In a somewhat surprising announcement, Notre Dame senior captain Mike McGlinchey told reporters on Wednesday that he intends on returning for a 5th year in 2017. The starting left tackle for the Irish is currently projected to be a 1st round pick by most NFL Draft prognosticators.
Just five games into 2016 no one expected McGlinchey to address his future already, but he took it upon himself to do so on Wednesday.
Mike McGlinchey, #NotreDame OT, says he has every intention of returning in 2017. Won't be about draft projections, but when feels NFL ready
— Irish Illustrated (@timprister) October 5, 2016
No one saw that coming at this time. Before anyone gets too excited though, remember that Will Fuller said he was coming back for his senior year last December before changing course a few weeks later and declaring for the NFL Draft.
Brian Kelly has had tremendous success in getting players to return for additional years in the past prior to last off-season when Will Fuller, Keivarae Russell, CJ Prosise, Ronnie Stanley, and Jaylon Smith all left with a year of eligibility. Stanely as a top 10 pick was a no-brainer though and Smith’s injury likely pushed him towards declaring. Fuller ended up being a 1st round pick and is tearing up the NFL already.
Should McGlinchey stick with his plan to return, Notre Dame could potentially return its entire offensive line 2017. Some draft experts have junior Quenton Nelson pegged as a potential first round pick too so Kelly and Harry Hiestand could still have some work to do. In addition to McGlinchey and Nelson, Nyles Morgan could play himself into draft consideration but that might be a stretch with just one season of starting experience by season’s end.
All eyes will now turn to Deshone Kizer who artfully dodged questions about the NFL Draft on Wednesday like they were opposing defensive ends collapsing the pocket. Kizer wouldn’t say one way or another what he was thinking and only said that his sole focus has been on the Notre Dame offense. Some NFL Draft experts have pegged Kizer a top 10 pick and potentially the first overall selection should he leave.