Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive tackle Joe Alt was named as a Freshman All-American this week by the Football Writers Association of America, and we need to talk about that for a minute.
When the 2021 season began, Notre Dame had a freshman starting at left tackle — and that’s how the season ended. This extraordinary achievement actually included four different players in the overall scope of the season.
The Irish started the season with freshman Blake Fisher as the starter at left tackle but he suffered a season-ending injury in that first game. The Irish then tried using Michael Carmody and Tosh Baker as replacements moving forward. To help both players out (and the line as a whole) Joe Alt was used as a blocking tight end. Once Carmody suffered an injury and Baker proved ineffective, Alt was placed at left tackle — and excelled.
That sequence of events is about as wild as you’re ever going to see when it comes to the evolution of a particular position during the course of a college football season.
Now the Irish find themselves heading into a spring with a Freshman All-American at one tackle spot in Alt, and the guy that could have been a Freshman All-American had he stayed healthy in Blake Fisher. While the offensive line is generally a strength of the program year in and year out for Notre Dame, it’s still mind-blowing to see how this all came about this past season.