2018 Notre Dame Football Recruit Profile: John Dirksen
The Notre Dame football program got signed commitments from 21 players from 13 different states last month during the inaugural “early signing period.”
News-Sentinel.com sports reporter Tom Davis has been writing on the Fighting Irish for nearly two decades and is taking a daily look at each recruit leading up to the traditional National Signing Day (Feb. 7).
The Ohio native overcame a leg injury in his junior season to still have a very successful high school career in helping Marion Local High School to consecutive OHSAA Division VI state championships.
At 6-foot-5, 303 pounds, he already has the frame and build of a college offensive lineman, but will only add strength to that frame, as he redesigns his body within Notre Dame’s strength program.
Though Ohio State wasn’t in on his final list, former Notre Dame assistant Harry Hiestand knew what he liked in the prospect and the Irish had to beat out several Power 5 programs to land Dirksen.
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With Dirksen’s size and athleticism, he has the versatility to play either guard or tackle, which was never “set in stone” concept with Hiestand, so it will be interesting to see how new Irish offensive line coach Jeff Quinn manages his personnel.
Hiestand found the five best players and figured out how to utilize those guys athletically, so it remains to be seen where Dirksen lines up.
The positive is Dirksen has size and athleticism, which will be invaluable in Notre Dame’s spread offense under second-year offensive coordinator Chip Long.
Dirksen has the toughness to over-power guys, but also the quickness and agility to move on blocks.
When it comes to rankings, it probably carries more weight that Hiestand wanted this kid than anything, but Dirksen was rated as the 37th and 38th best offensive tackle by Rivals and 247Sports, respectively, ESPN had him as 53rd.
Within the deep and talented state of Ohio, Dirksen was rated as the 21st best player by 247Sports.
Not only will Dirksen get an immediate look because each offensive lineman is being reevaluated by a new position coach, but Notre Dame did have three linemen leave for the NFL/graduation.
Only Sam Mustipher (center) is probably an absolute lock to be where he was last season.
Senior Alex Bars and young players Tommy Kraemer, Robert Hainsey, and Aaron Banks each come back, as do Liam Eichenberg and Josh Lugg.
The Irish have depth and a decent amount of experience returning from the Joe Moore Award-winning unit.
BRIAN KELLY SAYS
“No more soft commitments,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said of the 21 players that signed with the program on National Signing Day in December. “The charge that I gave to our assistant coaches is that if a player has given us his commitment, we have been committed to them that they’re going to sign with us. If not, that’s fine, but we’re going to keep recruiting that position. So it’s really put back into the definition of commitment.
“If you’re committed, there are no, ‘Hey, I’m committed, but I’m going to take other visits.’ It really truly means a commitment to one university. We have a commitment to you, and we’re going to honor that commitment.”
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