It’s evident that one of Marcus Freeman’s highest priorities in recruiting is the offensive line. In his two recruiting classes, he has added six offensive tackles and a few more interior offensive linemen. Nearly all have been at least four-star recruits, and yet it’ll still be very difficult to replace Joe Alt, who is almost certainly off to the NFL. Right tackle Blake Fisher might leave for the league too.
On top of the NFL departures, guard Zeke Correll has entered the transfer portal, so the Irish could be replacing three starting offensive linemen from a really good group. In that case, Freeman is almost forced to look to the portal to add a veteran for stability, or at least depth in case one of his highly-touted underclassmen struggles.
It would be a big jump for a DII offensive tackle to play at Notre Dame next season, but Herron might be up for it. After just two seasons at Shorter, Herron entered the portal and quickly received offers from many of the best programs in the country, including Miami, Clemson, and Penn State.
Scott primarily played on the interior at Southern Mississippi with 656 of his 761 snaps at left guard. He could be a one-for-one replacement for Zeke Correll, though maybe not as talented a player. In those 761 snaps, he allowed 15 pressures from the inside. That’s often bad news for a quarterback, but none of the pressures went for sacks.
He may not be a huge addition, but depth is crucial on the offensive line, and Scott can provide some. He’s only given up eight sacks in 2,543 snaps at Southern Miss.
Smith played 795 snaps at left tackle in 2023, his second year at Indiana, but is ready to move on after his head coach was fired. Smith has multiple years of eligibility remaining but has much more experience than the underclassmen who have sat behind Joe Alt for one or two seasons in South Bend.
In 129 true pass sets this season, Smith only allowed 12 pressures which ranks outside the top 100 among offensive tackles in the country, and is the same amount as Blake Fisher allowed in 152 true pass sets. Alt only gave up five in 155 true pass sets. He’s an irreplaceable player who will be a top-10 NFL draft pick.