Notre Dame Adds Wide Receiver Transfer Kris Mitchell

After the hemorrhage of Notre Dame wide receivers entering the transfer portal, filling the holes that have emerged is a necessity. One part of the reshaping of a unit that’s watched Tobias Merriweather, Rico Flores and Braylon James leave will also begin with the portal. Among the aforementioned trio, James’ departure is the least surprising, given his single catch on the season while Flores leaves as this season’s top wideout with 27 receptions.

The first piece of solving this tricky puzzle is the transfer of FIU Kris Mitchell to Notre Dame who. Over the past two seasons, he’s emerged as a potentially dangerous wide receiver who can get deep and has made an effort to bulk up to handle a heavier workload. The Irish will have him for one season, with Mitchell no doubt seeing this opportunity as a potential springboard to the NFL.

The Path of Patience

Mitchell’s high school days were spent at Jacksonville Mandarin, with his junior year one to forget after a 2-8 campaign in 2017. While not necessarily the worst team that season, Mandarin bounced back to win a state title just one year later, with Mitchell delivering in the clutch. In the state semifinal clash, he turned a short pass into a 91-yard touchdown, one of seven catches for 197 yards on the night. One week later, he snagged seven catches for 118 yards in the title tilt.

Before the 2018 season, Mitchell committed to FIU after seeing limited interest from other schools. Connecticut and Colorado State had offered him scholarships but he decided to stay closer to home. In the wake of that state title, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh attempted to swoop in at the last minute to recruit him but Mitchell stayed loyal to then-head coach Butch Davis.

As a true freshman, Mitchell ended up being redshirted and during the pandemic-affected season of 2020, he had just four catches for 39 yards. The following year, another quiet season was on tap with nine receptions for 158 yards and his first collegiate touchdown. That 50-yard score came during an October loss to Charlotte.

An Emergence Begins

In preparation for the 2022 season, Mitchell ominously had injury issues during the early portion of spring ball. However, by the time that stretch had ended, he was healthy and finally showing his talents. That became evident during the regular season, though only in spurts throughout the campaign.

The most productive of these eruptions came in a three-week run in which he caught 13 of his 23 passes on the year for 201 yards. In the first of those outings against Texas-San Antonio, his big-play capability was on display with two catches for 70 yards.

Circumstances after that year led to Mitchell becoming to go-to receiver for the Golden Panthers. The transfers of FIU’s top wide receiver Tyrese Chambers to Maryland and tight end Rivaldo Fairweather to Auburn presented Mitchell with a chance to become the central component of the team’s passing attack.

Seizing that opportunity, Mitchell put together an outstanding season, finishing the year with 64 catches for 1,118 yards and six touchdowns. Despite his best efforts, the Golden Panthers suffered through their fifth straight losing season, winning just four times in 12 games.

Mitchell had seven games this season in which he caught at least five passes in a game and broke the 100-yard threshold in receiving yards four times. Three of those efforts came during the final four weeks of the forgettable year with Mitchell grabbing 21 passes for 407 yards and one score.

The Irish Outlook

Bringing that momentum to the Golden Dome, Mitchell’s performance in 2024 will make for interesting viewing. Given the current chaos of departing wideouts, the chance to make a big splash is waiting for him. The injury struggles of players like Jayden Thomas and Deon Colzie also leave question marks among this unit that Mitchell has the chance to answer.

As always, the Irish will also have another infusion of high school recruits to challenge for playing time. In truth, there’s no guarantee that any of the talented trio of Cam Williams, Micah Gilbert and Logan Saldate will have an impact in 2024.

Right now, it’s the current Irish wide receiving situation that’s a more immediate cause for concern. The dearth of receiving options for the team’s Sun Bowl matchup against Oregon State could very well put the burden of production on the team’s running game.

Ordinarily, that might not be a reason to worry with Audric Estime available to chew up yardage. However, Estime could still conceivably opt out of the contest in preparation for a potential departure to the NFL.

Bottom Line

Getting the most out of Mitchell’s talents will be the challenge presented to whoever Notre Dame hires to replace receivers coach Chansi Stuckey. While injuries affected this unit in 2023, the need for greater overall production is obvious and the addition of Mitchell offers hope that such a surge will take place. Notre Dame figures to be a player with several other wide receiver targets with Washington State’s Josh Kelly on campus today and Clemson’s Beaux Collins on campus tomorrow.

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  2. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.

  3. And sadly the Irish Soccer team lost to Clemson, a school with Catholic haters galore. Stop being nice Notre Dame and kick some Protestant asss!!!

    1. Gentle Dan Devine used to get into it with anti-catholic fans in some road games, especially at Georgia Tech, where the crowd brought fish to throw at our team. Devine gave them back as bad as their great fight song ever gave Georgia. So far as I know, Fathers Hesburgh and Malloy never took the matter up.

      Love and a Merry and Holy Christmas to you.

      BGC 77 82

  4. See ya Sam!!! It good to have you. Wish you were the QB for the bowl.

    However, it’s going to be a good test of the coaching staff to have Steve and Kenny ready to go. How the Irish offense performs against a team without a head coach and with its own depleted ranks will say a lot about this coaching staff’s future ceiling. No excuses.

  5. I’d prefer Notre Dame and some others break off and market a conference of student athletes.
    I love sports but I watch less and less because it’s less about the game and more about the business. It seems like a reality TV show.
    College football is now among the worst.
    Notre Dame needs to win one more National Championship and soon. Then make the break and form another Ivy League.

  6. I don’t think Florida State should have been left out. Not likely they would advance, but they did earn their way in. Undefeated in a major conference. Why bother to play the games at all if it can be decided who is better on paper.

    1. I can see it both ways. The injury to Travis Jordan was why the committee voted Florida State out. Similar thing happened in the 10-10 tie between undefeated Ohio State and Michigan in 1973. The big ten took a vote to see who would go to the rose bowl. Even though Michigan outplayed Ohio State during the game Michigan’s quarterback all american Dennis Franklin broke his collarbone and wouldn’t play in the rose bowl. The voters tired of the big ten losing to the then pac 8 said Michigan is not the same team without Franklin.They voted Ohio State to go

    2. They know now what Notre Dame felt like in 1993 when we were screwed out of the National Championship. Especially since they were sanctioned less than 4
      Months after that season for gross violations.

      Screw the Criminoles. And screw every southern POS team and their schools.

  7. I am 67 years old and struggle with college football the way it is run now. I don’t like the transfer portal, Nil, super conferences the 12 team playoff. Imo, they should eliminate these conference championship games. Take the top 6 teams and the 1st 2 weeks of December play it off. The winners play New Years night for the title. That way the college season ends on January 1 like when I was growing up. You also have only a 2 to 3 weeks wait between the playoff and national championship game.

    1. But that’s not their perceived job.
      Instead, the NCAA chooses to “follow the money” and not interfere with college sports programs flow of revenue.
      There’d be less issue with the portal and NIL if the NCAA would disallow the blatant buying off of athletes without regard for expecting them to be “student athletes”. So allowing the athletes to “get their beaks wet” only makes sense. “Share the wealth!”

    2. The slow deterioration of college football is all due to one big issue $$$$ There is NO reason for 12 teams outside of $$$$ 6 teams sounds good as long as top 2 get a buy the first week

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