2018 Notre Dame football redshirt projections: Tight Ends
The performance of the Notre Dame offensive line garnered a lot of attention last season, as it earned the Joe Moore Award for being the top such unit in the entire country. However, there is no more tradition-rich position group within the Fighting Irish program than the tight ends.
Notre Dame almost annually churns out professional athletes at the position, with Durham Smythe (Miami Dolphins) just being the latest to do so this spring. So breaking into the unit as a true freshman is quite a challenge.
Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chip Long had five available athletes at the position to utilize last fall and he used all of them in varying degrees. That number has grown to six for this season.
“We’ve tried to be, the majority of the time, a ’12 personnel’ team,” Long said. “Our whole offense is dictated on the players that we have guys that can sustain the tempo, go out there and execute day in and day out.”
For the first time, programs can play a student-athlete in up to four games, yet still have him maintain eligibility for four more seasons. So there are players that will perform to a level that Long and the rest of the Notre Dame coaches believe can help all season, while they will have to juggle who to rein in and keep eligible for four seasons down the road.
News-Sentinel.com is going to take a look at each of the position groups and the freshmen student-athletes and project the level of impact for the coming season.
Today: Tight Ends
Thursday: Running Backs
Long spoke of always seeking diversity in skills among his tight ends and he achieved that with the 2018 recruiting class.
In Tremble, the Irish secured a 6-foot-3, 224-pound skilled athlete in the mold of a large wide receiver.
“Tommy has been more of a skilled wide-out coming in,” Long said upon signing Tremble.
Tremble was a two-way player in high school but missed all but one game last fall after suffering a broken ankle. He is not expected to be hampered when training camp gets underway Friday at Culver Academies.
“He didn’t play his senior year, so maybe he gets undervalued in that sense,” veteran Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said of Tremble on National Signing Day. “What we saw was an incredible upside relative to his physical tools and his physical ability, and he was a fit here from the school that he went to. He was a great fit and had the skills.”
Tremble will join fellow freshman George Takacs, who enrolled in January but missed the spring practices after undergoing cartilage surgery.
Both of those players will begin camp behind returning players Alize’ Mack, Cole Kmet, Nic Weishar, and Brock Wright.
Projection: I would imagine that Tremble will spend the season gaining weight and learning the nuances of football at this level and will redshirt, as the Irish have four experienced athletes ahead of him.
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) July 30, 2018
From a physical standpoint, Takacs (6-foot-6, 245 pounds) can get on the field today and hold his own with the Notre Dame veterans. However, he did miss the spring due to injury, so that may set him back from a learning curve perspective. However, what Takacs can do immediately is block, which helps his cause in getting on the field.
“George has spent a little more time with his hand on the ground,” Long said on National Signing Day.
A year ago, Long utilized sophomore Brock Wright in 11 games, but mostly as a blocker (fullback, if you will) in the offensive backfield in close-yardage situations. That same role could be handed to Takacs this season.
Despite his prominence as a blocker, Long said that as a senior in high school, Takacs began to expand his game outward to develop his “ball skills.”
“The good thing that I got to see this year with George was that he was split out wide and did a lot of good things in the passing game,” Long said.
Projection: I would assume due to his early enrolling, his physical maturity and the fact that he can block well, all of those traits will help Takacs get on the field this season and he will not redshirt.
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