Illinois tight end Cole Kmet became the fourth commitment in the 2017 class when he pledged to the Irish today. Kmet is listed at 6'5" and 230 pounds; the 247 Composite has him as the #243 overall player, #6 tight end, and #3 player in Illinois. Kmet joins Brock Wright as the second and likely last tight end in the 2017 cycle for the Irish. Obviously 2017 signing day is a long way off, but the prospect of landing Wright and Kmet in 2017 is exactly why the Irish staff chose not to seriously pursue an elite tight end in this class after Cary Angeline committed to USC.
Recruiting Service Rankings
Rivals - 3 star (5.6 rating), NR overall, #10 position, #5 in Illinois
247 - 4 star (91 rating), #214 overall, #4 position, #5 in Illinois
ESPN - 4 star (80 rating), #202 overall, #3 position, #3 in Illinois
Scout - 4 star, #171 overall, #3 position, #3 in Illinois
247 Composite - 4 star (0.9054 rating), #243 overall, #6 position, #3 in Illinois
In addition to Notre Dame, Kmet holds offers from Baylor, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Vandy, among others. That's a pretty solid offer list for a 2016 kid, never mind 2017.
Not hard to see why Kelly, Meyer, Harbaugh, Dantonio, Briles et al. all wanted this kid. He's a tough kid who moves well, has good body control, and soft hands. He looks equally comfortable - and effective - whether split out wide to the field side or attached as a run blocker. In fact, there were several times where he destroyed his man for no tactical reason. He just likes to hit people.
The only two things I would highlight for areas of improvement are that he occasionally is very upright when he blocks, especially when he starts detached, and that his route running is far from precise. Those are both very coachable problems, though, and in the case of his routes his mideason junior film looks like he's been working om exactly that as his routes are sharper.
Junior Year - Midseason:
With Luatua, Smythe, Weishar, and Jones on campus already and elite 2017 TE Brock Wright committed, 2017 playing time will be hard to come by. In a perfect world, Kmet will get the opportunity to fit in somewhere, but since we don't actually live in the best of all possible worlds
Long Term / Career
Kmet definitely shows potential as a two-way tight end, which is a great ticket to redshirting. Most likely he'll end up as a key contributour early in the process.
Welcome to the family, Cole!