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Cane Berrong’s transfer portal entry Monday leaves Notre Dame with only two TEs in Gator Bowl

Douglas Farmer joins Corey Robinson in discussing the outlook for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish's offense next season in Year 2 of Marcus Freeman's tenure as head coach.

Marcus Freeman may have been a week early in declaring Notre Dame’s Gator Bowl roster set. Just on Saturday, the Irish head coach said he did not expect any more entrants into the transfer portal before the Dec. 30 meeting with No. 19 South Carolina (3:30 ET; ABC).

Then on Monday, sophomore tight end Cane Berrong announced via social media that he will transfer and thus miss Notre Dame’s appearance in Jacksonville.

“That was what last week was for,” Freeman said. “After the USC game, we had those conversations. We gave them time to really reflect and make decisions. And we told them, by this past week we wanted to make sure that our guys had made decisions on opting out or going into the transfer portal.

“I can’t predict the future, but I don’t anticipate anybody else not playing in the bowl game or going into the portal right now.”

Berrong does so with three seasons of eligibility remaining after appearing in three games as a freshman before an ACL cut short his season. He played only against Boston College this season, logging all of five snaps. Berrong finishes his Notre Dame career with no other stats.

Without him, the Irish will have only sophomore Mitchell Evans and freshman Holden Staes available as tight ends against the Gamecocks. Fullback Davis Sherwood could line up as a blocking tight end at points, as well.

It may be that Berrong fully realized in the last week or so that Staes has passed him in the depth chart, not even the absence of Michael Mayer giving Berrong enough reps to satiate him. Or it could be that he simply missed Freeman’s soft deadline by a couple days.

Junior Kevin Bauman and freshman Eli Raridon remain slowed by injuries.

RELATED READING: Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 80 Cane Berrong, sophomore tight end coming off an ACL injury

Berrong is the fourth Notre Dame player to declare an intention to transfer in the last week, following in the footsteps of junior quarterback Drew Pyne, freshman cornerback Jayden Bellamy and senior defensive end Osi Ekwonu.

Mayer and defensive end Isaiah Foskey both opted out of the bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft, while senior cornerback Cam Hart will miss it following shoulder surgery, though he will return to the Irish in 2023.

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