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Notre Dame Football: Irish Eyes On The Future At Tight End In 2019

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Will Tight End U continue?

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Wake Forest
Brock Wright
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2018 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football season behind us, we can start to look towards the future. Next up in the grand scheme of things is spring football. This series will provide a quick look at all the position groups for Notre Dame football as we enter winter workouts, and spring practice.

TIGHT ENDS

For a school that has earned the moniker “Tight End U,” Notre Dame has seen a steady decline in production form the position. The talent is still there, but there has been a a stronger focus elsewhere within the offensive system.

As a group, the tight ends accounted for about 540 yards and 6 TD’s. It’s an effort that matches what Eric Kumah of Virginia Tech did by himself.

NCAA Football: Navy vs Notre Dame
Cole Kmet
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, the tight end is much more than a receiver, and in Notre Dame’s system, their run blocking is equally important — as is shifting the tight end into an h-back or fullback as well.

Very few times in 2018 did the tight end group feel like an offensive weapon, and that’s a real shame.

DEPARTURES FROM 2018

Notre Dame loses a lot at tight end as it goes into 2019. Alize Mack is an extremely talented athlete, and after a slow start at Notre Dame, another year could have put him in the same tier (for a season) as a John Carlson, Kyle Rudolph, and Tyler Eifert. There was a connection growing between Mack and Ian Book, and it had all the ingredients there to make a delicious cake. As it is, Mack’s had his fill of the college life and will enter the NFL Draft.

The Irish also lose Nic Weishar, and although his stat line is nothing to write home about, his leadership on the team will be greatly missed in a season that will have to see so many other leaders and captains replaced.

Departing Tight End Production From 2018

Tight End GP REC YARDS AVG TD
Tight End GP REC YARDS AVG TD
86 Alize Mack 12 36 360 10 3
82 Nic Weishar 13 3 10 3.33 2

RETURNING FOR 2019

Although the Irish lose to experienced tight ends, they also return two experienced tight ends. Cole Kmet and Brock Wright have both been regular contributors for the Irish, but as they both enter their junior year, they will have to really step up and produce.

The Irish also have two sophomores that didn’t see any action last year as freshmen in Tommy Tremble and George Takacs. Chip Long likes using 3 and 4 tight ends, so we should expect quite a bit more snaps for both if healthy.

Returning Tight End Production From 2018

Tight End GP REC YARDS AVG TD
Tight End GP REC YARDS AVG TD
84 Cole Kmet (JR) 11 15 162 10.8 0
89 Brock Wright (JR) 13 2 12 6 1
NCAA Football: College Football Playoff Semifinal-Cotton Bowl-Notre Dame vs Clemson
Tommy Tremble
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

NEW ADDITION

There are none. Notre Dame took a pass this cycle (and already have two committed for the 2020 class).

2019 OUTLOOK

I think we can all be pretty optimistic — but cautiously optimistic. Both Brock Wright and Cole Kmet are talented and well-rounded tight ends, but we still need to see them produce quite a bit more in this offense.

I really like Wright’s role as tight end AND fullback when needed, and Kmet has flashed with great promise. Kmet plays baseball in the spring, so he will have limited time to continue to get better connected with Ian Book.

Although I love Takacs size and possibilities, Tommy Tremble has more of the athleticism that Alize Mack possessed, and he could develop into a more prominent role within this offense as the spring goes on.

It’s a position group full of talent, but many questions still remain.

RANDOM RANDOMNESS TO PONDER

Poll

How do you feel about Notre Dame’s TE situation in 2019?

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  • 63%
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    (449 votes)
  • 32%
    Okay
    (228 votes)
  • 4%
    Worried
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