The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players, and we want to talk about them all. One Foot Down’s player profile series will take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys, and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming 2020 season.
#56 John Dirksen, Offensive Lineman
John Dirksen was originally a 3-star offensive tackle prospect in the 2018 class, ranked 515th nationally in the 247sports composite rankings (#42 OT, #21 recruit in Ohio). The 6’5”, 305-lb monster from Marion Local High School in Maria Stein, Ohio helped lead his high school squad to a 15-0 record as a senior and the 2017 Ohio High School Athletic Association Division VI state title, capping 27 straight wins for them dating back to 2016.
With great size and clear results on the field, Dirksen still managed to have some solid choices despite his mediocre recruiting ratings, receiving scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Iowa State, Michigan State, Kentucky, and Northwestern.
After receiving his Irish offer at the end of January of his junior year and unofficially visiting campus two months later, he committed to the Irish and didn’t waver, signing in December on Early Signing Day.
He was a normal enrollee in the summer of 2018, and like most offensive linemen, he redshirted in his initial season, not seeing the field and focusing on developing his collegiate strength and learning the offense.
Last year as a sophomore (redshirt frosh in eligibility), he appeared in 8 games on special teams, earning some solid on-field experience to hopefully build on as he moves up the depth chart.
This one is pretty simple — Dirksen is a big, tough dude and I envision him clearing out a lot of space in the future by charging straight through opposing players, bowling them over and leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.
Considering the Irish are bringing back their entire starting offensive line, don’t expect to see too much of Dirksen on offense in 2020. He’ll likely back up Tommy Kraemer at the right guard position, although if Kraemer were to go down for some reason, it’s more likely that senior Josh Lugg will be called into action to be the 5th OL.
Still, Dirksen will likely continue playing on special teams, and might start to see garbage time minutes once the starting offensive line is removed from blowout games. Hopefully he can continue to develop and position himself to be a potential starter in 2021 and 2022.