The Big Picture: Tight End

Notre Dame signed two of the top tight ends in the country last cycle. But do the Irish need reinforcements? The staff is recruiting like it does. Irish Illustrated breaks down the options.

Under offensive coordinator Chip Long, Notre Dame might reclaim the ‘Tight End U’ label.

Based on how the Irish spent the spring evaluation period, it seems Long is serious about rebuilding that reputation beyond next season too. Because as deep as the Irish tight end roster might be this fall – Durham Smythe, Alizé Mack, Nic Weishar, Tyler Luatua, Brock Wright and Cole Kmet – the depth chart might require recruiting additions sooner than it might appear.

Regardless, it’s hard to imagine the position ever posting a season of 12 catches for 159 yards again, both lows during the Brian Kelly era. Making sure that doesn’t happen means adding a tight end this cycle despite tight scholarship numbers and maybe adding a couple the cycle beyond it as it won’t be a surprise is Smythe, Mack and Luatua all depart after this season.

That would leave Weishar as a fifth-year senior, backed up by Wright and Kmet.

Going into 2018 with three tight ends – Long will have those six here this fall and had six at Memphis last season – wouldn’t be ideal for any program, let alone the Notre Dame and its new tight-end oriented offense.

Ideally, the Irish are looking to add one tight end to their class. Here’s a look at the candidates in this cycle and the next one.

http://www.scout.com/player/209581-george-takacs?s=109

Naples (Florida) Gulf Coast High School tight end George Takacs is their guy.

The Opening Finalist grew up in Indianapolis and his mother went to grad school at Notre Dame. Wisconsin and Florida are also in the mix, but the Irish seem to be the team to beat.

In the end, it would be surprising if Takacs wasn’t a part of this class.

http://www.scout.com/player/216135-tommy-tremble?s=109

Notre Dame’s most recent tight end offer in the ’18 class.

Tremble is an interesting prospect. The currently unranked tight end has just recently been emerging as a national recruit, boasting SEC, ACC, Big-10, Pac-12 and Ivy League offers.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder will attend Irish Invasion on June 10.

Tremble has expressed high interest in the Irish. If he performs well in South Bend, his presence on Notre Dame’s board could become more prominent.

http://www.scout.com/player/207174-jeremy-ruckert?s=109

Another Opening finalist, some consider Ruckert the top tight end in the 2018 class.

The New York-native expressed great interest in the Irish after visiting South Bend. He went on to include Notre Dame in his Top 5.

However, Ruckert is yet another Top 100 recruit who is some consider a lock to Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes.

http://www.scout.com/player/204108-mustapha-muhammad?s=109

Muhammad was targeted early by the Irish, before watching his offer list grow to 36 total.

The Texas standout has recently cut his list to 10, including Notre Dame.

A summer visit is in the works, possibly for Irish Invasion. At this point, it looks like Michigan and Clemson are ahead of the pack for the four-star talent.

Leonard Taylor (Ohio) and Judge Culpepper (Texas) are the two names on Notre Dame’s tight end board that didn’t manage to pick up steam.

Taylor may attend Irish Invasion, however, he doesn’t currently appear to be a part Notre Dame’s plans and most programs on his offer list are evaluating him at the defensive end position.

If Takacs and Tremble decide to pass on the Irish, while Ruckert and Muhammad continue to explore other options, the Irish could be in a position where they may pass on the tight end position this cycle.

Going into next season with only three tight ends on their roster wouldn’t be a situation the Irish would be comfortable with. But lacking other options could leave them no choice but to wait until next cycle.

Lucky for Long, the 2019 tight end class is loaded. He’s already paved the road to a successful haul next cycle.

http://www.scout.com/player/199121-ryland-goede?s=109

SEC programs, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, and Tennessee, as well as Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State, have all offered 6-foot-6, 240-pound Goede.

The two-sport star also throws a fast ball in the mid-80’s, so a future in baseball may also play a factor in Goede’s recruitment.

Either way, the talented sophomore is impressed with Notre Dame and told Irish Illustrated that he can’t wait to visit.

Goede appears to be a possibility for Notre Dame.

http://www.scout.com/player/208616-grayson-boomer?s=109

While an in-state offer from Oklahoma is on the table, Boomer grew up admiring former Irish tight end Kyle Rudolph and Notre Dame’s success at the tight end position.

Boomer has expressed considerable interest in Notre Dame. A future visit to South Bend is in the works.

http://www.scout.com/player/214058-austin-stogner?s=109

Considered by many to be the top tight end in the 2019 class, Stogner will visit Notre Dame during the weekend of Irish Invasion. Although Stogner won’t compete in the event, he will be in South Bend with his quarterback, Grant Gunnell and his parents to tour the campus and meet the coaching staff.

The Stogner family are very interested in what Notre Dame has to offer on the field and in the classroom. Look for Notre Dame to end up in the four-star Texans future top group.

http://www.scout.com/player/214430-ethan-rae?s=109

The Irish are very familiar with Rae’s program, Anaheim’s Servite High School.

Former Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas and current wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown both came from the Trinity League program in Orange County.

At 6-foot-5, 240-pounds, Rae possesses impressive speed and athleticism. Serving as a defensive end for his varsity squad as well as competing in baseball, basketball and track, Rae has a special blend of athleticism you don’t find in every tight end.

The Irish could end up in good shape for Rae in the future.

http://www.scout.com/player/204887-isaiah-foskey?s=109

After mentioning USC and Stanford as dream offers during a post-offer interview with Irish Illustrated, Notre Dame may be in an uphill battle for Foskey at this stage of the game.

That said, Foskey says he is impressed with Notre Dame and he plans to visit next summer.

We’re far away from getting an accurate read on Foskey’s future destination.

With several talented 2019 tight ends already in play for the Irish, if they were to pass on the position this cycle completely, Long appears to have gotten off to a strong start to the next class.

Going forward, Takacs will remain the focal point of Notre Dame’s current tight end recruiting class.

If the 6-foot-7 four-star recruit opts to join the Badgers or stay in the south, the Irish will be in an interesting predicament.


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