Notre Dame adds commitment from OL John Dirksen

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

On a weekend that included visitors from Harry Hiestand’s past, the Notre Dame offensive line coach added a key cog for the future.

Offensive line recruit John Dirksen gave his verbal commitment to the Irish on Saturday night, a source at Notre Dame confirmed to the Tribune. Allen Trieu of Scout first reported the news.

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound lineman from Maria Stein (Ohio) Marion attended Notre Dame’s practice on Saturday. For much of the practice, he stood alongside 2018 Irish offensive line commit Cole Mabry. Now both plan to be teammates.

Also present at practice was former Irish linemen Zack and Nick Martin. The brothers, now playing in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texas, respectively, helped Hiestand run drills with the current offensive linemen. It was a conveniently-timed appearance for the Martins with Dirksen, Mabry and other top offensive line recruits on a campus.

Dirksen, a three-star recruit, gives Notre Dame 12 verbal commitments in the 2018 class and its first since Feb. 22. Dirksen and Mabry comprise Hiestand’s commitments on the offensive line.

247Sports slates Dirksen as the No. 35 offensive tackle in the 2018 class. Rivals does not rank him among the top 50 at the position. However, Dirksen likely won’t have a low profile for long.

“He’s shooting up real fast as one of the best offensive linemen in the Midwest,” CBS Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said earlier in the week.

Michigan State, Kentucky, Northwestern, Boston College and Iowa State appeared on Dirksen’s relatively short list of offers, according to Scout.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly sent an unofficial confirmation of Dirksen’s commitment on Saturday night when he tweeted, “#WeAreND.” Kelly typically sends out an identical tweet after each new verbal commitment, though the coaching staff is prohibited by NCAA rules from publicly commenting on a recruit until he signs with the school.

Dirksen, who did not respond to an interview request Saturday night, may have not even seen the celebratory tweet. His Twitter account, which includes just one public tweet, appears inactive. It’s something the new Irish commitment shares with his future coach. Hiestand has zero tweets on his Twitter account.

The addition of Dirksen keeps Notre Dame well ahead of its typical recruiting pace. The 2017 recruiting class didn’t reach 12 commitments until last June.

Both Rivals and 247Sports rank Notre Dame’s 2018 class — one of only four in the country with at least 10 commitments — third nationally behind Penn State and Miami.

#WeAreND

— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) March 26, 2017

Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand added a verbal commitment from three-star offensive lineman John Dirksen on Saturday, March 25, 2017. (Tribune Photo/GREG SWIERCZ)