By Michael Rubin, Domer Sports Report
Notre Dame Football
The Irish are looking to bolster their offensive tackle position as they prepare for life after Mike Turkovich. Turkovich is a three year starter who moved from guard to tackle this year and is one of the Irish's biggest surprises so far in 2008. The Irish already have one offensive tackle commitment for the 2009 season and are eyeing another.
Zach Martin, 6'5 270, an offensive tackle from Indianapolis, Indiana committed to the Irish in the middle of July.
Martin attends Bishop Chatard HS and also held offers from Stanford, UCLA, Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, and Northwestern.
Martin, a Rivals 4-star athlete, said that he had a list of things he was looking for in a school and Notre Dame fit that. He also stated that he felt Notre Dame was the most comfortable place for him. Martin is a could be one of the most versatile offensive tackles in the 2009 class and could come in and make an immediate impact.
Here is his ESPN.com evaluation:
"Martin may be one of the most versatile linemen in the 2009 class. He is an outstanding offensive tackle and defensive lineman that has a great motor and being 6'5' 275, it's no surprise he is being highly recruited. Offensively, he comes off the ball low and hard playing with great leverage. Demonstrates great leg drive and locks hands into the defender's body; big meat hooks really clamp on. Could give a little more punch but this aggressively football player does a great job of sustaining his block. Alert and picks up inside stunts and blitzes like seasoned veteran. Very mobile for a big man; pulls with authority and athletic enough in the open field to lock on to linebackers and defensive backs. Has no trouble getting turned upfield and gives that little bit extra to get downfield block. Very solid at pass protection and anchors down with weight underneath him. Uses his hands very well and delivers a jarring blow on the pass rusher. On defense this huge athlete also gives great effort and is very physical. Wrong arms the trap and destroys the double team. Powerful at the point of attack and absolutely cannot get knocked off the line by one blocker. Extremely quick on line stunts and is a menacing pass rusher. Uses hands and to separate from the blocker then disengages to get to the football. Takes good pursuit angles and demonstrates excellent lateral movement. It's amazing how this big guy can go both ways and never tire. Martin is truly a workhouse that is equally effective both sides of the football. We love his motor on defense, but in the long run his best fit may be on offense as a tackle."
The Irish are also recruiting Rivals.com four-star offensive tackle Xavier Nixon.
Nixon, 6'6 265, has offers on the table from Clemson, Florida, LSU, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State, South Carolina and WVU.
Nixon, from Fayetteville, North Carolina is the number three ranked offensive tackle in the 2009 recruiting class and has been playing defensive end as well as tackle on his Jack Britt High School football team.
Nixon has had an eventful past couple of weeks, visiting the University of Florida, and being named to the North Carolina-South Carolina Shrine Bowl. He is pretty up in the air about where he will attend next year, but we will keep our ears open.
Here is ESPN.com's evaluation on Nixon:
"Nixon has the athletic skills to be one of the better offensive linemen in the class of 2009. With a tall frame, he has long arms and is light on his feet of a tackle pushing 300 pounds. His mobility isn't an issue. Pulls a lot and gets out of his stance quickly. Loses very little speed when turning upfield, especially for a big man. Sometimes misses in space. Needs to more consistently come under control and avoid overrunning the defender. Shows super effort getting across the field from the back side. He's still learning to use his legs and upper body as one weapon. He has a tendency to over-stride and lose some power when delivering a blow. He's aggressive at the point of attack and can come out low with a lot of force and punch, but he needs to do it more consistently. He's impressive on combination blocks. SHows good hip roll and leg drive once he engages the defender. Executes the down block with perfection. Has no trouble getting his head across and in front of a defensive lineman because of his quickness off the ball. Has good football sense and rarely takes plays off. has quick feet in pass protection, but he sometimes gets his weight too far forward. Needs to keep his hands inside consistently delivering the first punch to a pass rusher's chest; tends to go too high or miss with his initial blow. Nixon is undoubtedly athletic enough to be a very good blocker at the next level, but more body control and work in the weight room could transform him into a complete tackle."
It appears the Irish have lost out on tight end prospect Gabe Ikard. Ikard has decided to attend the hometown University of Oklahoma. Ikard said that he has been to OU over 500 times and that the coaching staff has said that they see him fitting in very well. Ikard did not want to sit on the bench and with the depth at tight end at Notre Dame, it would appear that he would have had a tough time seeing the field next year.