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Spring Outlook: Notre Dame’s next pair of tight ends

Notre Dame v Northwestern

EVANSTON, IL - NOVEMBER 03: Cole Kmet #84 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish avoids a tackle by JR Pace #13 of the Northwestern Wildcats during the first half of a game at Ryan Field on November 3, 2018 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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Notre Dame feels confident enough in its current tight end depth chart to intentionally not add to it this recruiting cycle, assurance aided by a pair of four-star tight ends already committed in the class of 2020.

That makes this position pretty cut-and-dry, quite frankly. The two juniors will be used frequently, and the two sophomores will be around for whenever there is an inevitable injury. Perhaps inevitable sounds harsh, but considering the trends of the last few seasons with both Alizé Mack and Cole Kmet sidelined by minor issues, the depth has been needed. (Not that those minor issues — concussions, sprained ankles — should have not necessitated the time on the bench, just that they lead to one- or two-week appearances from others.)

Spring roster:
— Juniors Cole Kmet and Brock Wright.— Sophomores Tommy Tremble and George Takacs.

Depth Chart Possibilities:
This is simple, and being a Monday morning, there is nothing wrong with embracing the obvious. Kmet will remain the top option in the passing game, stepping into Mack’s role of the last couple seasons. Kmet’s time will be split between a detached alignment, as a pseudo-receiver, and in the traditional tight end spot at the end of the offensive line. Well, split between those and the pitching mound.

Wright will continue to handle the H-back and in-line blocking duties, very much as he did last season and even a bit as a freshman. That does not mean Wright will not be included in the passing game, but not in as prominent a role as Kmet.

Tremble should be Kmet’s understudy, with Takacs thus the reserve behind Wright.

See? Simple.

2018 statistically speaking:
Mack: 36 catches for 360 yards and three touchdowns.Kmet: 15 catches for 162 yards.Nic Weishar: Three catches for 10 yards and two touchdowns.Wright: Two catches for 12 yards and one touchdown.

2018 departures:
The headline is Mack, who finished his career with 68 catches for 706 yards and four touchdowns. To some degree, those numbers were always underwhelming. His flashes of ability would underscore how much was never seen. Admittedly, concussions played a limiting role in each of the last two seasons, as did the quarterback play in 2017.

In other respects, less tangible ones, the greater loss may be Weishar. No other player received as universal praise from the Irish roster as Weishar did the last two seasons. The leadership provided by a team-first reserve caught everyone’s notice all year long, even if only highlighted whenever he scored a touchdown.

Kmet should be able to replace Mack’s production, if not exceed it, but Weishar’s absence will not be filled in a similar manner.

Spring Outlook: Defensive backsSpring Outlook: LinebackersSpring Outlook: Defensive lineSpring Outlook: Offensive line

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