Position Analysis: Tight End

Notre Dame returns a talented group of tight ends for the 2005 season. Anthony Fasano is the biggest name, but there is an abundance of talent across the tight end depth chart. Adding Paddy Mullen for the 2006 season is half the equation for this year's recruiting class.

Notre Dame has seen many great tight ends over the years. Many names are a part of a rich Notre Dame tight end tradition such as Mark Bravaro and Irv Smith. Both wore an Irish uniform before heading to the NFL. That tradition will likely continue once Anthony Fasano completes his playing days at Notre Dame, and perhaps he will be joined by a few of his teammates in good time.

Notre Dame is expected to utilize two tight end sets frequently under the direction of head coach Charlie Weis. That means at bare minimum four tight ends need to be ready for action each Saturday. Redshirt juniors Anthony Fasano and Marcus Freeman have the most experience amongst a quartet that also consists of redshirt sophomore John Carlson and freshman Joey Hiben.

Due to the nasty nature of the game of football, injuries could play a vital role as to whether or not Hiben is able to redshirt this season or not. If everyone stays healthy perhaps Hiben will be able to preserve a year of eligibility. Time will tell.

Freeman or Carlson would start for most DI teams, but for now the nod is will go to Fasano. He developed into a go-to player for quarterback Brady Quinn as the 2004 season progressed. How much Freeman and Carlson are utilized is up to them. Neither player lacks for talent. Hiben may be the best pure athlete of the bunch. He ran hurdles at over 230 pounds during his senior year of high school and was one of the best the state of Minnesota had to offer.

Recruiting - Notre Dame landed Paddy Mullen after the spring game. He was heavily recruited and is one of the nation's most highly thought of tight end recruits. Notre Dame is also pursuing Konrad Reuland and he is expected to take an unofficial visit to Notre Dame within the near future. A wild card is Andrew Quarless. Notre Dame has yet to offer but he is a highly recruited player with offers from schools such as Miami, Penn State and Virginia to name a few.

With both Fasano and Freeman departing no later than the end of the 2006 season it would be ideal for this recruiting class to have two tight ends. Notre Dame is half way home.

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