Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2022

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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18 MARCH 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY TODD D. BURLAGE B ecause the multiple media re- ports of Harry Hiestand re- turning to Notre Dame in 2022 as its offensive line coach had yet to be officially confirmed by the uni- versity at the time, prying any reunion reaction from the only Irish player to ever work under Hiestand during the coach's first stint here became an exer- cise in futility. But if a wide smile and a "let's do this" head nod can answer any reunion in- quiries clearer than his guarded words, then sixth-year senior lineman Josh Lugg obviously can't wait to be fully recovered this spring from offseason meniscus surgery, pick up where he left off and begin working again with Hies- tand later next month. The university made Hiestand's hire and return to his previous post official with a press re- lease on Jan. 24. As a four-star 2017 recruit from North Allegheny High School near Pittsburgh, Hiestand recruited Lugg about eight years ago and pulled this star tackle from an impressive offer list that in- cluded Ohio State, Alabama, Penn State and most of the other elite programs around the country. Impressed and sold by Hiestand's style and message, Lugg quickly com- mitted to his new position coach af- ter his high school sophomore year and never wavered. Positionally speaking, Lugg will be the only player tie for Hiestand when spring ball opens late next month. "Seems like 20 years ago," joked Lugg about being recruited by Hiestand all the way back in 2015. "I had two years where I was in communication with him. A lot of it was to remind me to fo- cus on the details, preparing me to be- come a Notre Dame offensive lineman and what that means." Three-year starting center Jarrett Patterson — another 2022 graduate stu- dent lineman for the Irish and likely a preseason All-American — was a late commit from the 2018 recruiting class, the same year Hiestand left Notre Dame for the Chicago Bears, so their paths never crossed. But whatever familiarity Hiestand, 63, will lack this spring inside his new offensive line room, he'll more than make up for through the reputation and success he built during his fine 40- year career and through his first stint at Notre Dame. In the six seasons Hiestand led this Irish unit (2012-17), he recruited and developed an impressive list of first- round NFL Draft picks, including guard Zack Martin (Dallas Cowboys, 2014), tackle Ronnie Stanley (Baltimore Ra- vens, 2016), guard Quenton Nelson (Indianapolis Colts, 2018) and tackle SETTING THE STANDARD Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand returns for a Notre Dame encore Hiestand previously coached Notre Dame's offensive line unit for six seasons, culminating with the Joe Moore Award as the best offensive line in the nation in 2017 before taking an NFL job with the Chicago Bears. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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