Trieu: Notre Dame starters who picked Irish over Michigan
Michigan and Notre Dame renew acquaintances on Saturday for the first time since 2014, but they've had some battles on the recruiting trail in the meantime.
Allen Trieu of 247Sports takes a look at Notre Dame's starters who chose the Fighting Irish over the Wolverines, among others.
Khalid Kareem, DE, junior
A Farmington Hills Harrison grad, Michigan offered Kareem and hung with him through the first few changes in his recruitment. Kareem committed to Michigan State first, then de-committed and ultimately had it down to Michigan and Alabama. Although it seemed like it was trending Michigan’s way leading up to the decision, Kareem ultimately chose the Tide. Later in the fall, he de-committed and then settled in with Notre Dame where he has become a reliable starter for the Irish.
Chase Claypool, WR, junior
It took schools some time to find their way to Abbotsford, British Columbia, but once they saw the athleticism Claypool had in a 6-foot-4 body, they all came calling. Michigan was part of a rush of offers for him, but they were in before several other major programs, including the Irish. Once Notre Dame offered and got him to their Irish Invasion, they became a top choice. Michigan was in the final five and a Michigan hat was on the table when he announced his decision at The Opening, but he picked Notre Dame. Claypool had a mini-breakout year as a sophomore last season, catching 29 passes for 402 yards and two touchdowns.
Liam Eichenberg, OT, junior
Eichenberg camped in Ann Arbor the summer before his junior season and at one point, had the Wolverines in his top three along with Ohio State and Notre Dame. The Buckeyes offered him very early and were his home-state school, and it ultimately came down to them and the Irish as he visited those two schools back to back before making a commitment to Brian Kelly. He now takes over the starting left tackle job in South Bend for departed first-round pick Mike McGlinchey.
Robert Hainsey, OT, sophomore
Michigan was a longtime top choice for this Pennsylvania native who transferred down to IMG Academy. When it came time for him to make his decision, Michigan was in his final three along with Michigan State and Notre Dame, but the Irish ultimately won out. Hainsey enrolled early and played as a true freshman, but now fully takes over as right tackle.
Sam Mustipher, C, senior
The Wolverines were one of Mustipher’s visits before he shut down his recruitment. Although he spoke extremely highly of that visit and the Wolverines’ staff at that time, and high school teammate Blake Countess was on the roster, he ultimately chose the Irish and has been their starting center the last two falls.
Alex Bars, G, senior
Older brother Blake Bars was at Michigan when Alex was being recruited, but their father, Joe Bars, had played at Notre Dame and graduated from there, so younger brother ultimately followed in dad’s footsteps. Alex has started 25 games at Notre Dame and Blake is now in law school in South Bend as well.
Others of note
■ Defensive end Daelin Hayes began his high school career at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, went out west and came back to Ann Arbor Skyline. Through all of that, his recruitment with Michigan never seemed to take off even as programs around the county recruited him.
■ Safety Drue Tranquill, one of the Irish’s key defenders, camped at Michigan and performed well, but ultimately was not offered by the Wolverines.
■ Michigan offered linebacker Asmar Bilal and got him to campus for an unofficial visit before he ended up committing to the Irish.
Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.