Notre Dame and Michigan won’t face each other for another two years, but the Irish scored a win over the Wolverines on Sunday. Notre Dame picked up another big time commitment for the class of 2017 on Sunday when 4-star, top 100 offensive lineman Robert Hainsey selected the Irish over Michigan and Michigan State.
Prior to cutting down his options to the Irish, Wolverines, and Spartans; Hainsey picked up offers from Miami, North Carolina, Ohio State, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, and Tennessee among others.
Hainsey has been taking part of this year’s The Opening where he has been more than holding his against the nation’s elite defenders. He’s been practicing at tackle and center at the camp but projects to an offensive guard on the college level. Pass protection was not a strength for Hainsey last year, but according to reports out of The Opening, he has been showing off some improved pass protection skills.
Hainsey was impressive last month at the third annual Irish Invasion on Notre Dame campus. It was his third trip to Notre Dame, but was the first time his mother saw the campus. Winning her over was crucial in Notre Dame winning a recruiting battle with Jim Harbaugh and Michigan for Hainsey’s services.
Last month Hainsey had this to say about Notre Dame to 247 Sports’s Tom Loy:
“Notre Dame just has a different feel to it. It feels really at home. I’m really comfortable there, especially with the coaches. Coach Hiestand is a great coach. He produces amazing talent every year and I think that would be really beneficial to me. I think Notre Dame can do a lot for me after football, after my career is over, whether it’s in the NFL or after college. No matter what, I think I’m going to have a good chance to get a great job and be very prepared for life.”
Hainsey is originally from the Pittsburgh area but played last year for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida where he was teammates with freshmen Spencer Perry and Tony Jones Jr.
With the commitment of Hainsey, Notre Dame has three offensive linemen in its class of 2017. Hainsey is joining 3-star Dillan Gibbons and 4-star Joshua Lugg. Notre Dame is now up to 15 commitments overall – 9 of which are rated 4-stars – in the class of 2017 after adding Hainsey Sunday and explosive running back CJ Holmes on Thursday.
Holmes’s commitment on Thursday moved Notre Dame up to 8th in the 247 Sports Team Rankings and Hainsey’s commitment is likely to push the Irish even closer to the top 5.
We’ve written often about the success of both Harry Hiestand and Autry Denson on the recruiting trail and this is yet another example of the two of them working their magic. Denson has done a fantastic job in the state of Florida since arriving on the staff last year and Hiestand is a major reason Notre Dame has become a pipeline for elite offensive linemen once again.