Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2018

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

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6 FEBRUARY 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI W hile this December was a time to begin inking a new recruiting class (21 signees and counting with a late December commitment from Arkansas offensive lineman Luke Jones, after the early signing period Dec. 20-22), it also inspired a review of the 21-man class ranked No. 13 by Rivals last February. Ten saw action, while 11 were red- shirted. Here is the breakdown this regular season based on snaps on offense and defense, recorded by Blue & Gold Illustrated football ana- lyst Bryan Driskell, and then special teams involvement: 1. RT Robert Hainsey — 427 snaps In the nine previous seasons from 2008-16, 31 offensive linemen were signed by Notre Dame and 29 were redshirted as freshmen. The two ex- ceptions were early enrollees Trevor Robinson (2008) and Steve Elmer (2013). Also an early enrollee, Hainsey tag-teamed with sophomore Tommy Kraemer as co-starters in 2017, with Kraemer recording 408 snaps. Next year, one of the two will be shifted elsewhere to get the five best on field. Because Hainsey's pass pro- tection sets in space have been so advanced, it would be a surprise if he does not remain at tackle. 2. DT Myron Tagovailoa Amosa — 311 snaps One of the late pickups last Janu- ary, the Hawai'i native trailed only junior Jerry Tillery (638) and senior Jonathan Bonner (473) in snaps among interior linemen. His tackle total (12) was modest — the same as early enrollee Tillery as a 2015 freshman — but his first-step explosiveness and strength resulted in two momentum-changing stops on fourth-and-one during crucial moments at Boston College and ver- sus North Carolina State. 3. NT Kurt Hinish — 165 snaps His non-stop motor was aug- mented with sound technique and weight gain to surprisingly move ahead of a couple of upperclassmen as Tillery's top backup. His seven tackles won't pop off the page, but providing 10-15 snaps per contest helped take some of the load off Tillery. 4. WR Michael Young — 66 snaps By the second week of fall practice the 5-10, 190-pound Young was in the two-deep because of his toughness to complement his after-the-catch abil- ity, which also made him a top con- tender as a return man. Through the first six games, Young played 59 snaps (nearly 10 per game) and caught two passes for 10 yards. Once sophomore Kevin Stepherson returned to the lineup after serving a four-game suspension, Young saw only seven snaps on offense over the final six regular-season contests and did not catch any more passes. He added one kick return for 18 yards. 5. TE Cole Kmet — 58 snaps With three upperclassmen ahead of him and fellow freshman Brock Wright — the top-rated recruit in the 2017 Irish class — an early enrollee, Kmet had redshirt season written all over him. Instead, his skills were such that a fifth season probably would not be necessary for the No. 2-rated player in this Irish haul. Kmet caught two passes for 14 yards, and he also was on the kick and punt return teams. 6. S Isaiah Robertson — 40 snaps Like Young, the early enrollee's lion's share of snaps (37) came in the first six games, prior to the bye. Listed behind sophomore Jalen El- UNDER THE DOME FRESHMEN REVIEW Ten members of the 21-man class saw action in 2017 Robert Hainsey became just the third Irish offensive lineman since 2008 to see action as a true fresh- man, logging 427 snaps while splitting time with sophomore Tommy Kraemer at right tackle. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL

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