2020 Notre Dame Football Preview

Digital Edition

Blue & Gold Illustrated: 2020 Notre Dame Football Preview

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Page 74 of 163

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED 2020 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ✦ 73 POSITION COACH Jeff Quinn is in his sixth season at Notre Dame and his third as the offensive line coach. Quinn has been part of head coach Brian Kelly's coaching staffs for more than two decades. The duo has also worked together at Grand Valley State (1989‑2003), Central Michigan (2004‑06) and Cincinnati (2007‑09). Last year, Quinn's crew overcame a pair of mid- season injuries to starters to help Notre Dame's offense rank 13th nationally in scoring (36.8 points per game) and 11th in fewest sacks allowed (15). Pro Football Focus graded Notre Dame as the No. 2 pass- blocking team in the country. In addition, the Irish rushing attack ranked 25th in the nation in yards per carry (4.96) and 45th in yards per game (179.2). In his first season in charge, Quinn re-tooled a line that lost top-10 draft picks Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey to the NFL. The unit came together and helped pave the way for a balanced Irish offense that averaged 31.4 points and 182.6 rushing yards per game. The biggest strength for the group was its success in the power run scheme, which ranked 23rd in the nation according to Football Outsiders. Prior to reuniting with Kelly in South Bend, Quinn served as the head coach at the University at Buf- falo from 2010-14. In 2013, he led the Bulls to an 8-5 record — tied for the most wins for the program in the regular season since moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1999. Buffalo also won a school- record six Mid-American Conference games and took part in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, just the program's second postseason appearance. During his time at Cincinnati, Quinn served as Kel- ly's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. He was a finalist for the 2009 Broyles Award, which is presented to the nation's top assistant coach. At Central Michigan, Quinn was the associate head coach and offensive coordinator. He helped the Chippewas to the 2006 MAC title. Prior to that, he was part of Kelly's back-to-back national champion- ship squads at Grand Valley State in 2002 and 2003. Quinn is a 1984 graduate of Elmhurst College, where he was a two-sport standout in football and wrestling. He went on to earn a master of arts de- gree from DePauw in 1986 and an educational lead- ership master's degree endorsement from Grand Valley State in 2000. RETURNING PLAYERS AARON BANKS • OG Sr. • Alameda, Calif. Ht.: 6-6 • Wt.: 335 • Started all 13 contests at left guard in 2019. • Allowed just two sacks on 844 total snaps and earned the sec- ond-highest pass-block grade (83.5) on the Irish line from PFF. • Played in every game in 2018 and started the last six at left guard. • Had scout team duty in 2017. • Named to the 2016 All-USA California first team by USA Today and earned a spot on the MaxPreps 2016 All-NorCal offensive first team. • Rated by Rivals as a four-star talent, the No. 16 prospect in California, and the No. 13 offensive tackle and No. 121 overall player in the country. QUINN CARROLL • OT So. • Edina, Minn. Ht.: 6-7 • Wt.: 306 • Did not see action during rookie campaign in 2019 after sustain- ing a knee injury during August camp. • While at Edina High School, he earned 2017 and 2018 Associated Press All-State first team and 2018 Minneapolis Star Tribune All- Metro first team honors. • Regarded by Rivals as a four-star prospect, the No. 1 player in Minnesota, and the No. 7 offensive tackle and No. 68 overall recruit in the nation. ZEKE CORRELL • C So. • Cincinnati Ht.: 6-3• Wt.: 290 • Played in four games in 2019. • Anchored an Anderson High School offensive line that aver- aged just more than 40 points and 400 yards a game in his junior season, and 33.1 points during his senior campaign. • Racked up the awards during his prep career, highlighted by winning the 2018 Anthony Munoz Foundation Offensive Lineman of the Year, land- ing on the 2017 and 2018 USA Today All-State first team, and earning a spot on the 2017 and 2018 Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association Division II All-Ohio first team. • Participated in the 2018 Under Armour All-Amer- ican Game. • Ranked by Rivals as a four-star recruit, the No. 4 player in Ohio, and the No. 6 offensive guard and No. 114 overall prospect in the nation. JOHN DIRKSEN • OG Jr. • Maria Stein, Ohio Ht.: 6-5 • Wt.: 306 • Appeared in eight games on special teams in 2019. • Did not see game action during his first year in South Bend and contributed on the scout team. • Finished his high school career with a 58-3 record, including 27 straight wins to end his prep days. • Tabbed as a 2017 All-Ohio first-team selection by USA Today and named Division VI first-team All- State by the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association. • Rated by Rivals as a three-star recruit, the No. 28 prospect in Ohio and the No. 54 offensive tackle in the country. LIAM EICHENBERG • OT 5th-Sr. • Cleveland Ht.: 6-6 • Wt.: 305 • Started all 13 games at left tackle in 2019, and posted the top PFF pass-blocking (85.6) and run- blocking (78.8) grades on the Irish line. • Did not concede a sack all year, allowing just three QB hits and nine hurries while playing 845 snaps (496 pass plays). • Started all 13 games at left tackle in 2018. • Appeared in five games in 2017. • Was as a member of the scout team in 2016. • Named to the MaxPreps All-America first team and the USA Today All-Ohio first team. • Played in the Under Armour All-American Game. • Rated as a four-star recruit, the No. 4 player in Ohio, and the No. 7 offensive tackle and No. 60 overall prospect in the country by 247Sports. DILLAN GIBBONS • OG Sr. • Clearwater, Fla. Ht.: 6-4 • Wt.: 305 • Played in all 13 games in 2019, primarily on special teams. • Saw action in five contests in 2018. • Redshirted during his first sea- son in South Bend and was named the Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year. • Earned first-team MaxPreps Football Small Schools All-America honors as a senior and was a second-team pick as a junior. • Named to the Associated Press 2016 Florida Class 3A All-State first team. • Rivals ranked him as a three-star recruit, the No. 74 player in Florida and the No. 56 offensive tackle in the country. ROBERT HAINSEY • OT Sr. • Pittsburgh Ht.: 6-5 • Wt.: 295 • Was a team captain and earned the team's Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2019. • Started the first eight games at right tackle in 2019, before suffering a season-ending ankle injury against Virginia Tech. • Did not allow a sack on 423 snaps (252 pass plays), conceding just two QB hits and six QB hurries. • Started every game at right tackle in 2018. • Contributed during his first season at Notre Dame in all 13 games, including four starts, making him just the third Fighting Irish offensive lineman in the last 15 years to see starting action as a freshman. • Was a part of the 2017 offensive line that helped create space for the seventh-best rushing offense in the nation (269.5 yards per game) and set the school record for yards per carry (6.3) en route to earning the Joe Moore Award for best offensive line unit in the nation. • The IMG Academy product was named to the 2016 All-Florida first team by USA Today. • Participated in the Under Armour All-America Game. • Tabbed by Rivals as a four-star prospect, the No. 21 recruit in Pennsylvania, and the No. 11 offensive tackle and No. 108 overall player in the land.

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