Updating Notre Dame's OL recruiting following Jimmy Christ's commitment to Virginia

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

Two of Notre Dame’s top offensive tackle targets for the 2020 recruiting class are now committed elsewhere.

Kevin Pyne, cousin of Irish quarterback commit Drew Pyne, verbally pledged to Boston College in February. Sterling (Va.) Dominion’s Jimmy Christ chose Virginia on Tuesday.

Those developments leave ND in a semi-precarious situation for 2020 offensive line recruiting. The interior offensive lineman options are plentiful for the Irish. But at offensive tackle? ND must return to the drawing board.

Though the obvious tackle targets are sparse, a look at the Irish roster suggests there’s no need to worry. The Irish tend to recruit versatile lineman that can play multiple positions. ND’s interior targets are not necessarily pigeonholed to their projections.

Reece Atteberry, Geirean Hatchett, Peter Skoronski and Zak Zinter are the guard/center targets that could land with the Irish. All four have visited South Bend. Atteberry included ND in his top five schools released on March 11. Hatchett named ND as a top five school in his April 10 list. Atteberry, Skoronski and Zinter will take June 21-23 official visits to Notre Dame.

Irish offensive line coach Jeff Quinn also signed a quartet of four-star recruits in the 2019 recruiting class, including tackles Andrew Kristofic and Quinn Carroll. And there’s a long way to go before the early signing period in December.

The Irish will now evaluate and offer more 2020 tackle prospects. In the meantime, ND’s remaining tackle targets with whom it has the best chance to sign are detailed below.

OL Tosh Baker, 6-7, 270; Phoenix Pinnacle: The offensive tackle most likely to land with Notre Dame ranks atop its offensive tackle recruiting board. That wasn’t the case just a few months ago.

As a 6-foot-7, 230-pound high school sophomore, Baker intermingled between his junior varsity and varsity squads. He also hoped to play basketball in college at that time. Baker’s first reported football offer came just in October, via UCLA. The Irish offered after his first visit in December.

Baker’s solid junior season ascended him to a four-star rating and prompted him to leave basketball behind. 247Sports ranks Baker as its No. 4 tackle and No. 41 overall player, while Rivals slates him No. 9 at the position and No. 51 overall.

“It’s been surreal,” Baker said. “I didn’t think it would happen like this.”

The Irish feel solid about their chances with Baker. Drew Pyne joined him for a March 30 visit during spring practices. That helped cement ND’s place among Baker’s top five schools. He expects to announce a commitment before football season.

OL Andrew Gentry, 6-8, 290; Littleton (Colo.) Columbine: Following his April 5-7 Notre Dame official visit, Gentry still considers the Irish as a top five school. However, the Irish regard Gentry as a 2022 recruit.

The four-star prospect intends to take a Mormon Mission. Notre Dame wants Gentry to start the two-year trip after finishing high school. He would begin the mission in June of 2020. Gentry would return to Notre Dame in 2022, enrolling as a 20-year-old freshman with all of his eligibility remaining.

Gentry seems firm on the mission. He shared his plans with the Irish well before they offered him in December.

“They have been really cool about it,” Gentry said. “They have been super understanding.”

BYU remains the team to beat. Gentry’s older brother, JT, plays on the Cougar offensive line. Alabama, Michigan and Virginia are also contending for Gentry. He expects to make a decision after making official visits in June.

247Sports ranks Gentry as its No. 10 tackle and No. 82 overall player, while Rivals slates him No. 7 at the position and No. 40 overall.

OL Jonah Monheim, 6-5, 285; Moorpark (Calif.) High: Monheim took an unofficial visit to Notre Dame that resulted in an offer from the Irish on April 5.

Moorpark head football coach Ryan Huisenga said Monheim considers ND a top five school. Monheim having family in Michigan helped draw him to the area.

“He really loved his visit,” Huisenga said. “I think he’s just trying to finalize a (Notre Dame) official visit and get out there within the next five weeks.”

Monheim plays left tackle for Moorpark. However, most schools envision him as an interior offensive lineman at the college level. The Irish project Monheim at guard. 247Sports evaluates Moneheim as a three-star guard, ranking him No. 42 at the position and No. 734 overall. Rivals considers Monheim as a four-star tackle.

“They love what he does at tackle and the tenacity in which he plays. His technique,” Huisenga said of college evaluators. “Every school is probably going to move him to the interior. Unless he gets to 6-6, 6-7, then they’ll kick him out for sure.”

Only one of ND’s offensive tackle targets — Tosh Baker — is both heavily interested in the Irish and could immediately contribute in 2020 and 2021.

ND, USC, Oklahoma, Washington and either Alabama or Michigan comprise Monheim’s top five schools, Huisenga said. Monheim trekked to Oklahoma on Friday for an official visit. He hopes to commit before football season.

Phoenix Pinnacle's Tosh Baker, a 2020 offensive lineman, took an unofficial visit to Notre Dame on March 30, 2019.