FRISCO, TEXAS — Michael Mayer and Drew Pyne met for the first time on Monday.
No one likely would have guessed that with how well the Notre Dame commits connected on the first day of The Opening Finals. Pyne found his potential future tight end often during one-on-one drills inside the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
All of Mayer’s routes during one-on-one work were thrown by Pyne. No other pair of commits had a better connection. Only one of Pyne’s handful of attempts to Mayer fell incomplete.
Notre Dame running back commit Chris Tyree also posted a strong day. ND Insider details below how all three Irish pledges performed.
• TE Michael Mayer, 6-5, 236; Park Hills (Ky.) Covington Catholic: Uncommitted recruits Arik Gilbert and Darnell Washington could make a case for being ranked as the nation’s best tight end. However, Mayer outperformed Gilbert, Washington and every other tight end competing.
Mayer felt dissatisfied with his 4.8 40-yard dash time. He made amends with his impressive one-on-one showing and hauled in four of his five targets. The lone incompletion came as a result of an underthrown pass, which helped the defender regain ground and breakup the pass.
The limited contact took away one of the best aspects to Mayer’s game — physicality. Even then, linebackers and defensive backs had a tough time covering Mayer. He created a decent amount of separation on each of his four deep receptions. Mayer’s quickness, footwork and route running are impressive at that size. His wide catch radius and ability to make acrobatic catches made it easy for Pyne to complete passes that would have normally been 50-50 balls.
Building muscle and improving his north-to-south speed should be the next steps for Mayer. He’s not as physically imposing as the 6-8, 248-pound Washington, but Mayer looked like the camp’s No. 1 tight end.
247Sports: Four stars, No. 1 TE, No. 88 overall | Rivals: Four stars, No. 3 TE, No. 71 overall
• QB Drew Pyne, 6-1, 196; New Canaan (Conn.) High: After Sunday’s third session, the Elite 11 Finals ascended Pyne to No. 5 overall among the 20 competing quarterbacks.
Pyne might descend after his poor showing in Monday night's long toss competition. Every quarterback chucked the football as far as they could in the event. Pyne’s throw of 49 yards traveled shorter than every other throw by at least three yards. His arm strength stands as a concern to recruiting analysts. Pyne also scratched his 40-yard dash.
One-on-one drills were completed with ease by Pyne, though, especially when he targeted Mayer. He’s consistent, controlled, accurate and poised when delivering throws from 15 yards and closer. He makes quick decisions that benefit receivers who can create early separation.
Pyne continues to put himself in position to garner a top 11 finish this week. 247Sports might reconsider its demotion of Pyne to three stars this offseason.
247Sports: Three stars, No. 13 PRO, No. 460 overall | Rivals: Four stars, No. 5 PRO, No. 82 overall
• RB Chris Tyree, 5-10, 185; Chester (Va.) Thomas Dale: Tyree put his speed on display, claiming the "fastest man" title for the second straight year at The Opening Finals.
Texas A&M wide receiver commit Demond Demas nearly bested Tyree in their 40-yard dash race. But a photo finish showed that Tyree came out with the slight edge. In the finals, Tyree defeated Ohio State receiver commit Julian Fleming by a wide margin.
Earlier in the day, Tyree registered a 4.37 40-yard dash and vertical of 40.8 inches. He also put a couple defenders on skates in one-on-one action, flashing his quickness and short burst in limited space.
It looks like Tyree still needs to add 10 or 15 pounds before he comes to college. An impressive showing in 7-on-7 action this week and a solid senior season could earn Tyree five-star status.
247Sports: Four stars, No. 1 APB, No. 53 overall | Rivals: Four stars, No. 1 APB, No. 64 overall
Chris Tyree (@chris_tyree4) wins the fastest man competition @TheOpening Finals for a second straight year. The #NotreDame RB commit beats Ohio State WR commit Julian Fleming by a decent margin. pic.twitter.com/7DeNwVeADS— Carter Karels (@CarterKarels) July 2, 2019
Quick note: Mayer and Pyne said they plan to enroll early in January. They intend to take official visits to Notre Dame’s Oct. 12 home game against USC. Tyree plans to join them on an unofficial visit, Pyne said.
• S Lathan Ransom, 6-1, 185; Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe Catholic: Notre Dame’s top safety target put an end to the rumors suggesting he's leaning heavily toward Ohio State. He told a scrum of reporters that he remains uncertain about his future.
Ransom narrowed his recruitment to three schools — Notre Dame, Ohio State and Texas. He plans to announce his commitment on July 16, which is his 17th birthday. Ransom took official visits last month to Notre Dame (June 7-9), Texas (June 14-16) and Ohio State (June 21-23).
"Honestly, those three schools all have a fair chance," Ransom said. "I did like my Ohio State visit a lot, but some people did take that as, ‘Oh, he’s going to Ohio State,’ and stuff like that. Notre Dame, Texas and Ohio State are all great schools and all schools I like a lot, so don’t take it as I’m going there right away.
"Notre Dame is one of the places that’s different. Not every school can offer what Notre Dame has to offer. It’s a great education, great alumni system and a great football program competing for a national championship every year.”
247Sports: Four stars, No. 2 S, No. 55 overall | Rivals: Four stars, No. 4 S, No. 70 overall