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Notre Dame Football

Position Outlook | Tight End

January 29, 2021

Losing a talent like Cole Kmet at tight end would be cripping to some programs. At Notre Dame, they simply reload.

His production was replaced and the blocking by the tight ends as a whole was greatly improved under new position coach John McNulty. Brock Wright emerged as a consistent in-line presence and Tommy Tremble was unlocked as a Swiss Army knife blocker that ignited the running game. Throw in an immediate impact from freshman Michael Mayer and it added up to a great season from the tight end room.

Wright is now gone and Tremble elected to leave early for the NFL, but no one should worry about the position this season. Why would anyone think that way when they have a star ready for an even bigger role in 2021?

Most knew that Mayer would be too talented to leave off the field. No one could have predicted that he would be a first down machine and tie for the team lead in receptions.

32 of his 42 catches moved the sticks for Notre Dame. He was a go-to player on 3rd downs with a team leading 16 receptions and showed he could win contested catches as well as be a beast after the catch. He finished seventh in the nation in yards after the catch for the tight end position and he should only get better in that area of his game.

His blocking should improve as well, though, he performed far better than any freshman typically does with that part of his game. The only thing that someone could knock him for were his five dropped passes.

Mayer was essentially WR1 for Notre Dame. He may be that this season as well. It’s fair to expect him to contend for the John Mackey award as the top tight end in the nation in ‘21.

There is less experience behind him on the depth chart, but plenty of talent.

George Takacs only played 67 snaps. In that small sample size he’s shown he can be a capable blocker in-line and he’s a plus receiver. He’s ready for a bigger role and will get that opportunity this year.

He’ll be pushed by Kevin Bauman, who Brian Kelly specifically mentioned as someone standing out in camp last August. Bauman redshirted and didn’t come in with the same hype as Mayer. No one should take that as a knock against him. He’s going to be someone to keep an eye on this offseason.

It’s a good thing that Notre Dame decided to bring in two tight ends in the class because one of them may need to play this season now that Tremble is gone. The good news is that Cane Berrong and Mitchell Evans will both be on campus this semester as early enrollees.

Berrong is the more polished player with great ball skills. He’s more of a move tight end in the mold of a Tremble or Mayer. Evans is a monstrous young man who’s a surprising athlete for someone 6’7” and 240+. He played quarterback this past season for his high school program so it seems more likely he’ll be redshirting as he spends the year working full-time as a tight end.

Neither of them have the kind of undeniable talent that will see them force the issue and be the ‘21 version of Mayer, especially because Mayer is only going to get better and likely see more targets this fall.

Notre Dame won’t need them to be anything more than depth because even after losing two players who played a lot of snaps, the tight end position should still be very strong. Whether they play less 12 personnel (one back, two tight ends) may be something to monitor, but we know that there won’t be many plays where Mayer is off the field.

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