Joe Alt cherishes Notre Dame career, hopes to put ‘best foot forward’ with Los Angeles after No. 5 overall NFL Draft selection

Joe Alt became Notre Dame’s first top-five draft pick since quarterback Rick Mirer in 1993.

Alt will join the Los Angeles Chargers after turning in back-to-back First Team All-American seasons with the Fighting Irish. He and Notre Dame’s offense posted an average of 39.1 points per game last year, good for second-best in program history.

Taken as the first offensive lineman at No. 5 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, Alt cherished his three seasons at Notre Dame under head coaches Brian Kelly, who later took the job at LSU in 2022, and Marcus Freeman.

“Extremely grateful for that opportunity to be in that position,” Alt said. “There’s a lot of great people at Notre Dame who have allowed me to come this far. I was able to have two great head coaches, three great offensive line coaches and two great offensive coordinators who I think allowed me to excel, taught me a lot and allowed me to kind of go put my best foot forward. So at the end of the day, I’m extremely grateful for those coaches and people who allowed me to grow at Notre Dame and be able to have this opportunity become reality.”

READ: Former Penn State SAF King Mack transfers to Alabama

READ: Conference USA expanding to add Missouri State in 2025

It didn’t always begin along the offensive line for Alt. He played quarterback growing up and during his junior year at Totino-Grace High School in Minnesota he moved to tight end. The 6-foot-8, 322-pound tackle even appeared at tight end and offensive line his freshman year at Notre Dame in 2021, playing in all 13 games.

Alt anchored the left side of the line at tackle for the Fighting Irish, even starting a span of 21-straight games across the 2021-22 seasons.

Alt might get a shot at right tackle with the Chargers in the NFL, and he said the biggest thing for him is “just getting comfortable.” He’s confident in his ability to progress at the position.

“Being able to set both on my left and right hand stance, being just as comfortable as I was at the left at the right hand side,” Alt said. “Did a lot of drills: pass pro, run blocking. Just to make sure I was comfortable there, and I thought we put a lot of good work in from then.”

READ: Former Colorado, Houston RB Alton McCaskill IV transfers to Arizona State

Alt will also be part of former Michigan head coach and new Chargers skipper Jim Harbaugh’s first year back in the NFL in 10 years, and he said he met the former head coach of college football’s defending national champion for the first time during the pre-draft process. 

Alt said he trained with Alex Boone in Minnesota preparing for the scouting combine where he recorded a 5.05 time in the 40-yard dash and 7.31 clock in the 3-cone drill, which was third-best among offensive linemen.

Having earned a role as one of Notre Dame’s team captains in 2023, Alt understands the expectations from being a team leader.

“You got a job to do and you have to hold up your bargain,” Alt said. “One of the five, one of the 11. And you know if you don’t do your job it’s going to hurt the offensive line, hurt the entire offense, so I think that’s why I love it. And, yeah, that’s kind of why I fell in love with the position and just really the camaraderie of the group in the offensive line group. I think it’s a special group.”

READ: Former Mississippi State, Vanderbilt QB Mike Wright transfers to Northwestern

The Alt family has a history of success on the playing field at the highest levels. Alt’s father John Alt earned two Pro Bowl selections after also being picked in the first round by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1984, and brother Mark Alt played in five seasons in the NHL.

Joe Alt described his mindset as one that allows him to “dominate.” He said he takes the field “refusing to lose and taking it one play at a time” capitalizing on “trying to do your best each and every play,” and in the NFL, that’s what he plans to do.

“Being wanted is one of the best feelings in the world,” Joe Alt said. “Being at a position that the coaches and people feel matters, it just makes you want to do it that much more and want to do it for them because they care so much about it. So now it’s my job to go get back to work and go home my best foot forward and do the best I can for whatever this team asks of me.”