Story Poster
Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Roster Review | Tight End

February 26, 2024
3,636

Notre Dame is very likely going to be in 11 personnel (one back, one tight end) this year more than they have been the last two seasons. That’s partly because of better options at receiver and partly because of Mike Denbrock wanting to spread defenses out a bit more to open up opportunities to for Notre Dame’s playmakers.

It’s not because of the talent at tight end. They return plenty of experience at the position and once again have a room filled with future NFL players.

Total snaps returning

Mitchell Evans injured his knee during the Pitt game, but before that had established himself as the clear TE1 for the Irish. He led the group with 425 snaps.

Eli Raridon did not play until week six against Louisville. They were cautious with his return after two ACL injuries in two years. He ended up playing 205 snaps and was able to take on a bigger role after Evans’ injury.

Cooper Flanagan played 160 snaps as a true freshman and over 132 of those were with him as a blocker.

Davis Sherwood played 119 snaps. 20 of those were as a fullback.

The only player who isn’t returning is Holden Staes (369). He elected to transfer at the end of the regular season.

Notable returning production

Evans was having a monster season before his injury. He was averaging more yards receiving per game than Cole Kmet in 2019 and Tyler Eifert in 2012. Despite only appearing in eight games, he finished second on the team in total targets (40) and his 5.9 yards after the catch per reception was better than any Notre Dame tight end in the last decade.

24 of his 29 receptions went for first downs. He also finished third in PFF’s receiving grades out of all Power 5 tight ends and was also third in yards per route run.

When he’s fully healthy, he could be the best tight end in college football this fall.

Raridon and Flanagan both showed exciting flashes as receivers with touchdowns against Wake Forest and Pitt respectively. Raridon caught five of seven targets and can do some damage after the catch.

Additions

Jack Larsen is on campus as an early enrollee and is probably more H-back than an in-line option right now. It’s probably unlikely he will play much as a true freshman with the players he has in front of him and Sherwood’s ability as a lead blocker.

Spring competition

Evans won’t be practicing this spring, so it’s a great opportunity for Raridon and Flanagan to battle it out in his absence. Flanagan probably has the edge as an in-line blocker and Raridon might have the edge as a receiver, but both are good enough to have much bigger roles in 2024.

The expectation should be that they will each take a significant step this spring.

It will be more about getting his feet wet for Larsen, but keep an eye out with him turning some heads in one on ones as a receiver.

Sherwood won’t likely be considered for an increased role in the offense, but we’ll see if Mike Denbrock finds some ways to incorporate him as a lead blocker out of the backfield.

One player who we won’t see compete in the spring is Kevin Bauman. He tore his ACL last August, his third straight season with a major injury that has kept him out for a significant amount of time. He is notably still on the roster, so the expectation should be for him to try and be back for fall camp.

Notre Dame has had players like Shaun Crawford and Drue Tranquill come back from multiple season-ending injuries in recent years. It’s possible Bauman could be the next one to do so. If he’s healthy, he can help the Irish in 2024.

Men's '47 Navy Notre Dame Fighting Irish Double Header Hitch Adjustable Hat

 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.