Obviously, the six Notre Dame football players arrested in two separate incidents last weekend, and the subsequent fallout, is “the lead” right now. Here’s a link to the latest on Devin Butler, and also on the five other players. After that, it’s all about the quarterback controversy in the Fighting Irish football news universe.
Time to talk about something else for a change.
Four players were named captains of the 2016 Notre Dame football team: Wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr., Offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey, linebacker James Onwualu and defensive end Isaac Rochell.
Two of them, McGlinchey and Rochell, stand a very good chance of being taken in the first round of the NFL Draft next April, so we’ll focus on them.
Mike McGlinchey– the most perfect name possible for a Fighting Irish player ever. (Fighting Irish Coach Kelly is good too).
“It’s a nice little last name for us here, absolutely,” McGlinchey said at Notre Dame football media day.
Are you in the mood to head to O’Rourke’s now in the Eddy Street Commons to drink a Black and Tan and eat a Guinness and Beef stew? I know I am. (I’m listening to the Cranberries as I type this, with plans to rock out to Dropkick Murphy’s after I’m done)
By the way, McGlinchey is 100% Irish. “According to legend I am,” he said.
Unfortunately, he has never been out of the country yet, so he’s yet to visit Ireland.
McGlinchey has worked alongside plenty of future NFL players on the o-line during his time in South Bend, so he’s had some great cohort role models.
“It has been huge, guys like Zack (Martin), Chris (Watt), Nick (Martin), and Ronnie (Stanley). All of those guys before me, they have all done unbelievable things,” McGlinchey said of how having all the future NFL Draft picks around him in college have helped to augment his game.
“All you have to do is open your eyes, open your ears and it’s hard not to learn something from them. All of them are tremendous leaders and players, all I had to do was open my eyes and listen the past three years and they’ve shown a pretty good path. I couldn’t be more thankful, and hopefully I can continue to do the same thing.”
McGlinchey came to ND, choosing the Irish over Penn State, Boston College and Duke, as a self-described “gangly basketball player.” As a freshman, he was a 265 pound tight end.
Today, he’s a 310 pound franchise left tackle in the making. In essence he could be the next Ronnie Stanley type anchor for Notre Dame football.
Said Coach Kelly:
“Mike was not an offensive lineman, a polished offensive lineman. He’s evolved into one of the very good offensive linemen in the country through great, great hard work on his part. I mean, he’s made himself.
“Ronnie was born to be an offensive tackle. Great bender, great knee bender, great feet, great pass sets. Mike is evolving into that. He needs to continue to grow into being a great pass setter. He’s played with great balance this year. Probably a little overextended at times last year. Showing great balance, staying on his feet, finishing off blocks.”
“Continues to evolve as a pass protector and he’s doing that. But again, he was a lot more of a raw player, if you will, than Ronnie.”
Moving on to Issac Rochell, Kelly had this to say at Media Day:
“Isaac Rochell has been outstanding. He was more of a four technique, inside, hold the point player. He’s been extremely versatile for us, playing in our sub package now inside, holding the point as a six technique and a nine technique.”
“He’s going to help himself a lot at the next level with his versatility because he’s moving so well. His improvement has been strength and his ability to move his feet.”
This year, the DL will be the strength of Brian Van Gorder’s defense. It absolutely has to be, as there just isn’t much experience in the back. Last year, Sheldon Day was the star of the front, but now that he’s graduated and on to the pros, it’s Rochell’s turn to grow into the alpha dog role.
Rochell on his relationship with Sheldon Day and how it impacted his style of leadership’…
“We had a great relationship. I saw what he did and how he led, and one important thing he did was play well. A lot of his leadership came from that because if you play well people will respect you.
“Another thing he did was develop relationships, and I took that to heart. You have to be great friends and care about the people you play with. That’s the biggest thing I took from him. You have to be genuine and really care about the people you’re playing with.”
Versatility is by far the biggest asset in Rochell’s game. He can play multiple positions, both inside and outside, and that will drive up the price of his NFL stock. This fall, he’ll play the unique position of “big end.”
“It’s not a true end, it’s not a three tech,” said Rochell.
How does the position translate to the next level?
“It does, especially in 3-4 defenses, I think at the next level that’s where I’d fit, a 3-4 end. I love how our scheme, we do a lot of 3-4 looks, and big end is where I feel most comfortable, where I play the best.”
To see where we have both of these Notre Dame football players slotted in our latest NFL mock draft, go here.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication and Bold Global.
He also consistently appears on numerous radio and television talk shows all across the country. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and Sound Cloud.
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