Durham Smythe, Ready to Step Out of the Shadows

Durham Smythe - Notre Dame TE
Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end Durham Smythe (80) against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium.(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

With the graduation of Ben Koyack the Irish are looking for a new number one tight-end, and Durham Smythe is looking to be that man.

Smythe was a member of Notre Dame’s elite 2013 recruiting class and had offers from many elite programs including Oregon, Georgia, Texas and Florida but chose tight-end U.

The Texas native did not play in the 2013 season as he sat behind Troy Niklas and Koyack but saw action in all 13 games this past season primarily in a blocking role as he caught only one pass for seven yards. Smythe has cemented himself above fellow 2013 tight-end recruit Mike Heuerman on the depth chart despite the fact the Ohio native was ranked higher than him by most recruiting services. However, Smythe is going to face a great deal of competition for the starting job this season.

Sophomore Tyler Luatua will push Smythe for playing time throughout spring and summer practice. Luatua played in 10 games last season making one start, while missing three games due to injury. The California native did a solid job in a blocking role but also possesses the ability to be a solid receiving option.

Smythe’s biggest competition could come from a true freshman though. Alize Jones, arguably the top high school tight-end in the 2015 class chose Notre Dame over many suitors and is a threat to step into a big role immediately. At 6’5’’ Jones is a prototypical tight-end as he creates matchup problems and can catch anything in his vicinity. He likely comes in as the best pass catcher of the Irish tight-ends and could be a weapon in the red zone.

Smythe’s experience could be his best asset as it could prove helpful to Malik Zaire if he becomes the full-time starter as well as to Everett Golson. Both quarterbacks would benefit from a security blanket like Smythe who could consistently be in the right place and make big catches on third down.

The battle for playing time at tight-end will likely be ongoing throughout the season which could bring out the best in Smythe and the other options at the position. That would benefit the Irish as more consistent play will be needed from the position this season in order for Notre Dame to be successful.

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  1. It will all come down to how much better will the defense be than last
    years. No doubt it will be better but has to be a lot better.

  2. To our resident Archangel and Woody. My surmise (unscientific and anecdotal) is that the Fall roster will contain three TES who will eventually draw checks in the NFL.

  3. limericks Shaz?

    This from Ogden Nash

    Hoggamus Higgamus men are polygamous
    Higgamus Hoggamus women monogamous

    The apocryphal story here is that Nash had a creative inspiration in the middle of the night woke up and scribbled down his thought, and when he awoke in the AM the above was what he found.

    1. Speaking of woman monogamous..

      I had several of those creative insirations in the middle of the night.

      It was called Sildenafil Citrate.

      When I awoke in the AM guess what I found?

    1. So you’ll support a guy who’s best record as a head coach was 6-6 but not BVG after just one year?

      Remember this… “Pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered”

  4. We’re long overdue, Bruce. Keep the faith!

    BTW, it is just a game and we aren’t even on the field.


  5. It’s ok domers can take it all
    I just think bvg had his chance and didn’t deliver
    Sometimes I get a little sloppy with the analogies
    But when you have seen what nd can be
    It’s hurts to see what it has become

    1. Dear Bruce,

      I am as critical of some aspects of ND football as anyone on this site. And I’ve been slandered for it on more than a few occasions.

      However, there are fair critiques and downright crazy ones. BVG has been here for one year and had to deal with a D that was young and decimated by injuries, especially in the second half of the season, making the D even younger by the end of the season. I agree that BVG has to re-evaluate. But that’s true for all coaches, after every season, even winning ones. I’m sure Nick Saban constantly re-evaluates his team’s and staff’s performances even after winning a NC.

      Look, Bruce, I totally empathize with your frustrations and desires to see ND back at the top of college football. But constantly moaning and groaning and bringing up frankly insane analogies and “facts” isn’t going to help the cause. Be critical, just be sane doing so.

      Best regards to you and yours.

      GO IRISH!

  6. Hey BJ,

    That was a serious beat down that Shazam and Duranko laid down on you, bro.

    I do think you brought up a good point and that is “accountability”. Each member of the team, staff and university needs to be accountable in their own respective manner. This is vitally important.

    Look at what happened in Oklahoma with the frat boyz….

    Go IRISH,

  7. This collection of TEs, though unproven, will feature 4 potentially outstanding TEs, even for Tight End U,.a.k.a. ND

    It projects versatile complete skill sets each have. With these four, and all the depth provided at WR/Slot back, the rotation/playing time/formations of all these receivers might be the most challenging decision-making BK and his offense staff will have to face. A wonderful dilemma !
    This position, as most (if not all) of the others, predict solid depth that we could have only dreamed of even just a season ago. “Next man in” mantra now offers fulfilling opportunity and realistic expectation more than in many a year, not an empty wishful hope.

    1. Great comment! Concur 100%, Archangel.

      I want all four of these guys to do great! Loads of talent here.


  8. You would have flunked logic bruce.

    There was no mirroring.

    He did not start the season as we did, nor, for that matter, finish it.


    You may wish to hold yourself and your weird thought processes up to Auburn. Notre Dame plays against its own potential, never using a mess like Auburn as a measuring stick. Research resident Auburn trustee Bobby Lowder sometime. If you don’t yet get that then seek a refund on the tuition you paid.

    How you coming with that 1000 day Ara winless againsat USC and Purdue mental imprint project. Rest assured, even with out reference to the “Cliff notes” of sports journalism, the Bleacher report, you will be questioned about that until you answer it, as we used to say back on the block, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

  9. the issue is the defense or lack of it, not me, his performance mirrored ours and he got canned, enough said

  10. Back to the article

    I really hope this kid plays like he did before he arrived at ND. If he comes close to that, he’ll be a great asset.

  11. And if you wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty and the pig loves it.

    But Shaz, have you not ever serenaded pigs with a few verses of the White Album’s “Have you seen the little piggies?” They appear to enjoy it.

    Perhaps by now, a certain UPPERCASER has researched the sterling unblemished career of Ellis Johnson as head coach of southern Mississippi.

    1. Big-D

      I’ve always leaned more toward rhymes and limericks.

      One little piggy went to market…
      One little piggy stayed at home.

      One little piggy had roast beef…
      and another little piggy had none.

      And one little piggy in particular….
      well he goes Waa waa waa” all the way home.


    Quit lying. Look at Auburn’s performance over the last several years. Look at Ellis Johnson’s history.

    Your incessant whining and negativity are taken for granted and ROUTINELY IGNORED.

    BUT you will not be given a free pass by me for bad facts.

    QUit lying Bruce, Shaz was the first to hit you for it and I’m chop blocking. You will feel it again the next time you are caught lying.

    And WHINEBOY, I am awaiting your response to the 1000 days that Ara went without beating USC and Purdue. Where you a fully developed high colonic then or still in the incubator?

    1. This reminds me of what Mark Twain once said about trying to teach a pig to sing…

      “It wastes your time and annoys the pig”

    1. Hey… Albert Whinestein,

      He had a lot more than just one bad game.
      Auburn was a celler-dweller on defense in the SEC for the last 2 years!

      Ever since you insisted that ND needed to hire Al Borges perhaps it would be best if you kept your dumbass coaching suggestions to your self?

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