No tight end to sign with Notre Dame in the Brian Kelly Era has finished with a higher recruiting ranking on 247Sports or Rivals than Michael Mayer.
The Park Hills (Ky.) Covington Catholic product received a bump to five-star status in 247Sports’ final updated player rankings of the 2020 recruiting class Tuesday. He’s now the No. 2 tight end behind LSU signee Arik Gilbert and comes in at No. 23 overall after ascending 46 spots.
The 6-foot-4, 232-pound Mayer became Notre Dame's highest-ranked signee among the 17 after Tuesday’s update. His bump comes after being named Kentucky’s Gatorade Player of the Year and a standout performance at the All-American Bowl last month.
Offensive linemen Tosh Baker and Michael Carmody, wide receiver Jordan Johnson, running back Chris Tyree and defensive end Jordan Botelho also appeared among the Top 247 overall players.
“When you consider the season Mayer had as the Gatorade Player of the Year in Kentucky and add that to his obvious physical traits and his standout performances in every major event he’s attended,” wrote Barton Simmons, the director of scouting for 247Sports, “five-star (status) seemed obvious.”
Mayer came close to reaching five-star distinction in Rivals’ final updated rankings last week, finishing two spots short at No. 36 overall and No. 3 at his position. Only two tight ends to sign with Notre Dame since the inception of Rivals' player rankings in 2002 have achieved a higher ranking on either recruiting site: Greg Olsen (2003) and Kyle Rudolph (2009).
Both Olsen and Rudolph went onto appear in multiple Pro Bowls, though the former transferred to Miami before his freshman season. Rivals pegged Olsen as a five-star tight end, slating him No. 2 at his position and No. 10 overall. Rudolph also garnered five-star recognition on Rivals, ranking as its No. 1 tight end and No. 20 overall player.
Mayer is the only Irish tight end signee since to have finished his recruiting cycle ranked among the top 40 overall players. Notre Dame tight end Brock Wright stands as the next closest. Rivals ranked Wright as its top tight end and No. 44 overall in the 2017 class.
Four of the other five Irish signees in the Top 247 dropped at least 12 overall spots. Tyree suffered the most significant plunge, descending 76 overall spots after flirting with five-star status for the last two years. He’s now the No. 2 all-purpose back at No. 137 overall.
Tyree dropped 35 overall spots to No. 78 on Rivals last week. The speedster out of Chester (Va.) Thomas Dale clocked a 4.37 40-yard dash last offseason, but his durability and size at 5-10, 185 pounds became a concern for recruiting analysts. He missed four games in 2019 with a middle-grade high ankle sprain.
Baker also descended after missing time. He suffered an MCL sprain in his knee during the first practice of the All-American Bowl. He sat out for the rest of that week and the Polynesian Bowl two weeks ago. He dropped 12 overall spots to No. 56 and ranks as the No. 4 offensive tackle. Rivals plunged Bakers 88 spots to No. 136 overall.
247Sports now ranks Botelho as its No. 4 inside linebacker and No. 64 overall player after dropping him 21 spots. He sat out two high school all-star games — the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series game on Dec. 21 in Las Vegas and the All-American Bowl — due to an off-the-field altercation. The October incident did not result in a revocation of Botelho’s scholarship at Notre Dame.
Carmody dropped the second-most among the Irish signees, plunging 39 spots to No. 148 overall. The Mars (Pa.) Area product now comes in as the No. 12 offensive tackle. 247Sports differed with Rivals’ five-star rating of Johnson but bumped him two spots to No. 61 overall as its No. 11 wide receiver.
Defensive lineman Rylie Mills, wide receiver Xavier Watts and cornerback Ramon Henderson were notable omissions in the Top247 after they neared that territory. Notre Dame’s 2020 class now ranks No. 18 nationally on 247Sports.
To see the Top247 rankings, click here.