John Dirksen said the offers from big-time colleges slowed after he broke his right leg in the beginning of his junior season. But Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Harry Hiestand had found the lump of clay he wanted to mold — and so he never gave up on the 295-pound offensive lineman.
“It felt like home,” said the Maria Stein, Ohio, product of his Notre Dame visit. “I got to talk to Coach Hiestand and the players. They seemed like my neighbors and they’re just overall great people.”
Dirksen and Cole Mabry are so far Notre Dame’s two offensive line commitments, although they still have their sights on one or two more. Dirksen played tackle in high school, but says Notre Dame will probably use him as a guard.
Here’s what OFD analyst Nick Dubose found while watching the tape earlier this year:
“Dirksen overwhelms the opposition with superior natural size and strength. He has good balanced width in his stance to both run and pass block. He doesn’t get crossed up in movement as he moves with his weight positioned correctly on his feet- again, something he does naturally. Dirksen plays with intensity, engages and moves quickly to another block once he cleans his guy out. This shows an aggressive attitude and mentality that has him play to the echo of the whistle.
“Dirksen has an explosive first step to get appropriate angle on his blocks, and generates a good punch on his second step to get into his block. His ability to get to the second level is key here. In Chip Long’s version of the spread, his lineman have to get downfield more, rather than side to side. Dirksen reaches the linebackers quickly once having chipped off his initial block. You can see his athleticism in his movement, and his leg movement is solid, rather than being clumsy or uncoordinated.
“Dirksen has natural build and motion of an offensive tackle in the long run. He seems comfortable in his upright posture and in my years of experience, looks more at home on the edge. I’m sure Dirksen could play guard for Notre Dame in the future, but my gut tells me he will be a tackle for the Fighting Irish.”