Reviewing the Redshirts is an off-season series meant to resurrect discussion around the current Irish freshmen who did not play in 2013.
There were 13 this year who retained a year of eligibility and today we take a look at a versatile athlete starting to make a name for himself in South Bend.
OL, Hunter Bivin
Hometown: Owensboro, Kentucky
Height: 6-5 1/2
247Sports COMPOSITE RANKING:
4-star, No. 9 OT, No. 2 KY, No. 97 USA, 0.9531 score
Need at Position: Mild
Expected Spot on the 2014 Depth Chart: 2nd string-ish
Here's what I wrote about Bivin following National Signing day last year:
My top offensive lineman in the class, he's exactly what Notre Dame should look for at the tackle position. Tall, lanky, and with a body that can add another 40 pounds and still stay trim and muscular at well over 300 pounds. For his size, he's the best athlete of the 5 linemen coming in and I have really, really high expectations for him.
Once Zack Martin leaves for the NFL I expect Bivin to be playing a lot. He's shown versatility to play other positions but Bivin (and Stanley from the '12 class) look like the rocks at tackle for this program to build around. Even if his future isn't at tackle he'll excel anywhere else on the line.
Yes, he was one of the rare recruits I was really hyped to see developed by Heistand. Still am. Obviously, fellow classmate Steve Elmer has a huge head start in terms of development having enrolled early last year and played a ton of snaps as a true freshman. However, Bivin was more highly rated than Elmer coming out of high school and a Composite Top 100 player nationally. Not that this is indicative of a whole lot, yet I mention it as a reminder of just how well regarded the Kentucky product was this time last year.
The word everyone uses when talking about Bivin is VERSATILITY. He played tackle in high school, saw some action at center during the Under Armour All-American Bowl, and once summer 2013 rolled around looked like a candidate at guard for Notre Dame once the depth chart took shape.
As of the initial spring practice for 2014 this past Monday we saw Bivin back at tackle getting work as the backup on the left side. This feels like the right move. Although he doesn't have the extreme height like McGlinchey that practically necessitates development at tackle, I think Bivin has the height, length, and athleticism to excel on the edge.
What's curious is that if we assume Bivin's listed weight as a senior in high school was slightly inflated he still hasn't gained much weight yet. According to the newly released spring roster Bivin remains at 291 pounds like he was in August. It's not a huge concern seeing as how he's not finished with his first academic year yet but it's something to keep an eye on for the future. I had thought he'd pack on weight pretty quickly but that hasn't been the case as of yet. It could be that the staff wants someone a little more trim and quick (to pair with McGlinchey at right tackle) on the edge for all we know.
We'll see what 2014 has in store for Hunter Bivin. Being the current backup at left tackle during your first spring practice is kind of a big deal, but at the same time, he might be behind Stanley, McGlinchey, Elmer, and possibly even Lombard in terms of "next man in at tackle" if there are any injuries. That is to say, if Stanley goes out Elmer moves to left tackle, if Elmer goes out McGlinchey may move to left tackle, etc. etc.
At any rate, I'm still excited to see Bivin over the next 4 years.