Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2018

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

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Page 46 of 63 MAY 2018 47 BY COREY BODDEN Notre Dame finally struck on the offensive side of the ball in the 2019 class, landing a commitment from Metuchen (N.J). St. Joseph's offensive lineman John Olmstead April 20. The 6-6, 285-pounder is ranked as the No. 63 player in the nation by Ri- vals, picking the Irish over Michigan, Minnesota, Ole Miss and Rutgers. Ol- mstead also had offers from, among others, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Or- egon, UCLA, Penn State, Wisconsin and Virginia Tech. Olmstead visited South Bend for the final time April 9, which helped sell him on the notion that Notre Dame was the right choice. "I love the school, the place, the tra- dition and everything there," Olm- stead said. "I got a good feeling when I was on the campus. I've been there four times, and it just feels like home there." Early on, Olmstead built a strong relationship with former Irish offen- sive line coach Harry Hiestand, but the Rivals100 prospect quickly con- nected with Jeff Quinn and was a fan of what he saw on and off the field from the new Irish line coach. "The new offensive line coach talked to me about the family aspect of their program," Olmstead stated. "That was very important to me. He also talked about how the offensive line there bonds together. "That's something I have at my school, and that's a big deal for me." For most offensive line prospects, Notre Dame's recent tradition at the position is especially appealing when considering the Irish. Olmstead is no different and has heard about some similarities between himself and an Irish All-American also from New Jersey. "They have two first-rounders in the NFL Draft this year in Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey," Olm- stead said. "Right now, Notre Dame is one of the best offensive line schools to be at. "They definitely compare me to Quenton a lot. We're from the same state and have a similar playing style. To be compared to him is a great feel- ing." The bonds Olmstead built with a few of the current Irish offensive line- men also helped with his decision and feeling comfortable about fitting in with the group in South Bend. "I definitely have a good relation- ship with a few of the freshman line- men," Olmstead said. "I got to talk with some of the older offensive line- men and the starters. I have a good re- lationship with those guys, and that's what I'm looking for." St. Joseph's head coach Richard Hilliard told Blue & Gold Illustrated he felt Olmstead could fit in at any school, but especially at Notre Dame. "He's just that kind of kid," Hilliard explained. "He's a humble kid. The kids will all look up to him. He will fit in fine and knows how to hang with the kids. He's a good, well-rounded young man." Hilliard saw improvements in Ol- mstead's game on the field, but it was his ownership of becoming "the guy" on the line that caught his attention this past season. "There was definitely a big change on his leadership role," Hilliard said. "He became a leader out there and a general on the offensive line. He always had the physical tools to be a good football player, and he started sharing those tools with all of his teammates. It really made a big dif- ference on our offensive line." selected Olmstead to its first-team all-state unit last fall and ranked him as the top player in the Garden State for the 2018 campaign. After not landing a four-star offen- sive lineman in the 2018 class, Notre Dame is off to a strong start in 2019 with Olmstead. He is ranked by Ri- vals as the No. 10 offensive tackle and No. 63 overall player nationally. Olmstead could become the high- est-ranked offensive lineman to sign with the Irish since Tommy Kraemer, who Rivals listed No. 41 overall in the 2016 class. ✦ FILM ANALYSIS Strengths John Olmstead has outstanding size and power, grading out as elite in both categories … Shows a good vertical burst at the line and has the ability to drive defenders off the ball in the run game … Is an aggressive blocker that shows a nasty streak and a passion for finish- ing off defenders … His length and power help him in the pass game, and if he moves inside to guard his pass blocking grade will improve. Areas For Improvement Fell off some in his flexibility as a junior, which caused him to lose a bit of his agility and change of direction ability so he'll need to work to get that back … The power is there, but he has to do a better job shooting his hands at the snap … Tends to narrow his base in pass protection, which must be worked on. — Bryan Driskell COMMITMENT PROFILE JOHN OLMSTEAD New Jersey Lineman Looks To Follow In The Footsteps Of Quenton Nelson Olmstead — the nation's No. 10 offensive tackle and No. 63 overall player per Rivals — is the first New Jersey offensive lineman to commit to Notre Dame since Nelson in the class of 2014. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

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