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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Roster Review | Tight End

February 13, 2023
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For many programs, having two of their top tight ends have season-ending injuries and another tight end miss the first five games would be a devastating blow to the position.

Notre Dame is not one of those programs. They had the depth to handle that situation. They also had Michael Mayer and as long as he was around, they were going to be in good hands.

He won’t be around any longer as he’s off to the NFL after finishing as the most productive tight end in the history of Notre Dame football. They already had one game to adjust without him in the Gator Bowl. They ended up being just fine with Mitchell Evans taking over as the starter.

He’s the projected starter this upcoming season as well. Though he only had three catches, all in the bowl game, he has untapped potential in that area. The former high school quarterback has some ability after the catch and he could be in line for a monster junior year.

He was very good as an in-line blocker as well after missing the first five games recovering from a foot injury. Evans can play in all situations and it will be interesting to see how his deployment changes with a new coordinator and without Mayer on the roster.

If he had stayed healthy all season, there’d be a very good chance we’d be talking about Eli Raridon as the frontrunner for TE1 this fall. More of a big receiver in high school, he has good ball skills and can really move well at his size.

It was a surprise when his biggest contribution in the three games he played was as an in-line blocker. Some of those double teams with Joe Alt on the left side were highlight reel worthy.

His season ended with a torn ACL and while we’ve heard his recovery process is going well so far, they won’t want to rush him back on the field before he is ready. The hope should be that he is able to compete in camp and then jump right back into the mix from there.

If it takes longer, his talent suggests it will be worth the wait.

Holden Staes was the other freshman tight end who played in 2022 and while he flashed his receiving skills in camp and his one catch for a first down during the season, he’s a bit further behind the others as a blocker. It will be interesting to see how much he progresses this offseason as he should see a ton of reps during spring ball.

For the second season in a row, Kevin Bauman had an injury early in the year that prevented him from making much of an impact. He started the season as TE2 behind Mayer and it’s unfortunate that his injuries have not just forced him to miss games, but valuable practice time.

If he can stay healthy, he would be in the mix to start. That’s a big if, though, after two years where he missed significant time. He’s going to be starting from behind when he gets back on the field.

Davis Sherwood played 23 snaps against North Carolina last season in a fullback/H-back role. The rest of the games he played a handful of snaps per game in the same role. It’s fair to expect the same kind of thing from him in ‘23. In games where the Irish are relying heavily on the run, Sherwood will play more often.

True freshman Cooper Flanagan arrives in June and he’ll have to jump the line quite a bit to get into the mix to play this fall. In saying that, the Irish have two tight ends who have had significant leg injuries in back to back years (Raridon and Bauman) and there’s always the possibility he could play in an offense that should still see plenty of multiple tight end looks.

The returning receiving production at the position is insignificant. The talent is not. Tight end should once again be one of the strongest position groups on the team.

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