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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Film Don't Lie | Holden Staes

May 8, 2021

Notre Dame isn’t moving away from the “Tight End U” designation any time soon. They just keep adding tight end talent year after year and just had their eighth tight end drafted who played for Brian Kelly.

Holden Staes‍ is the latest to join the club at the position for the Irish. The former Penn State commit is another 4-star prospect with the raw talent to play in the NFL down the road.

He joins Eli Raridon‍ in making this another strong two tight end haul for Notre Dame.

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 220

Projected Position: Tight End

ISD Grade: 91 (4-star)

National Average Grade: 91.1 (4-star)

What he does best:

It’s a critical skill for tight ends to win contested catches. They do so much work over the middle and have to deal with traffic often. Staes does a great job of coming down with the football in tight quarters and shielding defenders off with his body.


He’s a plus player after the catch. While no one would compare him to a Baby Gronk, he has good speed at his size and eats up ground with his stride. He can do some damage with space.


I wouldn’t classify him as anything close to a dominating blocker, but he can get out and lock up on the perimeter or on the second level. The want-to is what I like to see from a tight end more than anything because pancakes aren’t going to be a regular occurrence in college.


What he needs to improve:

Though he shows some flashes of short area quickness, he’s not a dynamic athlete. I don’t see above the rim catches or “make you miss” athleticism.

I’d like to see him become a lot sharper as a route runner and more consistently physical gaining separation. He’ll fight through contact, but he can win by initiating more often.

He does appear to have the frame to play in-line some, but how he’ll perform blocking from there early in his college career is in question. I’d like to see him lineup there a bit more rather than the slot and show some progress there as a senior.

What’s his ceiling?

I think Staes is a plus in a lot of categories. I’m not sure if he’s elite in any one.

That’s why his ceiling for me is that he can be a starter for Notre Dame, which translates to an NFL Draft pick, but not necessarily a Mackey Award contender. That could change if I see more dynamic ability from him as a senior.

I like him a lot as a prospect. I see a ton of potential for him to be a consistent target in the middle of the field once he physically develops at Notre Dame.

Who he could be:

Former Boston College tight end Hunter Long

Holden Staes Goes In-Depth on Notre Dame Commitment

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