Former Notre Dame OL Matt Hegarty transfers to Oregon

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Matt Hegarty is headed west.

The former Notre Dame offensive lineman, who announced his intention to graduate and play his final season of eligibility elsewhere in March, is officially a member of the Oregon Ducks, according to Oregon’s Twitter account.

Hegarty — a 6-foot-5, 295-pound graduate student — played 34 career games at Notre Dame, splitting his time between center and guard. He started 10 games at center and one at guard in 2014.

The Aztec, N.M., native saw action in the first nine games of the 2012 season before suffering a minor stroke. He recovered and played in 12 games in 2013. But after having to miss significant time with that condition and also seeing the increasing depth in the offensive line unit, Hegarty chose to leave Notre Dame in search of more definite playing time.

"My focus has been to pour myself into everything that I have done at ND," Hegarty said in a statement to ESPN.com in March. "I have worked hard and have always done everything that was asked of me. Recently my coaches informed me that they wanted me to change positions (to guard). They also explained that with many younger players in the wings, they wanted to develop them more heavily in the rotation — a need that I understand and appreciate.

"Unfortunately, I have already had to miss a precious amount of football battling back from my stroke, and I value every rep and opportunity going into my final year of college ball that much more. My goal is to contribute this season, continue to develop my skills and pursue my dream of playing in the NFL.

"Because of this goal, I have asked for a transfer to play at another school where I can contribute more on the field. Notre Dame has amassed formidable depth on the O-line and have many very talented players to fill all positions."

Hegarty was one of the country's top offensive tackle prospects coming out of Aztec High School in 2010, ranked as one of the top 50 players in the country by Rivals, Sporting News and ESPNU.

The versatile lineman was reportedly also considering a transfer to Arizona and Florida State, where fellow Notre Dame graduate student transfer Everett Golson landed last week. Instead, he’ll play for another perennial title contender at Oregon, where he'll look to replace departed four-year starting center Hroniss Grasu.

Congrats @MHegs77! Welcome to the Oregon Family. #MenOfOregon#GoDuckspic.twitter.com/zvnmtywY8D

— OregonGridiron (@OregonGridiron) May 26, 2015//

Notre Dame's Steve Elmer (79) and Matt Hegarty (77) line up for a play during the 2014 season. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)
Notre Dame center Matt Hegarty (77) blocks BYU defensive lineman Bronson Kaufusi (90) as quarterback Tommy Rees, right, looks to throw during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Notre Dame. SBT Photo/JAMES BROSHER