Notre Dame Continues to Dominate Tight End Recruiting

After Jack Nickel decommitted from Notre Dame, the Irish were able to pick up commitments from Eli Raridon and Holden Staes shortly after. Under Head Coach Brian Kelly, the Irish have recruited strongly along the offensive line and tight end positions. Notre Dame can now focus their recruiting efforts at other positions to hopefully have back-to-back top 10 recruiting classes.

2022: Eli Raridon and Holden Staes

Irish have filled their tight end spots for the 2022 class. Last week, Brian Kelly was able to pick up two tight end commitments. The first was from Eli Raridon, the #437 player overall and #18 tight end in the country according to 247 Sports. The 6’ 6” tight end out of Iowa has several ties to the University, where his dad played for the Fighting Irish from 2003-2006, and his grandfather was a strength and conditioning coach under Lou Holtz.

Just a few days after Raridon’s commitment, Notre Dame also received a commitment from Staes. Holden Staes is currently listed as the #268 player overall and #10 tight end in the country on 247 Sports. The last time the Irish went into Georgia to get a tight end (Tommy Tremble), it turned out well.

Tight End Coach John McNulty hits the recruiting trail. Coach McNulty has tons of experience in college football and the NFL. He has been active on social media this past year in recruiting and connecting with players, just as the entire coaching staff has recently. McNulty and the Notre Dame staff were able to flip Holden Staes, a Penn State commitment until February.

With all the talent on the roster and tight ends coming in, John McNulty will have a lot to work with and develop this fall.

2021: Cane Berrong and Mitchell Evans

Both tight ends in the 2021 class have a lot of potential. Cane Berrong was the #227 overall and #9 tight end, while Mitchell Evans was the #497 overall and #23 tight end in the nation on 247 Sports. Even though Evans is currently a 3-star, the high school star is listed as 6’ 7” and has the ability to develop throughout this college career.

With the addition of these two freshmen, the Irish will be five deep. There are a lot of tight ends on the roster this fall, but if the Blue Gold Game is any indication, Evans may be involved in the Notre Dame Offense. The freshman had 3 catches for 59 yards in the spring game.

Michael Mayer will undoubtedly get all the reps he can handle, but there will be a significant battle for playing time behind him.

2020: Michael Mayer and Kevin Bauman

Michael Mayer is already one of the best tight ends in the country. He was listed as the #32 player overall and #2 tight end in the country, according to 247 Sports. Mayer had 42 receptions (tied for most on the team) for 450 yards and 2 touchdowns. With all the turnover at the receiver positions, Mayer and Avery Davis are the only two receivers bringing back substantial production from a year ago.

Mayer has the potential to become the best tight end in the country next fall. Even as a freshman in 2020, he was able to break countless tackles and tower over defenses. In the Rose Bowl, he had 7 catches for 62 yards against Alabama.

The 6’ 5” tight end, Kevin Bauman, looks to make an impact this year. Bauman was also one of the best tight ends in the country out of high school. 247 Sports had him listed as the #236 player in the nation and #6 tight end. As mentioned earlier, he will be going against one of the best position groups in the country for playing time.

Final Thoughts

The Tight End position will be stacked for years to come. After an impressive freshman year in South Bend, it is ridiculous to think that Irish fans still have at least two more seasons from Michael Mayer. With the uncertainty at the wide receiver positions, having elite tight ends that can help Jack Coan and the passing attack will be vital to a successful season.

Notre Dame is a tight end factory under Coach Kelly. Since 2018, the Fighting Irish have had four tight ends drafted into the NFL. These players include Durham Smythe, Alizé Mack, Cole Kmet, and most recently, Tommy Tremble. Brian Kelly has put the Irish in the discussion for “Tight End U.”

A legacy of tight ends has been cultivated in South Bend through past, current, and future players. I fully expect many of the incoming and current tight ends to be drafted into the NFL through the development and coaching. 

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