Film study: Notre Dame TE commit Cole Kmet

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

TE Cole Kmet, 6-5, 230; Arlington Heights (Ill.) St. Viator.

The numbers: Kmet caught 27 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns in his junior season at St. Viator. The Lions (1-8) did not qualify for the playoffs.

The rankings: 247Sports — Four stars, No. 4 tight end. Rivals — Four stars, No. 5 tight end.


First impression: Kmet is a two-way tight end who can play attached to the offensive line or spread out wide as a receiver. His frame is ideal for a college tight end. Kmet should be able to reach the high standard of Tight End U at Notre Dame.

Strengths: Size is Kmet’s best attribute, and he knows how to use it. He’s shown strength and toughness as a blocker and even as a defensive end. With the ball in his hands, he doesn’t go down easy. And he’s not afraid to make a tough catch in traffic. His length gives him a wide catch radius that he uses with solid body control. Kmet is a tough cover on a ball thrown high. He’s shown dependable hands through his high school career.

He did what? (:13) On a fade route to the back of the end zone, Kmet keeps the cornerback on his inside. He waits long enough to jump for the pass that the cornerback has already looked back and gets stuck in a position that he can’t jump as high as Kmet. He pulls in the ball and plants one foot in the ground as he falls to the turf for the touchdown … (:35) Kmet shows his downfield blocking skills on a wide receiver screen. He runs into the flat to cut off a linebacker and squares him up to drive the defender backward. When the linebacker tries to spin out of the block, Kmet stays with him and knocks him to the ground. His ability to adjust on the move is impressive … (3:51) The camera misses most of Kmet on the play but catches the tail end of his touchdown reception. Kmet is able to haul in a pass just inside the pylon by shielding off the cornerback on his inside and turning for the ball on his back shoulder. He brings one foot down in the end zone while pinning the ball to his chest. Great concentration from Kmet.

Competition level: Playing in the East Suburban Catholic Conference in the Chicago area, St. Viator’s schedule was filled with strong programs. In the 2015 season, the Lions went against five of the top 50 teams in Illinois, according to MaxPreps: Nazareth Academy (No. 3), Joliet Catholic (No. 8), Marist (No. 14), Niles Notre Dame (No. 27) and Marian Central Catholic (No. 50). Three of the top 20 recruits in Illinois for the 2016 class, according to Rivals, played in the conference: Iowa State OL signee Sean Foster, North Carolina TE signee Noah Turner and Notre Dame CB signee Julian Love. St. Viator rarely could match the talent level of its opponents, and struggled to get the ball to Kmet.

Left to prove: A boost in athleticism would nudge Kmet to the truly elite level as a tight end. Quicker bursts and more speed vertically could make him a really dangerous threat at the college level. Kmet can work on his route-running to make up for any of those deficiencies, but there’s no reason to believe that he can’t add an extra spring in his step as a receiver. For his sake, hopefully St. Viator can find a way to get him the ball more as a senior. If Kmet can add some speed and strength, there’s reason to believe he can be a two-way threat at Notre Dame. | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Junior tight end Cole Kmet committed to Notre Dame on Oct. 1, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Daily Herald/Mark Welsh)