ND Football: 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl

The time has come once again for the best of the best to head to Mobile Alabama for a week of working out in front of the NFL Scouts. This year Notre Dame send another seven representatives to the 72nd annual Reese’s Senior Bowl. The Fightin’ Irish that accepted invitations are Daelin Hayes, Ian Book, Aaron Banks, Robert Hainsey, Ade Ogundeji and Liam Eichenberg. Liam Eichenberg opted out of the invite afterwards. Remarkably enough all the Fightin’ Irish will represent the National Team. That will be one set of awesome offensive linemen in front of Book. Notre Dame has the highest amount of invites to the Senior Bowl as well as the most with six participants. The Fightin’ Irish players will play on the National Team under Brian Flores Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins.

Ian Book 1/27/21 Practice SeniorBowl \\ Photo by Jeff Hanson

Ian Book

What a career for Ian Book. Book would trade all the awards and accolades in for a National Championship. He was one of the best interviewees in my short time of covering Notre Dame football. He is a natural leader despite all the criticism he took as the QB1 at Notre Dame. Book is a two time Team Captain and also a Pop Warner National College Football Award Winner. He had many other acknowledgements and recognitions during his Senior and Grad Student tenure.

To finish his career at Notre Dame, Book finished with the best record with a (30-5) at quarterback. Book finished tied for third all-time among all Irish quarterbacks with 17 rushing touchdowns, joining Rick
Mirer. Book finished second in passing yards with 8,948, passing touchdowns 72, total offense yards 10,466, total touchdowns 89, behind Brady Quinn. Book played in forty seven games, Passing Stats: 728 completions, 1,141 attempts, 20 INT’s, 8,948 Yards, 72 TD’s, 63.8 Passing %, AVG/G 190.38 QB Rating 147.00.

Ian Book was the leader of this team. When you would speak with him, it was talking to Coach Kelly. He knew what it took to get the job done. He held his teammates accountable for their actions, but he held himself to an even higher standard. Book will be missed from the ND line-up in 2021. And who knows maybe there is one more “Book-Keeper” tweet to be made in the game on Saturday.

Aaron Banks 73

What a career for Aaron Banks. He finishes his career as a consensus All-American. Associated Press All-America First Team, ESPN All-America Team, Sporting News All-America Second Team. He also made the All-ACC First Team, Associated Press First Team All-ACC.

Banks played in 38 games for the Fightin’ Irish. He made his first start against Navy in 2018. His junior he only allowed two sacks in 844 snaps. His leadership on the offensive line helped the Irish develop a methodical and time of possession oriented team. With his leadership along with his battery mate’s Eichenberg and Hainsey the Irish were ranked eighth in the FBS in time of possession.

Robert Hainsey 72

Robert Hainsey was one of the most stand-up guys on the team. Along with Book, Hainsey was a two time Team Captain of the Irish as well. Hainsey played in 46 games for the Fightin’ Irish. His Junior season was cut short by a season ending injury versus Virginia Tech. He did not allow a sack in 423 snaps, (252 pass plays) on allowing 2 QB hits and six QB hurries.

In his Senior year, along with his battery mate’s Banks and Eichenberg, rank eighth in the FBS in time of possession, controlling the ball for 33:57 minutes of game time. Behind its powerful offensive line, Notre Dame won the time of possession battle in 10-of-11 games this season. The 33:57 time of possession average leads the ACC by more than two minutes per game.

Liam Eichenberg

Liam Eichenberg is the epitome of an offensive linesman. He finishes his career as a consensus All-American. Eichenberg was named to The Athletic All-America First Team and CBS Sports All-America Team. Most noted in his Grad Student season for playing with an eye that was swollen shut after taking a finger to the eyeball. During his tenure at Notre Dame, Eichenberg played in 43 games for the Fightin’ Irish. In his Senior year, he did not concede a sack on the year, allowing just three QB hits and nine hurries, while playing 845 snaps (496 pass plays), his Junior year he allowed just three sacks on the year while playing 939 snaps. Liam and his offensive line teammates with be dearly missed with their leadership and their “you’re not getting to our QB” attitude.

Ben Skowronek 81

What can you say about Big Ben Skowronek. Skowronek joins the Irish in a pandemic season and got his chance to be part of a crazy Team 132 season, After transferring from Northwestern University, he came in and filled a void left by Chase Claypool. Ben headed out west to California to start his workouts with Book. During that time the two formed a bond that carried into the regular season. Skowronek became Book’s go to receiver. Big Ben played in 11 game for the Fightin’ Irish. Skowronek racked up 6 TD’s (5 receiving and 1 rushing), and 439 receiving yards. Skowronek had to withdraw from the Senior Bowl after an injury occurred earlier in the week.

Ade Ogundeji 91

Adetokunbo Ogundeji, I am going to missing trying to type and pronounce his name in my articles. Ade was not just the vocal leader of the defense, he was a Team Captain as well. During his tenure at Notre Dame, Ogundeji racked up 43 games played, 44 unassisted tackles, 36 assisted tackles, for a total of 80 tackles. He also had 17 tackles for loss, 6 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. Ade leaves a defense that has been turned around. That is the goal of any player. Leave a program that is much improved from the time you came in.

Daelin Hayes 9

Daelin Hayes! Enough said right there. Another Team Captain on the field and off. If you were on offensive player you did not want to come up against him. When you got hit by him, you would now it was Daelin Hayes. Daelin was also the Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award Winner. Hayes played in 53 games for the Fightin’ Irish. He finished with 54 unassisted tackles, 41 assisted, for a total of 95 tackles. He also had 20.5 tackles for loss, 1 INT, 3 forced fumbles, and 5 fumble recoveries. Daelin is going to be a force to be reckoned with on Sunday’s in the NFL.

The Wrap Up

The 72nd Annual Reese’s Senior Bowl will air live on the NFL Network at 2:30 p.m. ET today January 30th. This has been a fun class to cover. They went through some very rough times early on, but with hard word and dedication the team has brought honor back to Notre Dame Football.

Cheers and Go Irish!☘🏈🌩

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