lineup against South Florida and excelled. Now, under Marcus Freeman, he is showing quite well at Rover this spring. If there’s a football and Kiser is on the field with said football, he’ll be around it. He looks like a three-year starter from 2021-23. (Emphasis supplied)

That’s awesome.  Folks were way too premature in their assessment of he vs David Bell because of the gaudy freshman numbers Bell put up.

Hoping both get paid to play the game over the next decade plus.

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My biggest concern heading into 2021 is the offensive line. Replacing 4 of 5 starters is going to be challenging. The lone returning starter, Jarrett Patterson, played center last year and may be playing tackle this season. My guess is it will take a few games to iron out the OL positions and they may even rotate some guys in and out of the lineup. I think the transfer QB from Wisconsin Jack Coan should be okay, but my 2nd biggest concern is the WR unit. Someone will have to step up, Avery Davis is a proven guy but after him and freshman phenom now soph TE Michael Mayer I'm not sure who is catching passes this year in South Bend. Lot of question marks on the offensive side of the ball IMO, can't wait for the fall practice and the opener!!

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22 minutes ago, WolvesOnTheProwl said:

My biggest concern heading into 2021 is the offensive line. Replacing 4 of 5 starters is going to be challenging. The lone returning starter, Jarrett Patterson, played center last year and may be playing tackle this season. My guess is it will take a few games to iron out the OL positions and they may even rotate some guys in and out of the lineup.

I have a certain level of confidence in the offensive line based both on past performance, as well as the glowing reports coming out of Spring ball on the two soon-to-be sophomores Rocco Spindler and Blake Fisher. Coan will almost certainly be the QB starter in Game 1. But he is just a bridge to the Chosen One — Tyler Buchner — who was impressive in the Blue-Gold Game. Here’s one account of his play:

Early enrollee freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner played the second half — free of a red no-contact jersey and fully unleashed — and captured the imaginations of Irish fans across the country. He was 6-for-9 for 140 yards with a rushing touchdown. He led both touchdown drives in a 17-3 Blue victory.

Look for Buchner to get some snaps early, and if the Irish falter out of the gate, anything is possible.

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I hope you're right and Tyler Buchnar is the chosen one, I just am a little cautious on a kid who only played 2 years of high school football against average talent in San Diego. Offense has brought in some talented freshman this class including Buchnar, Spindler and Fisher who are both freshman, and Lorenzo Styles and Deion Colzie at WR. 

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One of the few returning OL has entered the transfer portal. Reading between the lines, the message here is that those young offensive linemen like Spindler and Fisher are pushing the veterans. Very optimistic about what this OL group is going to be by about Week 4 of the season.

https://www.si.com/college/notredame/football/notre-dame-football-dillan-gibbons-to-transfer-out-of-program

BREAKING: OL Dillan Gibbons To Transfer Out Of Notre Dame

Notre Dame fifth-year senior offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons has entered the transfer portal and is leaving the program

BRYAN DRISKELL

21 HOURS AGO

Notre Dame veteran offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons has entered the transfer portal and is leaving the Fighting Irish program. 

In Notre Dame's 42-26 October victory over Florida State, left tackle Liam Eichenberg got knocked out for a period with an eye injury. Gibbons stepped into the lineup and performed well. He got his first career start in Notre Dame's 45-21 regular season ending win over Syracuse, and again he performed admirably.

Gibbons entered the spring as one of just three players with a start under his belt, and he began the spring as the first-team left guard. Early on the staff began moving him back-and-forth from guard to center, and by the end of spring he was spending more time at center. With Zeke Correll now locked in as the starter, the role for Gibbons went from competing for a starting spot at guard to battling to be a backup at center.

Holding onto the starting role was always going to be a challenge for Gibbons due to the presence of up-and-coming junior Andrew Kristofic and talented true freshman Rocco Spindler. About midway through the spring Spindler stepped into the first-team role at left guard, and he enters the offseason as the leader in the clubhouse to win a starting job, leaving Gibbons relegated to a backup role.

Gibbons will look to find a program where he'll have a chance to start. Due to the Covid-19 eligibility decisions, Gibbons technically could get a sixth-season of eligibility.

The loss of Gibbons saps the offensive line of one of its most experienced player, but barring no other departures the unit still has a lot of depth and talent as it heads into a very important offseason.

Gibbons becomes the ninth Notre Dame player to leave the program since the end of the 2020 season, and the second since the end of the spring. 

RB Jafar Armstrong (Illinois)
WR Kendall Abdur-Rahman (Western Kentucky)
WR Micah Jones (Illinois State)
WR Jordan Johnson
OL Colin Grunhard (Kansas)
DE Ovie Oghoufo (Texas)
LB Jack Lamb (Colorado)
CB Isaiah Rutherford (Arizona)

A 10th player - running back Jahmir Smith - left the program during the season. He announced his transfer to Appalachian State in February.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Chosen One is already turning heads under the Dome.

https://allfans.co/notre-dame-qb-tyler-buchner-showed-off-his-immense-potential-this-spring/

Notre Dame QB Tyler Buchner Showed Off His Immense Potential This Spring

Notre Dame freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner has been on campus for just five months, but he seems to have been part of the program for much longer than that. The hype around Buchner started over two years ago when he committed to Notre Dame on March 8, 2019.

Since that time Buchner had a monster junior season in which he threw for over 4,400 yards, rushed for over 1,600 yards and racked up over 80 combined touchdowns as a junior. That was followed by an odd decision to alter this throwing motion, his senior season was canceled due to Covid-19 and Buchner's star faded a bit according to the recruiting services.

That didn't tamper down expectations for Notre Dame fans, who still view Buchner as the future at quarterback. We finally got to see him in action this spring, and Buchner did nothing but raise expectations by flashing his immense potential and talent.

Buchner's throwing motion is still a bit of a work in progress, and it caused some inconsistency with his deep ball, but when his arm slot was good the first-year standout showed off the ability to power the ball down the field and make accurate intermediate throws.

Buchner didn't get much of a chance to show off his running ability in the Blue-Gold Game, but we did see a few flashes of it this spring. Considering how important that is to his game, it's encouraging to see Buchner perform so well without being able to use one of his best assets. 

He still needs a lot of work from a grasp of the offense and decision-making standpoint, but Buchner had an outstanding first semester at quarterback for the Irish.

At the very least he performed well enough to put himself in position to earn a situational role in the fall.

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On 5/5/2021 at 10:22 AM, Bobref said:

I have a certain level of confidence in the offensive line based both on past performance, as well as the glowing reports coming out of Spring ball on the two soon-to-be sophomores Rocco Spindler and Blake Fisher. Coan will almost certainly be the QB starter in Game 1. But he is just a bridge to the Chosen One — Tyler Buchner — who was impressive in the Blue-Gold Game. Here’s one account of his play:

Early enrollee freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner played the second half — free of a red no-contact jersey and fully unleashed — and captured the imaginations of Irish fans across the country. He was 6-for-9 for 140 yards with a rushing touchdown. He led both touchdown drives in a 17-3 Blue victory.

Look for Buchner to get some snaps early, and if the Irish falter out of the gate, anything is possible.

Blake Fisher is a not soon-to-be sophomore.  He played last year at Avon.

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1 hour ago, Staxawax said:

Blake Fisher is a not soon-to-be sophomore.  He played last year at Avon.

Rocco and Blake are both true freshman, and both could start from day 1. Not sure if that says as much about them as it does the guys who are leaving from last year. I think there could be some growing pains within the offensive line but the future appears to be in good hands. 

 

5 hours ago, Bobref said:

The Chosen One is already turning heads under the Dome.

https://allfans.co/notre-dame-qb-tyler-buchner-showed-off-his-immense-potential-this-spring/

Notre Dame QB Tyler Buchner Showed Off His Immense Potential This Spring

Notre Dame freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner has been on campus for just five months, but he seems to have been part of the program for much longer than that. The hype around Buchner started over two years ago when he committed to Notre Dame on March 8, 2019.

Since that time Buchner had a monster junior season in which he threw for over 4,400 yards, rushed for over 1,600 yards and racked up over 80 combined touchdowns as a junior. That was followed by an odd decision to alter this throwing motion, his senior season was canceled due to Covid-19 and Buchner's star faded a bit according to the recruiting services.

That didn't tamper down expectations for Notre Dame fans, who still view Buchner as the future at quarterback. We finally got to see him in action this spring, and Buchner did nothing but raise expectations by flashing his immense potential and talent.

Buchner's throwing motion is still a bit of a work in progress, and it caused some inconsistency with his deep ball, but when his arm slot was good the first-year standout showed off the ability to power the ball down the field and make accurate intermediate throws.

Buchner didn't get much of a chance to show off his running ability in the Blue-Gold Game, but we did see a few flashes of it this spring. Considering how important that is to his game, it's encouraging to see Buchner perform so well without being able to use one of his best assets. 

He still needs a lot of work from a grasp of the offense and decision-making standpoint, but Buchner had an outstanding first semester at quarterback for the Irish.

At the very least he performed well enough to put himself in position to earn a situational role in the fall.

How many Heisman Trophy's do you think the late Beano Cook (assuming he's not with us anymore) would anticipate Tyler Buchnar getting? haha

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19 minutes ago, WolvesOnTheProwl said:

How many Heisman Trophy's do you think the late Beano Cook (assuming he's not with us anymore) would anticipate Tyler Buchnar getting? haha

I don’t care about Heismans. I care about closing the gap between the Irish and the SEC giants, Clemson, and Ohio State. An elite level QB gets us a long way toward that.

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19 hours ago, Bobref said:

I don’t care about Heismans. I care about closing the gap between the Irish and the SEC giants, Clemson, and Ohio State. An elite level QB gets us a long way toward that.

Agree 100%

In 2012 when Alabama manhandled (and that's putting in nicely) ND it was clear that overall team depth and both front lines needed to improve. It's taken almost 10 years but IMO ND has done a tremendous job of recruiting both OL and DL and are pretty close to Bama and Clemson and Ohio State, but what is really keeping us (and a lot of others as well) behind those top teams is elite level DB's and WR's. I am anxious to see how Tyler Buchnar does in fall camp, I've heard about him changing his throwing mechanics last summer so hopefully it works for him. 

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2 hours ago, WolvesOnTheProwl said:

Agree 100%

In 2012 when Alabama manhandled (and that's putting in nicely) ND it was clear that overall team depth and both front lines needed to improve. It's taken almost 10 years but IMO ND has done a tremendous job of recruiting both OL and DL and are pretty close to Bama and Clemson and Ohio State, but what is really keeping us (and a lot of others as well) behind those top teams is elite level DB's and WR's. I am anxious to see how Tyler Buchnar does in fall camp, I've heard about him changing his throwing mechanics last summer so hopefully it works for him. 

In the last 5 yrs. or so, with the receivers and the defense they had in place, they would have been capable of winning a championship if they had elite level QB play. But they’ve had average D-I QB play, and that will not cut it in the rarefied air breathed by Clemson, Ohio State, and the top SEC teams.

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On 5/18/2021 at 3:28 PM, Bobref said:

I don’t care about Heismans. I care about closing the gap between the Irish and the SEC giants, Clemson, and Ohio State. An elite level QB gets us a long way toward that.

100%

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Feel free to file this one under “Predictions Sure To Go Wrong.”

https://www.onefootdown.com/2021/5/24/22452367/notre-dame-football-irish-and-coastal-carolina-in-the-fiesta-bowl-lfg-news-colorado-new-years-six-nd

Notre Dame Football: Irish and Coastal Carolina in the Fiesta Bowl? LFG!

247 Sports released their latest New Years Six bowl projections, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish make an appearance. Notre Dame is projected to head to the Fiesta Bowl to take on the Sun Belt kings — the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. 

Before we get any further into this discussion, please keep in mind that I did NOT — in fact — find a loss on Notre Dame’s schedule, and think 11-1 is the floor for the Irish. 

Having said that... this is perfectly fine. To start with, at worst, this projection means the Irish went 10-2 during the regular season. That would make it 5 years straight with double digit wins. Go ahead and look what the Irish did from 1994-2016 before you roll your eyes, and then get back to me. 

Now let’s get to that large elephant in the room — and I ain’t talking about the Alabama Crimson Tide elephant men. Notre Dame hasn’t won a New Year’s 6 bowl game since January 1, 1994. The very next season, the Irish went 6-4-1 and received an invitation to the Fiesta Bowl to play the #4 Colorado Buffaloes. 

The Irish had NO BUSINESS being invited to that game, and were wiped out 41-24 while wearing the green jerseys. That game cause a crack in space and time, and a demon creature was released from the abyss to curse the Irish in all future New Years Six games. In all, the Irish are 0-9 in New Years 6 games (which includes the BCS Championship in 2012) since the Cotton Bowl win from the 1993 season.

Someway and somehow, the Irish need to break this curse. For a lot of those New Years 6 losses, the Irish played a terrible draw against a great team, while watching other schools get themselves a NY6 win over some team with 4 losses that snuck in because of conference tie-in stuff. 

So, yeah... I wouldn’t mind an easier task in playing Coastal rather than a school that just missed the playoffs. Sometimes you just have to get the monkey off of your back, or goat, or whatever the hell it is. Am I selling Coastal short? Maybe, but I’ll deal with that later. An 11-2 Notre Dame team with a Fiesta Bowl win breaks the Colorado curse — so we can finally move on.

Also... it’s still May.

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1 hour ago, Bobref said:

Feel free to file this one under “Predictions Sure To Go Wrong.”

https://www.onefootdown.com/2021/5/24/22452367/notre-dame-football-irish-and-coastal-carolina-in-the-fiesta-bowl-lfg-news-colorado-new-years-six-nd

Notre Dame Football: Irish and Coastal Carolina in the Fiesta Bowl? LFG!

247 Sports released their latest New Years Six bowl projections, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish make an appearance. Notre Dame is projected to head to the Fiesta Bowl to take on the Sun Belt kings — the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. 

Before we get any further into this discussion, please keep in mind that I did NOT — in fact — find a loss on Notre Dame’s schedule, and think 11-1 is the floor for the Irish. 

Having said that... this is perfectly fine. To start with, at worst, this projection means the Irish went 10-2 during the regular season. That would make it 5 years straight with double digit wins. Go ahead and look what the Irish did from 1994-2016 before you roll your eyes, and then get back to me. 

Now let’s get to that large elephant in the room — and I ain’t talking about the Alabama Crimson Tide elephant men. Notre Dame hasn’t won a New Year’s 6 bowl game since January 1, 1994. The very next season, the Irish went 6-4-1 and received an invitation to the Fiesta Bowl to play the #4 Colorado Buffaloes. 

The Irish had NO BUSINESS being invited to that game, and were wiped out 41-24 while wearing the green jerseys. That game cause a crack in space and time, and a demon creature was released from the abyss to curse the Irish in all future New Years Six games. In all, the Irish are 0-9 in New Years 6 games (which includes the BCS Championship in 2012) since the Cotton Bowl win from the 1993 season.

Someway and somehow, the Irish need to break this curse. For a lot of those New Years 6 losses, the Irish played a terrible draw against a great team, while watching other schools get themselves a NY6 win over some team with 4 losses that snuck in because of conference tie-in stuff. 

So, yeah... I wouldn’t mind an easier task in playing Coastal rather than a school that just missed the playoffs. Sometimes you just have to get the monkey off of your back, or goat, or whatever the hell it is. Am I selling Coastal short? Maybe, but I’ll deal with that later. An 11-2 Notre Dame team with a Fiesta Bowl win breaks the Colorado curse — so we can finally move on.

Also... it’s still May.

Don’t shoot the messenger here, as I am an ND fan, but couldn’t the Irish join a conference so they can “lose 4 games” and get an automatic bid because of “conference tie in stuff”?  😂 

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11 minutes ago, DE said:

Don’t shoot the messenger here, as I am an ND fan, but couldn’t the Irish join a conference so they can “lose 4 games” and get an automatic bid because of “conference tie in stuff”?  😂 

They should join a conference. But that’s not the reason.

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55 minutes ago, Bobref said:

They should join a conference. But that’s not the reason.

I know.  Hence the 😂

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On 5/25/2021 at 1:21 PM, Bobref said:

Feel free to file this one under “Predictions Sure To Go Wrong.”

https://www.onefootdown.com/2021/5/24/22452367/notre-dame-football-irish-and-coastal-carolina-in-the-fiesta-bowl-lfg-news-colorado-new-years-six-nd

Notre Dame Football: Irish and Coastal Carolina in the Fiesta Bowl? LFG!

247 Sports released their latest New Years Six bowl projections, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish make an appearance. Notre Dame is projected to head to the Fiesta Bowl to take on the Sun Belt kings — the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. 

Before we get any further into this discussion, please keep in mind that I did NOT — in fact — find a loss on Notre Dame’s schedule, and think 11-1 is the floor for the Irish. 

Having said that... this is perfectly fine. To start with, at worst, this projection means the Irish went 10-2 during the regular season. That would make it 5 years straight with double digit wins. Go ahead and look what the Irish did from 1994-2016 before you roll your eyes, and then get back to me. 

Now let’s get to that large elephant in the room — and I ain’t talking about the Alabama Crimson Tide elephant men. Notre Dame hasn’t won a New Year’s 6 bowl game since January 1, 1994. The very next season, the Irish went 6-4-1 and received an invitation to the Fiesta Bowl to play the #4 Colorado Buffaloes. 

The Irish had NO BUSINESS being invited to that game, and were wiped out 41-24 while wearing the green jerseys. That game cause a crack in space and time, and a demon creature was released from the abyss to curse the Irish in all future New Years Six games. In all, the Irish are 0-9 in New Years 6 games (which includes the BCS Championship in 2012) since the Cotton Bowl win from the 1993 season.

Someway and somehow, the Irish need to break this curse. For a lot of those New Years 6 losses, the Irish played a terrible draw against a great team, while watching other schools get themselves a NY6 win over some team with 4 losses that snuck in because of conference tie-in stuff. 

So, yeah... I wouldn’t mind an easier task in playing Coastal rather than a school that just missed the playoffs. Sometimes you just have to get the monkey off of your back, or goat, or whatever the hell it is. Am I selling Coastal short? Maybe, but I’ll deal with that later. An 11-2 Notre Dame team with a Fiesta Bowl win breaks the Colorado curse — so we can finally move on.

Also... it’s still May.

 I enjoy the May optimism by this author, but how can anyone who pays attention to the team say they can't find a loss on the schedule? ND is replacing a 3 year starting QB, who I admit wasn't elite but was way better than average, 4 of 5 offensive lineman, and 2 WR's and 1 TE. I could see them potentially losing to Florida State on Labor Day night, no matter how bad FSU was last year. Plus, 6 or 7 teams they play have a bye before playing ND. I hope this guy is right, just think it's a little early to know what the floor of this 2021 team actually is going to be.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)
On 5/27/2021 at 11:17 AM, WolvesOnTheProwl said:

4 of 5 offensive lineman

This should mitigate concerns about the OL somewhat. 2nd Team All American grad transfer.

https://irish.nbcsports.com/2021/06/04/marshall-guard-cain-madden-transfers-to-notre-dame-likely-2021-starter/

Marshall guard Cain Madden transfers to Notre Dame, likely 2021 starter

By Douglas FarmerJun 4, 2021, 2:01 PM EDT

Needing to replace four NFL-bound offensive linemen, Notre Dame turned to the transfer portal for some interior experience. Marshall guard Cain Madden announced a grad transfer to the Irish on Friday afternoon.

To stick with the summer’s format, let’s discuss his arrival and impact in “99-to-0” terms …

No. 62
Listed measurements: 6-foot-3, 313 pounds.
2021-22 year, eligibility: Madden can only enjoy this transfer because of the universal pandemic eligibility waiver. He started for the Herd the last three seasons, in addition to playing in all 13 games in 2017, but with 2020 essentially not counting for eligibility concerns, Madden has this one season remaining.

Depth Chart: A second-team All-American does not transfer to a national program like Notre Dame if he does not expect to start.

Recruiting: A former walk-on, Madden got to enjoy more of the traditional recruiting process this time around. A visit to Florida State as the pandemic-long dead period ended may have worried some around the Irish program, but that was the biggest threat to this commitment.

CAREER TO DATE
Starting 31 games at any team in the FBS level will garner attention from the rest of the country. Madden first started in 2018 as a result of an injury to a classmate, but he then never relinquished that gig.

Marshall went 24-12 in those three seasons with Madden the crucial piece of its offensive line.

2021 OUTLOOK
Three pieces of Notre Dame’s offensive line are known, if not completely set in positions. Junior Zeke Correll will start at center, and senior Jarrett Patterson and fifth-year Josh Lugg will start somewhere.

Patterson and Lugg seemed likely to form a guard-tackle duo on one side of the line, presumably the right side, based on spring practices. That logic leaves the left guard position open for Madden.

However, Madden played right guard with great success at Marshall. His arrival should thus split up the veteran duo, with Lugg at right tackle and Patterson then moving to either left tackle or left guard, depending on which early-enrolled freshman is most ready for a starting role on Labor Day Eve, tackle Blake Fisher or guard Rocco Spindler.

Both impressed throughout the spring, and Patterson was long seen as a tackle prospect, but Fisher is the more likely starter.

Spindler’s early arrival impressed to the extent that Dillan Gibbons sought a transfer to Florida State for a chance to start. Madden’s arrival, however, should bump Spindler back down to the second-team for the year.

That is neither a bad thing nor a shock for Spindler. Notre Dame has not started a freshman on the offensive line in the opener in 15 years. Ever expecting otherwise would have been the shock, even if it may still happen with Fisher at left tackle.

Madden will provide the Irish experience and a knack for run blocking, while allowing Spindler some time to develop into a surefire 2022 starter.’

Edited by Bobref
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