Blake Fisher’s commitment to Notre Dame could eventually create a short-term problem — but a good one to have.
By the time Fisher, a 2021 recruit, arrives at Notre Dame, there might be a logjam at left tackle. Irish offensive line coach Jeff Quinn continues to stack his position group with top-rated recruits, particularly at offensive tackle.
The 6-foot-6, 310-pounder becomes the fourth four-star offensive tackle to verbally pledge for Notre Dame in the last 14 months. Fisher announced the news via Twitter on Saturday following an impressive outing at Notre Dame's Lineman’s Challenge, a recruiting camp for offensive and defensive linemen.
Edina (Minn.) High’s Quinn Carroll and Gibsonia (Pa.) Pine-Richland’s Andrew Kristofic, both four-star offensive tackles, signed to Notre Dame’s 2019 recruiting class. As early enrollees, Carroll and Kristofic ascended to second-string roles at right and left tackle, respectively, during spring practice.
The Irish also earned a verbal commitment last month from four-star offensive tackle Tosh Baker in the 2020 class.
“But I don’t see Fisher sitting too long,” said Tom Lemming, a recruiting analyst for CBS Sports Network. “Maybe one year, he doesn’t play and is redshirted. He’s talented enough to be at the top of the depth chart right away. They have so many good guys ahead of him right now that he might have to wait a year.
“He is talented enough to start for almost any team in the country.”
The Avon (Ind.) High product took an unofficial visit for Notre Dame’s home game against Florida State in November and left with an offer. He also took unofficial visits for a December junior day, a three-day recruiting trip in January and a spring practice in March.
247Sports ranks Fisher as its No. 15 offensive tackle and No. 90 overall player in the 2021 class. He accrued offers from Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma and more. Notre Dame’s class of four commits now ranks No. 2 nationally on 247Sports. Rivals has not yet ranked 2021 prospects.
Notre Dame named Fisher as its MVP among the dozens of offensive lineman participating inside the Loftus Sports Center. He flashed elite athleticism, strength, quickness and size during one-on-ones and position drills.
Lemming rates Fisher as a five-star recruit and compares him to former Irish tackle Ronnie Stanley, who the Baltimore Ravens drafted with the No. 6 overall pick in 2016.
“He looks like him length-wise,” Lemming said. “He has the same build as Ronnie coming out of high school. He’s got the same kind of fluid movement, the long arms, the great length, the frame, the great feet. This kid can move. Terrific all-around athlete.
“He could play left tackle and become a No. 1 NFL Draft choice.”
Fisher became the second four-star lineman to commit to the Irish on Saturday. Saint Peters (Mo.) Lutheran’s Gabriel Rubio, a defensive tackle, made his decision public hours before Fisher did. Rubio silently committed when Notre Dame offered him on May 26. Irish defensive line coach Mike Elston awarded Rubio with defensive MVP honors.
The Fisher and Rubio commitments continues Notre Dame’s linemen recruiting success. Four 2020 defensive linemen are verbally pledged to the Irish. Lemming said Elston and Quinn are ND’s top recruiters.
“Elston goes all the way back to (former Irish linebacker) Jaylon Smith,” Lemming said. “Quinn hit the ground running as soon as he took over, getting major players. Quinn has been nothing but fantastic since he got there.”
The Irish are in prime position for a few more elite 2021 offensive linemen. Olney (Md.) Good Counsel’s Landon Tengwall and Clarkston (Mich.) High’s Garrett Dellinger and Rocco Spindler consider the Irish among their top schools. All three could become five-star recruits. 247Sports ranks them among the top 30 overall players in the class.
Quinn’s 2021 recruiting success could influence how many 2020 offensive linemen the Irish will sign. Mars (Pa.) Area’s Michael Carmody and Centennial (Colo.) Eaglecrest’s Reece Atteberry seem like the only other realistic options beyond Baker at the moment.
Carmody, who is visiting the Irish this weekend, hopes to announce a decision this month. He was recently on campus for a June 6-7 unofficial visit too. Atteberry plans to take an official visit to Notre Dame next weekend.
Ten of the 14 offensive linemen on Notre Dame’s roster hold underclassman eligibility. All five projected starters are eligible to return in 2020. The dwindling space could entice Carmody and Atteberry to make their decisions sooner rather than later.
Those additions would only add insurance to ND’s surging offensive line unit.
“He’s such a big, natural athlete,” Lemming said of Fisher. “You just don’t find guys like that often. But he not only has the terrific athletic ability, but he also has the work ethic. And the reason why I give him five stars is because of the production. He was great last year as a run- and pass-blocker. He’s a phenomenal athlete.”
Been a pretty good weekend so far! 👀☘️🏈— Brian Polian (@BrianPolian) June 15, 2019