clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Notre Dame Football Position Preview: Offensive Tackles and Harry Potter

“The Blind Side” is eternally relevant, especially after last season

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 23 USC at Notre Dame Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I’m running out of clever ways to open these previews, so I’m just gonna keep it brief. Here’s Notre Dame’s offensive tackles presented as characters from the “Harry Potter” book series. Enjoy.

No. 54 Blake Fisher — Harry Potter

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 05 Notre Dame at Florida State Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The child of prophecy, destined to carry Notre Dame’s offensive line to new heights. Fisher became just the second true freshman ever and the first since Sam Young in 2006 to start in a Notre Dame season opener, manning the left tackle spot against Florida State last year.

A meniscus injury against the Seminoles kept Fisher out the rest of the regular season (no word on if it left a lightning-shaped scar). But it didn’t seem to cost him a step when he was thrown to the wolves and held his own at right tackle against Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl.

A five-star recruit by Rivals and a four-star by the other recruiting sites, Fisher looks to be the next great tackle prospect coming out of South Bend. And, if not for his injury, the next player on this list probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to impress at left tackle so much that the coaching staff decided to move Fisher to right tackle this season. He’s got a chance to be a first-round NFL pick in just two short years assuming he stays healthy.

No. 76 Joe Alt — Ron Weasley

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Stanford Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The one we didn’t see coming. Fisher was the one who made waves as an early enrollee last spring. His classmate Alt was little more than a tantalizing prospect who had the genetic potential (see: an offensive lineman father picked in the first round of the 1984 NFL Draft) to grow into a future starter at tackle.

Then Fisher got hurt, as did Michael Carmody and Tosh Baker, so Alt’s number was called. Given the expectations for a true freshman and fourth-string left tackle, he was a revelation. Rather than just being the No. 2 to Fisher, Alt — like Ron Weasley — showed he too was capable of greatness.

As with Fisher, Alt could leave after two more seasons and be a first-round selection like his father. Suffice to say the Irish have one of the best tackle tandems in the country in the two true sophomores.

No. 68 Michael Carmody — Hermione Granger

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Stanford Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The resourceful one. Carmody is in a similar mold to Josh Lugg: a Swiss Army Knife who can play multiple spots. He could fill in at tackle (which he did last season after Fisher went down and before his own injury) or at guard or even center in a pinch. He could even be an H-back blocker akin to Alt’s role last season before Alt became a full-time starter.

A four-star prospect out of Mars, Pa. — and younger brother of Irish hoops member Robby Carmody — Michael appeared in 10 games last season after just one appearance in 2020. The redshirt sophomore will once again provide depth in case a first stringer on the line goes down.

No. 79 Tosh Baker — Neville Longbottom

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The one who could have been prophesied. Not that Baker necessarily showed the same potential as Fisher, but the latter seems to have seized the opportunity the former never could.

Baker was a unanimous four-star recruit out of Phoenix in the 2020 class. He was competing for a starting tackle spot at the end of his freshman season, and his chances of winning were half decent. Josh Lugg wound up winning the right tackle job, but Baker was the highest rated lineman in his class and center Jarrett Patterson was unable to compete for the left tackle spot following Lisfranc surgery.

Then Fisher impressed while Baker failed to do so. And even after injuries to Fisher and Carmody thrust Baker into the starting job last year, he struggled in his only two starts against Wisconsin and Cincinnati (though, to be fair, those were two quality defenses).

On the bright side, Baker has apparently been making strides this offseason under the tutelage of Hiestand. His path to the field is improbable barring an injury to Fisher or Alt, but having a solid backup at tackle is always crucial, as evidenced by last season.

No. 72 Caleb Johnson — Draco Malfoy

The one who joined the protagonists. A late pickup in the 2021 class, Johnson decommitted from Auburn less than a month before signing with Notre Dame. The Ocala, Fla. native didn’t see any action as a true freshman last fall.

It’s difficult to see how Johnson cracks the rotation for the Irish. Both of his classmates are starting at tackle and no one who played at either tackle spot for the Irish last season departed the roster. There’s always a chance that injuries mount like they did last year, but that seems like the only path for Johnson to log snaps outside of garbage time.

No. 59 Aamil Wagner — Sirius Black

Via @AamilWagner on Twitter

The one who forsook his family. Okay, forsook may be a strong word, but Wagner was projected to choose Kentucky — where his brother Ahmad played wide receiver and is currently a graduate assistant — before a late commitment to the Irish this past November.

Wagner was a four-star 247Sports composite prospect and fringe top-100 player out of Dayton, Ohio. At 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds as a high school senior, he has a lot of weight to put on before he’s game ready. But the physical attributes are impressive and he could be a very interesting tackle prospect down the road.

No. 70 Ashton Craig & No. 77 Ty Chan — Fred & George Weasley

Via @lhstigercoach on Twitter
Via @chansanity5 on Twitter

No, they aren’t twins. But this was the best I could come up with since they’re offensive tackles in the same class and their recruitments were pretty uneventful. So just cut me some slack here.

Craig was a three-star composite prospect on 247Sports out of Lawrenceburg, Ind. His offer list included Michigan, Iowa, Cincinnati, Baylor, Purdue and Nebraska. Chan was a four-star composite player out of Groton, Mass. His offers included Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State, Nebraska and Boston College.

Both are long-term projects whose impact at Notre Dame probably won’t be felt until Fisher and Alt are off to the pros.