Notre Dame football: Irish offensive line goes from a strength to a question

Left tackle Liam Eichenberg could be Notre Dame's highest selection in the 2021 NFL draft.5eae56e0b3a90 Image
Left tackle Liam Eichenberg could be Notre Dame's highest selection in the 2021 NFL draft.5eae56e0b3a90 Image /

Heading into the 2020 college football season, it was clear that the Notre Dame football team would have strength up front along the offensive line. With All-American talent, solid veteran leadership, and guys who can flat out maul defenders, quarterback Ian Book would be quite comfortable behind his five starters upfront.

What ensued was an incredible season from the unit as a whole, as there were multiple All-Americans, multiple guys sent to the Senior Bowl, and the honor of being a finalist for the Joe Moore Award. Left tackle Liam Eichenberg, a potential first-round pick, won was a consensus first-team All-American, while Aaron Banks earned plenty of first-team honors as well.

Robert Hainsey was second-team All-ACC, Jarrett Patterson was honorable mention All-American, and Tommy Kraemer was a third-team All-American by the AP. Overall, it was a dominant unit that is going to be hard to replace, turning what was once a strength into a major question mark this upcoming season.

Notre Dame football losing four of their five starters along the offensive line

Out of that entire unit, only Patterson returns, and he is likely going to be moving positions, taking over for Eichenberg at left tackle. That leaves the center spot vacant, but that can be filled by Zeke Correll, who stepped in for an injured Patterson towards the end of the 2020 season.

In our recent projection of the starting lineup, Andrew Hall liked Dylan Gibbons and Quinn Caroll to play the guard spots, with Josh Lugg joining Patterson at tackle. Of course, that is just hearsay right now, and the hope is that there can be an actual offseason to iron out a lot of the details on both sides of the ball.

Next. Notre Dame football: Possible NFL landing spots for Ian Book. dark

One of the bigger recruits for the Irish this season was Rocco Spindler, and he is a guy who could in and start right away as a freshman, possibly at one of the guard positions. Overall, there was good depth behind the starters last season, and some guys got some valuable playing time, but in reality, a matchup the caliber of the group up front in 2020 is going to be an almost impossible task, at least next season.