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.
#74 Liam Eichenberg, Left Tackle
Liam Eichenberg committed to the Notre Dame program on April 19th, 2015 and signed his letter of intent on February 3rd, 2016. He chose the Irish over offers from the Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, Ohio State Buckeyes, and Penn State Nittany Lions, among others. Eichenberg was a consensus 4 star recruit. 247Sports rated Eichenberg as the 80th best player in the nation, 7th best offensive tackle, and 4th best player in the state of Ohio in the class of 2016. He attended St. Ignatius High School, and his hometown is Cleveland, Ohio. He currently stands 6’ 6’’ and weighs 305 pounds.
Eichenberg was redshirted during his freshman season in 2016 as Mike McGlinchey and Alex Bars were established starters at the tackle position. Heading into the 2017 season, Robert Hainsey, Tommy Kraemer, and Eichenberg were all in competition for the right tackle position that had opened up following the move of Bars to right guard. Ultimately, Hainsey and Kraemer were named co-starters, and Eichenberg was relegated to the backup left tackle position. By his own admission, Eichenberg was not as well prepared as he should have been. He stated, “I was definitely disappointed in myself, but at the end of the day, I knew I didn’t put enough time into it. That’s how life is. If you don’t put the work in, you don’t see the reward.” He did see action in 5 games during the season in mop-up duty.
Following McGlinchey’s departure, Eichenberg assumed the starting left tackle position as a redshirt sophomore in 2018. He started all 13 games during the run to the College Football Playoff. Though he initially had veteran Alex Bars next to him at left guard, Bars was lost for the season following a knee injury in late September. Eichenberg proved to be a steady presence as several players rotated in at left guard throughout the remainder of the season. At times, the coaching staff felt that Eichenberg played too cautiously, trying to be too perfect. This resulted in him occasionally being a tick slow on run plays. On the positive side, he only allowed 3 sacks in 939 snaps on the year.
In 2019, Eichenberg started all 13 games at left tackle. On the year, Eichenberg did not allow a single sack, while only yielding 9 quarterback hurries and 3 quarterback hits in 845 snaps. Per Pro Football Focus, Eichenberg was rated as the best pass blocker and run blocker on the team. On the flip side, Eichenberg seemed to struggle with the clap cadence of Ian Book and was flagged for numerous false starts. In early November, Eichenberg commented on the clap cadence saying, “It’s difficult because we’re all trying to load up to get off the ball, and we’re waiting for a sound. Somebody could scream real quick, and I’m like ‘Ugh,’ Because it’s tough. The defense can time it up. We see it all the time. It’s just one of those things.” Though he could have been drafted in the first several rounds of the NFL Draft, Eichenberg elected to return to school for a 5th season.
German Shepherds are extremely loyal dogs. They are often used in police work due to their intelligence. These dogs will defend their family to the death and are not afraid to attack intruders. Despite their size, they are very agile and move well for their size. Similar to the German Shepherd, Liam Eichenberg has made it his mission to protect Ian Book. He is a highly intelligent football player and is extremely athletic for his size
Liam Eichenberg will be the starting left tackle for the Irish in 2020. The big question facing him this season is if he can he take his play to another level and become the 4th straight left tackle drafted in the 1st round under Brian Kelly. In order to accomplish this, Eichenberg will need to cut down his penalties, improve upon his lateral agility, and run blocking technique to accomplish this.