We're back with another edition of Reviewing the Redshirts. Here's who we've looked at so far:
As always, I'll be looking at one of our offensive line recruits. Just like Nick Martin, the last lineman I profiled, this next player has some very good genes.
OG Conor Hanratty
Hometown: New Canaan, CT
Height: 6'4 1/2"
Rivals: No. 38 Offensive Guard, No. 3 Connecticut, 3 stars
ESPN: No. 52 Offensive Guard, No. 2 Connecticut, 3 stars, Grade: 76
Scout: No. 31 Offensive Tackle, 3 stars
247: NR, 3 stars, Grade: 83
Need at Position: High
Expected Spot on 2012 Depth Chart: Two-deep, possible starter
'11 CT OL Conor Hanratty (via RedshirtScouting)
Conor is the son of former All-American and starting quarterback for the 1966 national championship team, Terry Hanratty. But don't think for a second that this is another Nate Montana situation; Hanratty is a good player who earned his scholarship.
At 6'4 and over 300 pounds, Hanratty had the size to be an offensive lineman for a major college football program right out of high school. Though he was only a three-star recruit by the major services, Hanratty had quite an impressive offer list, boasting scholarship offers from, among others, Boston College, Wisconsin, and Iowa, three schools known for producing talented offensive linemen. But Hanratty was Irish very early on, committing after last year's Blue-Gold game.
What is most apparent on Hanratty's highlight film is his mean streak. He goes hard after whoever he's blocking, even in pass protection. One play in particular stood out for me: tasked with pass protection and facing a blitz, Hanratty simply threw his man into a free rusher up the middle. That kind of attitude is exactly what this coaching staff looks for in offensive linemen.
But besides just being physical, Hanratty also moves pretty well for someone his size. Though he's not as athletic as someone like Jordan Prestwood, he gets to the second level well and did a fair amount of pulling in high school.
Brian Kelly had a lot of good things to say about Hanratty after Signing Day last year:
What we liked about Conor was young, first of all, at the position; was somebody that we believed over a period of time as we developed him he was going to be a really good football player for us. But we liked his tenacity. He really got after people.
And you'll see that in everything that he does, uses his hands very well and had an edge to him in the way he played. When I say an edge to him, he had that gnarly kind of demeanor at the offensive line.
And for a young guy, he's made incredible progress, even after the season in terms of weight training and conditioning and all the things that he's going to continue to work at. But you can see that he's just a guy that gets after you. And obviously from our standpoint we're looking for guys that can move their feet. He can move his feet but he also likes to finish things off.
At the right tackle position, again uses his hands very well... Can move his feet and stays after it. He's got a little nasty to him, which we really like. Again, uses his hands very well. Understands the pocket. You can see he's got a great sense of where the quarterback is. It's hard to teach some of the things he does right here. Just his ability to come back off of this and know that he's got to expand the width of the pocket as a right tackle...
Those little nuances, sometimes it's hard to teach those things. He's got a great awareness of it already. Going to have to get stronger, going to have continue to work hard. Those are the things that we think we can teach him. He's got some of those unique, innate abilities. Watch him slap these hands down right away off the D linemen. Great technique of slapping hands and reengaging immediately.
Kelly backed up his praise by giving Hanratty second team reps in the fall. He commented that Hanratty wasn't ready to play, though.
Like Nick Martin, Hanratty spent the season listed as a backup on the two-deep. Also like Martin, Hanratty was never going to play outside of an emergency.
As for this season, Hanratty has a good chance at being the starting right guard when the Irish take the field in Dublin. With Trevor Robinson moving on, the competition will likely come down to Hanratty and Christian Lombard. Lombard will probably also be competing with Tate Nichols and Jordan Prestwood for the open right tackle spot, which could give Hanratty an advantage.
If Hanratty wins the job, he'll likely be a four year starter. If Lombard takes the guard spot, Hanratty will probably need to wait until Chris Watt graduates so he can take over at left guard in either his junior or senior year (with the possibility of a fifth year).
If he does start next year, he'll bring a level of physicality the offensive line needs. Trevor Robinson was certainly a good lineman, but having a player whose goal is to hit the opponent in the mouth would be a welcome addition to the line.