Durham Smythe (Tight End, 6'3" 225 pounds)Listed at 6'6" 230 pounds, Smythe should easily fill out to 250 by the time his first spring session rolls around in 2014. While his fellow freshman Mike Heuerman appears faster after the catch, Smythe shows an enviable lack of concern for his body as he attacks tacklers in space.
Smythe is comfortable catching with his hands, regardless of location of the pass or his route. He's a target with a large wingspan running down the seam and shows excellent body control to twist and turn for a poorly thrown pass.
More important, he positions his body and absorbs contact well while securing the catch -- perhaps the most underrated skill possessed by graduating star Tyler Eifert who starred alongside Michael Floyd 2011 as a tight end operating inside the hash marks.
Fellow incoming Tight End prospects: Four-star freshman Mike Heuerman
Berk on Smythe: Reminds me of former Irish and current Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph with his big physical frame. Has the tools to block on the line while still being able to release and get open downfield. Will cause major match-up problems for defenses as he tightens up his game with his skill set.
Dohn on Smythe: Notre Dame got a surprise commit when it recruited a secondtight end after Mike Heuerman enrolled, and the Irish get an athletic and long playerwho can stretch the field. He understands blocking technique and also knows he has to do it to be a complete player. Still, his true value is as a pass catcher, and he can flourish in Notre Dame's offense.
O'Malley's Initial SlottingUnlike the aforementioned Eifert and Heuerman, Smythe resembles a more traditional tight end than hybrid WR/TE. He nonetheless uses his hands to catch bullet throws at pad level, but at 6'6" also showed the ability to make sliding catches as well as leaping grabs of high passes that are generally expected of a taller player.
Smythe's ideal collegiate weight while not sacrificing his decent speed and (most important) impressive agility would likely be south of 265. He might not have a chance to showcase his skills on fall Saturdays until 2014, but both he and the Irish will be better for it.
None of Notre Dame's 2013 tight end quintet exhausts eligibility following the upcoming season. Three of the group (Welch, Koyack, Niklas) will be gone, barring injury, following 2014. Considering the overall unit's combined skill set to date, if Notre Dame's staff brings in a tight end for its 2014 recruiting cycle, the prospect should be coveted more as an in-line hammer than potential downfield target.
Links of Note: Click the links below for more highlight reels and comprehensive recruitment information for Durham Smythe: