Notre Dame received its 7th commitment - and 2nd from an elite Buckeye State offensive tackle - in the 2016 recruiting class today when Liam Eichenberg pledged to the Irish. Eichenberg is listed at 6'6" and 290 pounds; the 247 Composite has him as the #83 overall player, #11 offensive tackle, and #7 player in Ohio. Eichenberg was one of Urban Meyer's prime targets, and also holds offers from Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
I have officially decided to commit to THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME #GoIrish #F16GHTINGIRISH @NDFootball @NoChillCLE pic.twitter.com/rNCP7FSKAl— Liam Eichenberg (@Iggyike17) April 19, 2015
Eichenberg, from St. Ignatius in Cleveland, joins Tommy Kraemer (#25 overall / #3 OT), from Elder in Cincinnati, as top-tier Irish offensive line commits who share a home state and status as a top-of-the-board target for Meyer. Life is good for Brian Kelly and Harry Hiestand, who seem to lose very few recruiting battles to Meyer and Ed Warriner. Eichenberg chose the Irish even with a grandfather who's an enormous Ohio State fan - perhaps not surprising given that even his grandfather loved the family's visit to Notre Dame last weekend.
Liam himself certainly looked at home on that visit:
Notre Dame @NDFootball @NoChillCLE pic.twitter.com/bHGmupItXw— Liam Eichenberg (@Iggyike17) April 13, 2015
Recruiting Service Rankings
Rivals - 3 star (5.7 rating), NR overall, #37 position, #16 in Ohio
247 - 4 star (97 rating), #17 overall, #5 position, #2 in Ohio
ESPN - 4 star, #59 overall, #6 position, #3 in Ohio
Scout - 4 star, #66 overall, #9 position, #4 in Ohio
247 Composite - 4 star (0.9564 rating), #83 overall, #11 position, #7 in Ohio
Eichenberg displays exceptional athleticism at his size, which is what led so many coaches to pursue him. Guys that big shouldn't move that easily, and it really shows in how effective he is as a pass blocker. He's also very active with his hands and does a good job of keeping defenders away from his body, which is an advanced trait for a high school junior. He doesn't have quite the same edge that Kraemer has, but he has more than enough athleticism and technical ability to be elite at the next level.
I'm deviating from the usual template for these commitment posts to include two highlight videos for Liam, one from his junior year and one from his sophomore year. The are two reasons for this: the only junior highlight video I could find is really short; and while there are consistencies between the two videos I wanted to highlight one significant difference too. Maybe it was just selection bias, but he looks like a better finisher in his sophomore video. Without further insight into his junior year than a brief highlight video, I'll give him some benefit of the doubt on the mean attitude.
While Meyer told Eichenberg he would start as a freshman, the offensive line depth for Ohio State and Notre Dame is such that he would be very unlikely to play in 2016 for either school. Eichenberg, just like Kraemer, will get the opportunity to redshirt during his freshman year and develop mentally and physically.
Long Term / Career
With his athleticism and size, the sky is the limit for Eichenberg. I can see him being a contributor as a redshirt freshman and eventually becoming at least a two-year starter. Eichenberg, Kraemer, and the third lineman in this class - perhaps Ben Bredeson, Parker Boudreaux, or Michael Jordan - should form an impressive core that will be fun to watch as upperclassmen.