2021 Offensive Tackle Joe Alt Details Why He Picked Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football Over Iowa, Minnesota
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Joe Alt Details Why He Picked Notre Dame Over Iowa, Minnesota

Fridley (Minn.) Totino-Grace offensive tackle Joe Alt had no intentions of dragging out his recruitment into his senior year of high school, and he ended matters with a commitment to Notre Dame July 6.

“It’s been awesome,” Alt said about the committed life. “I’m really excited about it. I feel very comfortable. I definitely think it was the right decision.”

On paper, a Rivals three-star commitment from a player that has never played offensive line at the high school level and only held eight scholarship offers probably won’t fire up Notre Dame fans. However, with context added, it’s a different story.

Alt grew up playing quarterback, but was always one of the bigger players on the field. He played that position through his freshman year of high school and then moved to inside linebacker as a sophomore at 6-3, 200 pounds.

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The following year, Alt grew to 6-6, 230 pounds and played tight end. He caught 17 passes for 143 yards last fall, but was virtually a sixth offensive lineman. He did a lot more blocking than he did route running, and he wasn’t just double-teaming defenders or getting backside linebackers. Alt had primary assignments as both a run and pass blocker.

Currently, Alt checks in at 6-7, 260 pounds, which has been quite the transformation over the past couple of years. Not only has he grown seven inches, but he has also gained 60 pounds. Alt’s next goal is to get to 280 going into next spring.

“I definitely think I’m putting on the right kind of weight,” he said. “It’s been fun but a grind.”

Alt played his entire junior season without a single scholarship offer. He participated in plenty of camps last summer and received some game-day invites from college throughout the fall. Minnesota became his first offer on Nov. 9, 2019.

“That’s when I realized that it could be a big thing for me,” said Alt, who was shocked to receive the Notre Dame offer. “I had no idea. I was new to it; I had never been recruited like that before.

“I was just going for a normal game-day visit, and I got the offer before the game. I had no idea it was going to happen. It was definitely a surprise.”

Alt’s father, John, played offensive tackle for Iowa before a career with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1984-96 during which he was a two-time Pro Bowl selection. He was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 2002.

The elder Alt also played tight end — standing at 6-7, 264 pounds — through his sophomore year of college. He eventually moved to offensive tackle, and the rest is history.

Once schools realized the potential Alt had moving to tackle at the next level, he started racking up offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Minnesota, Missouri, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Rutgers.

The Fighting Irish offered Alt May 22, and shortly thereafter became the team to beat.

“It was super exciting to receive the offer,” Alt said. “The communication with them heated up earlier in the spring. It’s a very prestigious school both academically and football related. I was thrilled.”

Alt turned down being a legacy recruit at Iowa and playing for local option Minnesota in favor of Notre Dame, a program that he knew much less about and has not met the coaching staff of in person.

“It was definitely a tough decision,” Alt explained. “Every school had a great thing about it. What I found with Notre Dame was the ability to pave my own path. It’s different than any other college I’ve visited or talked with.

“No other school has a faith aspect like they do, and that was a main reason why I really liked Notre Dame. Academics are really important to me as well. It beat out the other schools in those aspects and in football as well.”

Alt had never taken a “visit” to Notre Dame and couldn’t do so this spring or summer because of the dead period enacted by the NCAA due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, recruits can take their own self-guided tour of the university as long as they don’t see the coaches in person, and Alt checked out Notre Dame in June.

“I was seriously considering Notre Dame, so I had to go see it,” he said. “I went on a Thursday and Friday, walked around and looked at everything. I couldn’t get into any buildings, but it just had a great feel for me. I really liked the campus. It felt right.”

The combination of Notre Dame offensive line coach Jeff Quinn, offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, recruiting coordinator Brian Polian and head coach Brian Kelly played a key role in Alt’s decision to pick the Irish.

“It was super important,” Alt stated. “I had very little knowledge of Notre Dame when I got the offer. They sat down in front of me [on video chat calls], telling me everything about themselves. I felt that I really connected with that coaching staff better than any staff that I talked to.

“Their values are the same as mine.”

Alt became Notre Dame’s third offensive line pledge of the class, joining Avon (Ind.) High’s Blake Fisher and Chicago Marist’s Pat Coogan.

“I think I get along with them very well,” Alt said of the other Irish commits. “I was talking with Blake and Pat way before I committed, and have been chatting with them. I think we have a great base of friendships and will grow them in the next four to five years.”

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