Quarterback Drew Pyne started Notre Dame’s 2020 recruiting class in April.
Now he’ll have someone to catch his passes.
Four-star tight end Kevin Bauman announced his verbal commitment to Notre Dame on Wednesday. The news from Bauman came a day after three-star linebacker Jack Kiser announced his Notre Dame commitment in the 2019 class.
The 6-foot-5, 232-pound Bauman wrapped up his Notre Dame recruitment in short order. After receiving an offer from the Irish on May 25, he made an unofficial visit to campus June 2 with his parents. Eleven days later, he gave his pledge.
"It's really a place where I see myself not only as a football player but as a student," Bauman said. "The football speaks for itself. The program — from the strength training to the academic support to the team on the field — it all comes together perfectly."
Bauman attends Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic, a school with ties to Notre Dame, most recently with Irish offensive guard Quenton Nelson, who became an All-American at Notre Dame after attending the Catholic high school in New Jersey. But the two schools also shared a benefactor in Frank Eck, a graduate of both Red Bank Catholic and Notre Dame.
Eck, who died in 2007, contributed more than $55 million to Notre Dame for various projects including the Eck Institute for Global Health, Eck Hall of Law, Frank Eck Baseball Stadium, Eck Tennis Pavilion and the Eck Center.
The similarities between the two schools captivated Bauman.
"From the minute we walked on campus, we felt it. It was special," Bauman said. "You kind of just felt the connection coming from Red Bank Catholic where a lot of the tradition is similar. The fact that it's a Catholic university appeals a lot to me personally. I'm a big person of faith."
As a sophomore at Red Bank Catholic, Bauman caught 19 passes for 380 yards and five touchdowns. He earned early offers from the likes of Michigan, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Boston College and West Virginia. 247Sports slates Bauman as the No. 2 tight end in the 2020 class.
“He’s very athletic, and he can run,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He does everything well. He’s a smooth athlete with long arms and strong hands. If you’re a tight end averaging 20 yards a catch, that means you have talent.”
Bauman has already started to develop a relationship with Pyne, his future quarterback.
"We've been talking a lot the past few days," Bauman said. "We've gotten really close already."
The two commitments in the 2020 class have earned Notre Dame a No. 7 class ranking from 247Sports. Rivals has yet to numerically rank players in the 2020 class.
Bauman spent most of his visit on campus with Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chip Long, who also coaches the tight ends. Among other things, they discussed how he'd fit in the offense and how Long likes to utilize the position.
"We clicked. We got along extremely well," Bauman said. "I loved getting to spend the day with him."
Notre Dame does not have a tight end commitment in the 2019 class ahead of Bauman. Most of the previously offered targets have been looking elsewhere.
The Irish signed a pair of tight ends in the 2017 and 2018 classes with Brock Wright, Cole Kmet, George Takacs and Tommy Tremble. Long may be pushing do the same in the 2020 class.
Four-star tight end Michael Mayer was the first 2020 tight end to add a Notre Dame offer in December. He visited the Irish this past weekend.
Regardless if Mayer gets added to Notre Dame's class, the Irish are in good shape early at the position with Bauman. Even if he didn't expect a commitment to come so soon.
"Honestly, I can't say I came into this saying, 'Yeah, I'm going to commit as a sophomore,'" Bauman said. "But I know that I definitely made the right choice, and I'm so excited."
God. Country. Notre Dame.— Kevin Bauman (@kbauman3) June 13, 2018
I am beyond blessed and excited to announce that I am committed to The University of Notre Dame to continue my academic and athletic career. #IrishBouNDXX #GoIrish☘️ pic.twitter.com/qGNsDZuP5d
The RBC ➡️ ND pipeline continues! Congrats Kevin, keep working. https://t.co/vpfzACtdaU— Quenton Nelson (@BigQ56) June 13, 2018