It didn't take Notre Dame's Joe Alt long after leaving Totino-Grace to make the transition from tight end to offensive lineman — establishing himself as one of the top players in college football.
The 6-8, 322-pound junior is arguably the top offensive tackle in the country and projected to be a top-10 pick in the 2024 NFL draft. Not bad for someone who didn't really play the position until his senior year in high school.
"Playing in high school, I was a leaner body," Alt told the Star Tribune. "Definitely surprised it happened so quickly, but I prepared well I think."
Alt enters this season with 21 consecutive starts, including all 13 games as a sophomore last season. He was named the No. 5 college player in the nation by Pro Football Focus.
Alt utilized much of the tools taught to him by his father, John, who coached him growing up and as an assistant at Totino-Grace. John also moved from tight end to tackle in college at Iowa. He developed into a first-round pick and two-time Pro Bowl player for the Kansas City Chiefs.
"Even though I was playing tight end, I was doing extra tackle work with him," the younger Alt said. "So, when I came here, I was already a step ahead of where I should've been."
Alt's brother, Mark, won a state title as a quarterback at Cretin-Derham Hall, but he ended up playing hockey for the Gophers and in the NHL.
Following in their father's footsteps to play college football has been "a lot of fun," Alt said.
"Just his wisdom has been so helpful for me," Alt said. "I couldn't be here without him."
Alt's coming off a breakout year where was named to the Associated Press All-America first team in his first season as a full-time starter.
After coming out of Totino-Grace in 2021 as a four-star recruit, Alt saw time on the field as a tight end and offensive lineman as a true freshman at Notre Dame. He finished the season, though, starting the last eight games at left tackle, including in the Fiesta Bowl win against Oklahoma State.
New Notre Dame offensive line coach Joe Rudolph, who recruited Alt at Wisconsin, called his best blocker an "amazing talent."
"Amazing athleticism, amazing size," Rudolph told reporters this year. "There are some guys that just have that quality of leadership and grit, and the way they're going to get it done in the moment. They're going to be a great leader and make guys around them better. You don't always find that all in one guy."
The NFL is likely around the corner, but Alt is focused on the Irish getting off to a strong start in Saturday's opener against Navy in Ireland.
Alt is believed to be one of only three Minnesota natives ever to be named captain in Notre Dame history, and the first since Litchfield's John Carlson, a former Vikings tight end, in 2007.
"It's a great honor to be chosen captain by your teammates," Alt said. "But I don't need to change what I've been doing. I've always prided myself on leading by example and putting in hard work."