With the loss of Alize Mack to the NFL Draft, what does the tight end position look like for Notre Dame Football in 2019?
“Tight End-U” begins the search for its next star come the 2019 season. Alize Mack recently announced he is entering his name into the NFL Draft, forcing the Irish to look back at the depth chart for 2019. The tight end position has been a strong-suit for Notre Dame football in recent years and this season was no different.
Alize Mack led the tight end group with 36 receptions for 360 yards and 3 TDs. While Mack was the star of the group, both Ian Book and Brandon Wimbush spread the ball around to a variety of tight ends. Cole Kmet, Nic Weishar and Brock Wright all saw the ball multiple times this season, with Weishar and Wright scoring two and one touchdowns respectively.
Looking forward to next season, who will be the difference maker?
With the loss of Alize Mack to the NFL Draft and Nic Weishar to graduation, there is a lot of room for a new star to breakout at the tight end position. The most obvious threat to do so is junior Cole Kmet. Kmet’s size and ability to get to the ball at it’s highest point make him a real weapon for Ian Book.
Much like many Notre Dame quarterbacks in the past, Book looks to his tight ends heavily. I fully expect Kmet to receive most of these targets, but who comes after him? The answer is the Uber-talented Brock Wright. Wright has not seen too many looks during his short Notre Dame career, but the junior has plenty of ability to break out next season. Wright has the size and already has great blocking skills that make him hard to take off the field if you’re Brian Kelly.
After Kmet and Wright, the next guy I see potentially seeing the ball is the 6’6″ sophomore George Takacs. The man is simply massive and a nightmare matchup for defenses. He is definitely one to keep an eye on.
With Alize Mack off to the NFL and Weishar out of eligibility, the tight end room will look different, but tons of talent remains. Cole Kmet is the big name receiving threat most Notre Dame fans will gravitate to and for good reason. Since his arrival on campus last year, he has been compared to former Irish greats. His junior year should be his announcement to the rest of the college football community.
Behind Kmet is another talented junior in Brock Wright. Wright has been used in a variety of ways during his first two seasons, but mostly as a blocker. He typically lines up inline or even occasionally in the backfield as a traditional fullback. This will likely remain his biggest role on the 2019 roster. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in some specific goal line packages, either.
We all know Chip Long loves his two tight end sets, but unfortunately due to injuries, he has yet to implement this into his offense on consistent basis. With that said, George Takacs and/or Tommy Tremble will look to change that in 2019. In Takacs, Notre Dame has another big target that should provide depth as both a pass catcher and blocker, while Tremble should eventually provide a nice 1-2 punch with Kmet in the passing game. Tremble’s athleticism is certainly something the Irish coaching staff is probably excited to unleash.
Nathan’s Prediction: Cole Kmet will have the most productive tight end season at Notre Dame since Tyler Eifert in 2012, and will set himself up for a difficult decision as Alize Mack come this time next year. The tight end position group will be viewed as a position of strength yet again, which will in turn strengthen the Irish passing attack from 2018.
Mason’s Prediction: Cole Kmet will have a great season, fully filling the shoes of Alize Mack. I really believe in Kmet and believe that he will make us forget entirely about Mack. The tight end position is always a position of strength for the Irish, and that doesn’t change in 2019.