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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer Gained Trust Quickly from Peers

December 31, 2020

Notre Dame has had a long line of outstanding tight ends and freshman Michael Mayer has a chance at being the best. 

The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder has taken South Bend by fire as he became a reliable option for veteran quarterback Ian Book almost immediately. 

"He's somebody I trusted from day one," stated Book. "He was somebody that was begging me to go out and run routes. That's what you want as a quarterback. So excited for him. Excited for his future. 

"Obviously third down has been big, but every down Mike can really win. Those 50/50 matchups, I'm really confident that Mike can go up and get the job done." 

Mayer came to Notre Dame with a plan in June and it's paid off. The Kentucky native has recorded 35 catches for 388 yards and two touchdowns. 

"In terms of my production, the offensive staff has done a great job putting plays together that make me successful," explained Mayer. "I think Ian has done a very good job of getting me the ball. The O line has done a very good job of blocking.

"I think in terms of my success is just a mindset coming in, when third down comes, 'Alright, this is my time, is the ball going to come to me?' Run the right route. How many steps am I going to take, that type of thing and overall it's a team effort and everyone, including Ian the O line and everyone else, has done a very good job." 

The most popular route for Book and Mayer has been the drag route. It's simple, but there is a lot more that goes into it than just running across the field. 

"I feel like in high school, I never really ran that route that much," Mayer said. "It kind of came to me when I got here. But I feel like the most important thing with that route is knowing if it's man or zone. If it's man, you're going to have someone trailing you; if it's zone, you're going to have someone sitting there waiting to give you a big hit. It's a matter of catching the ball first, turning your head and seeing where the person is.

"It kind of came natural to me to run after the catch with that route because I started running that route in the summer, but I've become very confident with it here and it's been pretty successful." 

It helps Mayer arrived physically ready for college football, but he credits tight ends coach John McNulty for expediting his development on and off the field. 

"As a freshman, you have a lot of things to learn, a big playbook, things like that," Mayer stated. "I think in terms of someone taking me under his wing, Coach McNulty has done a very good job of teaching me many things of the game of football. 

"He has been around the game of football a very long time. He's helped me with the playbook. He's helped me with just more of a 'knowing football' type thing. He's definitely helped me. He's believed in me since day one and that's very important." 

Mayer will now face the best defense he's seen all year in Friday's Rose Bowl. Alabama will test him physically and mentally, but he's ready for the challenge. 

"They're obviously a very well-rounded defense. They have quick linebackers. They have a quick secondary. And they're very aggressive and they get a lot of takeaways.

"I think it's just going to be about running the right routes, Ian trusting us and also protecting the ball. We can't give away any fumbles in a big game like this."

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