Top 2018 TE Zack Kuntz set for Notre Dame return visit

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Many of the nation’s top high school tight ends eventually make a recruiting visit to Notre Dame.

Zack Kuntz, the No. 1 tight end in the 2018 class, will return for his second trip to South Bend on Saturday.

The 6-foot-7, 215-pound target headlines the list of young visitors expected to attend Notre Dame’s game against Duke.

The Irish already have commitments from two top tight ends in the 2017 class — Brock Wright (No. 1 on Rivals) and Cole Kmet (No. 3) — but that won’t stop them from pushing for more. Kuntz received a Notre Dame offer while visiting for the Blue-Gold Game in April.

“Zack Kuntz is the No. 1 tight end in the country for next year,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He has all the tools. He has great size. He kind of reminds me of Kyle Rudolph. He’s athletic, tall, has good hands and really good speed.”

Rudolph was the last No. 1 tight end in the country, according to Rivals rankings, to sign with Notre Dame, in 2008.

With the season-long absence of Alizé Jones, the Irish have lacked production from the tight end position in the first three games of the year. Durham Smythe has caught the only two passes by a tight end for 20 yards.

Help will be on the way with Wright and Kmet next season, but Kuntz may be a more prolific receiver than the two of them. As a sophomore at Camp Hill (Pa.) High, Kuntz recorded 49 receptions for 793 yards and 11 touchdowns.

That’s earned him a four-star rating and the No. 1 tight end spot in the 2018 class from Rivals and 247Sports. The production has also helped Kuntz land offers from the likes of Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Stanford.

Kuntz isn’t the only coveted receiving target expected on campus this weekend. Senior wide receiver Oliver Martin is scheduled to make an unofficial visit to Notre Dame.

Martin, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound product of Iowa City West, received a Notre Dame offer over the summer. Now the Irish are hoping to catch his commitment.

“He’s a good all-around athlete,” Lemming said. “He’s not really tall, but he has good size. He’s strong, and he runs through tackles. He’s very reliable as a receiver. Great hands.”

Notre Dame already has commitments from a pair of wide receivers in the 2017 class: Jordan Pouncey and Michael Young, both three-star recruits.

247Sports slates Martin as a four-star prospect and the No. 10 wide receiver in the class after an impressive showing at The Opening Finals in Nike World Headquarters. In addition to recording a 4.57-second time in the 40-yard dash, Martin jumped higher than any other receiver at the national recruiting camp. His jump of 41.6 inches registered behind only three players: running backs JK Dobbins, Darrian Felix and O’Maury Samuels.

But not everyone is sold on Martin as a top-notch target. Rivals ranks Martin as a three-star recruit and the No. 70 wide receiver in the class.

Martin, whose offer list includes Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon, Iowa and Wisconsin, caught 73 passes for 1,187 yards and 14 touchdowns last season as a junior.

VISITORS LIST

The following recruits are expected to visit Notre Dame for Saturday's game against Duke.

2017 targets

DT Jerron Cage

WR Oliver Martin

2018 target

TE Zack Kuntz

2017 prospects

OL Alex Caron

2018 prospects

OL Charles Allen

ATH Jairus Brents

K Josh Gorball

OL Ryan Hayes

DB Jayshon Jackson

LB Charlie Katshir

WR Travon King

ATH Dion Mack

CB Hydir Moore

LB Chris Oats

K Barret Pickering

WR Chance Pride

TE Jairo Ramos

DT Tahj Rice

LB Jack Sanborn

LB Jack Sirmon

WR Terez Traynor

2019 prospects

DE Jackson Hannah

ATH Shawnkel Knight-Goff

WR Stanley King

2020 prospects

DE Fadil Diggs

DB Muheem McCargo

Zack Kuntz, the No. 1 tight end in the 2018 class, will visit Notre Dame for the second time this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Student Sports)