A day after an Arkansas barbecue joint announced a burgeoning partnership with the offensive linemen at the University of Arkansas, Notre Dame's offensive linemen revealed on Twitter that the entire group – all 17 of them – likewise had partnered with a growing, semi-national food joint that recently opened a location 3.5 miles from Notre Dame Stadium.
The Fighting Irish's offensive linemen, including returning starters Josh Lugg and Jarrett Patterson, Tweeted Wednesday about the group's partnership with Mission BBQ, a Maryland-based chain that is military- and service-themed that opened its first location on 9-11-2011.
Welcome to the first full week of the new era of college athletics, the sweeping new Name, Image and Likeness phenomenon now legal per NCAA purview and open for business in states that either have passed specific legislation or have opted to allow schools to set policy.
“The OFFICIAL BBQ of the Offensive Line,” Irish right tackle Josh Lugg, a veteran of nearly 20 career games, posted.
Added Notre Dame assistant offensive line coach Trevor Mendelson, a young, up-and-coming coach hired away from Richmond by the Irish earlier this spring, “IF 1 of us eats, WE all eat – The strength of the unit is always greater than any individual. #NIL.”
Mission BBQ just opened its location near the Notre Dame campus earlier this spring, technically in the community's sister city of Mishawaka, Indiana, though less than four miles from Notre Dame Stadium's Frank Leahy Gate to Mission's front doors.
The chain has grown regionally from its Maryland roots and, per online data, has 99 locations spread across more than a dozen states.
Wright's Barbecue, based in Johnson, Arkansas, and also with a location in Bentonville, has partnered not only with the Razorbacks' offensive linemen but also some additional team members.
It's unclear whether the saucy new deals come with cold, hard cash in addition to the barbecue barter.