Four-star OL Robert Hainsey announces Notre Dame pledge

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Robert Hainsey saw no reason to wait any longer.

After visiting Notre Dame for the Irish Invasion, he knew his future was in South Bend. Not long after that, he told the Notre Dame coaching staff.

On Sunday night, he told the world. Hainsey, a four-star offensive line recruit, announced his commitment on the ESPNU broadcast of The Opening Finals at Nike World Headquarters.

“It's the place where I can be most successful no matter what,” Hainsey told reporters Sunday. “Without football, I'll be happy there. It's a school that would be very hard for me to get into even with my grades. That's something you really shouldn't pass up if you can because the degree is outstanding.”

“Other than that, if you want to talk football, (offensive line) coach (Harry) Hiestand's a great coach. I know I'm going to learn a lot and get better."

The 6-foot-5, 276-pound Hainsey chose Notre Dame over Michigan and Michigan State and also reported offers from Miami, Auburn, Penn State and LSU, among others.

Hainsey, who plays at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., but hails from Monroeville, Pa., needed two visits to Notre Dame to make his decision. On his first trip to South Bend in March, he received a scholarship offer. On his second trip in June for the Irish Invasion, Notre Dame pulled ahead of the competition.

“It was a dead tie, honestly. Before my second visit, I had no idea where I was going to go,” Hainsey said. “After I came out, I was like, 'Yeah, I think I found my spot.'"

That caused Hainsey to change his commitment plans. He originally hoped to wait until the Under Armour All-America Game in January, but he decided that wasn’t realistic.

“Once I made my mind up, I was like, 'There's no way I'm going to be able hold out that long,’” Hainsey said. “So luckily this was coming up. This was another good stage. I could still do it on ESPN, so it all worked out."

Hainsey became the second recruit to announce his commitment to the Irish in three days at The Opening Finals. On Friday, running back CJ Holmes did the same. With the two, Notre Dame’s 2017 class has grown to 15 commitments. Hainsey joins Josh Lugg and Dillan Gibbons on the offensive line.

247Sports slates Hainsey as the No. 6 offensive guard in the 2017 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 11 offensive tackle. His future at Notre Dame will likely come on the interior of the line with Lugg at tackle and Gibbons at guard. Hainsey even took some work at center during the week.

Now he’s hoping to help add a couple more offensive linemen he worked with in Oregon to Notre Dame’s class — Foster Sarell and Trey Smith.

Like almost every offensive line recruit to commit to Hiestand at Notre Dame, Hainsey raved about what the Irish coach could do for his game. Hainsey has made sure to study up on his résumé.

“He's sent me packets of articles of stuff about him and what he's done so I can see. He really just wants to show me, ‘I'm not lying to you. I told you I did this. This is what I've done.’ So you can just see that,” Hainsey said.  “He's coached in the NFL. He's been an offensive coordinator. He's done all that. Right now he says he just wants to be an offensive line coach. That's what I like.”

Hainsey ended his time at The Opening Finals with a commitment, but he took away much more than that. He improved as a player by taking on some of the best defensive line recruits in the country and learning even more.

"The coaches were amazing,” Hainsey said. “I really picked up a lot of simple things that can really improve my game. Watching film, I've watched it change my game out there. That's what I'm really most happy about this week. I performed really well. I'm happy that I was able to take home some of these tips and tricks because it's really going to help my game in the fall."

Below are highlights of Hainsey's junior season via Hudl.


— Robert Hainsey (@RH56__) July 11, 2016

Welcome to the fam

— Brock Wright (@brockjwright40) July 11, 2016


— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) July 11, 2016

What a great weekend for the Irish!!


— Mike Elston (@CoachMikeElston) July 11, 2016

Welcome to the family! #IRISHEL17E

— Aaryn Kearney (@aarynkearney) July 11, 2016

This class getting a little scary #IRISHEL17E

— ad (@realaverydavis) July 11, 2016 | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Will offensive lineman Robert Hainsey (right) choose Notre Dame? The four-star recruit will announce his decision at The Opening Finals on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Student Sports)