As we all know, the Notre Dame football program has done a great job over the last few years of getting commitments from some of the top players in the WPIAL.
Pitt’s goal is to obviously try and get the top local talent to stay home, but under any circumstances, it’s extremely difficult to go head-to-head in recruiting with a storied institution like Notre Dame.
As Pat Narduzzi stated yesterday in his press conference, “they walk into a high school, they get what they want.”
That’s pretty much been the case the last few years when Notre Dame coaches have targeted a WPIAL prospect.
WPIAL players that have committed to Notre Dame since 2017:
Kurt Hinish, 3-star DT, Central Catholic
David Adams, 3-star LB, Central Catholic
Josh Lugg, 4-star OT, North Allegheny
Phil Jurkovec, 4-star QB, Pine-Richland
Andrew Kristofic, 3-star OT, Pine-Richland
Robert Hainsey, 4-star OT, Gateway
Quarterback Phil Jurkovec – Gibsonia (Pa.) Pine Richland High School
— The All-American Bowl high school standout was one of the nation’s top quarterbacks when he signed with Notre Dame in the 2018 class. As it stands now, he is taking a redshirt as a true freshman in South Bend this fall. He saw action on the road during a dominant victory over Wake Forest, but didn’t complete either of his two pass attempts. He did run once for 7 yards. All that said, his future is extremely bright. Very few quarterbacks possess his size, ability to run, arm strength and poise at the position. The emergence of quarterback Ian Book as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback will allow Jurkovec to slowly develop and when his time comes, he’ll be more than ready to take the reigns as the QB1.
Defensive tackle Kurt Hinish – Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic High School
— A three-star recruit out of high school, Hinish arrived at Notre Dame in the 2017 and played much more than just about anyone expected as a true freshman. He participated in six games, totaled 8 tackles, and was impactful when he hit the field. He did a really nice job for Notre Dame down the stretch last year. Hinish has played in all six games this fall for the Fighting Irish and totaled 5 tackles. Look for him to make a big impact as a junior with the departure of defensive linemen Jerry Tillery, Jonathan Bonner, and potentially a few more.
Offensive tackle Robert Hainsey – Pittsburgh (Pa.) IMG Academy
— The western Pennsylvania native, who finished his high school career as an Under Armour All-American at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., inked with the Irish in the 2017 class. He is currently Notre Dame’s starting right tackle. He arrived early in South Bend and impressed enough to split time as the starting right tackle during his true freshman year and played in all 13 games last fall. He alternated with Tommy Kraemer last fall as the starter, but were listed as co-starters all season long. He has started all six of Notre Dame’s games this year at right tackle and should do exactly that, barring a move down the road as the starting left tackle, throughout the remainder of his career at Notre Dame.
Offensive guard Josh Lugg – Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny High School
— The All-American Bowl standout finished his prep career as a Top 150 prospect nationally in the 2017 class per the 247Sports Composite Rankings and stuck with his long-time pledge to the Fighting Irish despite a heavy push from the likes of Alabama, Michigan State, Penn State and many others down the stretch. Lugg is projected as a potential tackle down the road due to his length and quick feet, but due to the emergence of Robert Hainsey at right tackle and Liam Eichenberg at left tackle, Lugg continues to work mainly at guard. Lugg has played in all six games this fall and continues to work on the punt protection unit and on field goals.