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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Return To Football Looks Like Right Call For 2026 TE Gavin Mueller

June 4, 2024

Gavin Mueller‍ may be just getting back into football, but the 2026 Illinois tight end didn’t look out of place during Sunday’s Irish Invasion at Notre Dame.

“I took two years off to focus on basketball,” the 6-foot-6, 240-pounder said afterward. “Just getting back into it, it's been good. My coach has been helping me through it all, my high school coach. I didn't play to my best ability.

“This upcoming season is my first one in high school. I played my whole life. Growing up, it was my favorite sport, but I kind of thought basketball was my calling. I kind of got back into the weight room and missed football. So that's why I'm here.”

He may not have played an organized game since middle school, but thanks to his coaches at St. Francis, Mueller already has plenty of college interest. 

“They'd introduce me to college coaches all of the time,” he said. “I just kind of thought I'd give it back a try and it's been going pretty well.”

Going well enough that he has eight scholarship offers already from schools like Minnesota, Purdue, Indiana and Cincinnati among others. He earned those offers based on a couple camp performances and workouts.

Mueller was excited for the opportunity to perform in South Bend.

”Obviously it's a great school and I'm super Catholic, so thought it'd be a great fit,” said Mueller. “They invited me out to this so I just took the opportunity to come.”

He was impressed with the staff during the camp.

“They're great coaches for sure,” he said. “You could tell they know what they're doing and they give you instructions if you're not doing something right and if you have a question, they're there for you.”

Mueller’s size, speed, athleticism and leaping ability certainly turned heads on Sunday.

“Notre Dame just told me they'll be watching me and they want to get me out there again soon,” he said.

He’d been to campus in the past for lacrosse games.

“I loved it,” said Mueller. “I loved the gold helmets. I didn't see too much of the campus, but I came early (Saturday) and I got a tour and it was beautiful.

“The chapel was amazing. As a Catholic, that's just something you love, so that was the biggest highlight for me.”

Mueller heads to Minnesota for a visit and camp on Wednesday and Thursday.

He doesn’t know exactly when, but said he’ll certainly be back in South Bend this year.

“I'm not 100 percent sure, definitely for a game in the fall, but other than that, I'm not sure.”

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