Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 18, 2023

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

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52 NOV. 18, 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED IRISH ECHOES JIM LEFEBVRE L ove to block," Knute Rockne used to instruct his players. "And let (the opponent) know that you like it. If all teams could do just that thing, they would always be winning." As much as Rockne loved tinkering with plays showcasing the speed, tim- ing and precision of his backfield, he knew the game was ultimately won or lost on the line. And he helped create a legacy in which Notre Dame has consis- tently excelled in interior line play. Among his best was College Football Hall of Famer Adam Walsh, leader of "The Seven Mules" as captain of the 1924 national champions. Rockne's 1929-30 champion teams featured guards Jack Cannon and Bert Metzger, both future Hall of Famers. Later in the one-platoon era, tackles George Connor and Ziggy Czarobski and guard Bill Fischer were among the lead- ers of Frank Leahy's title teams of the 1940s who would go on to Hall of Fame induction. In the modern era, the Fighting Irish have featured a steady stream of offensive line standouts including consensus All- Americans like George Kunz (1966-68), Larry DiNardo (1968-70), Gerry DiNardo (1972-74), Dave Huffman (1975-78), John Scully (1977-80) and Mirko Jurkovic (1988-91), and Hall of Fame guard Aaron Taylor (1990-93). Ryan Harris (2003-06) had a 10-year NFL career. A strong case can be made that Notre Dame is presently "O-Line U." No other school has produced more current NFLers than Notre Dame: School C G T LS Total Notre Dame 4 3 2 2 11 LSU 3 3 2 2 10 Alabama 2 3 4 0 9 Michigan 3 5 0 1 9 Ohio State 2 1 5 1 9 Oklahoma 1 1 6 1 9 Florida 0 2 6 0 8 Georgia 2 2 4 0 8 Iowa 1 3 3 1 8 Wisconsin 3 2 3 0 8 Here's a look at each of them: J.J. JANSEN LS, CAROLINA PANTHERS ND 2005-07 Years Pro: 15 After one season with the Green Bay Packers, Jansen has been with the Pan- thers since 2009, appearing in more than 230 games and winning Pro Bowl honors in 2013. ZACK MARTIN G, DALLAS COWBOYS ND 2010-13 Years Pro: 10 Consistently among the league's best, Martin is a six-time first-team All-Pro (and second team twice) and eight-time Pro Bowl honoree. He was named to the NFL's 2010s All-Decade Team. RONNIE STANLEY T, BALTIMORE RAVENS ND 2012-15 Years Pro: 8 Stanley has become a mainstay of the Ravens offensive line, earning first- team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2019. He battled injuries in 2020-22, but is now back at his usual spot. MIKE McGLINCHEY T, DENVER BRONCOS ND 2014-17 Years Pro: 6 McGlinchey was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers, for whom he played through 2022, earning All-Rookie Team honors in 2018. He signed a five-year contract with Denver this year. QUENTON NELSON G, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS ND 2015-17 Years Pro: 6 Nelson has played at the highest level through his college and pro career. A unanimous All-American at Notre Dame, he's a five-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro, including first-team honors three times. Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson is a five-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro. PHOTO COURTESY INDIANAPOLIS COLTS Notre Dame Can Make A Strong Case For Being 'O-Line U' "

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