TE George Takacs preparing for move to Notre Dame
SAN ANTONIO — George Takacs recently purchased his first pair of boots. He bought a couple of heavy jackets too.
It’s all part of the process of his upcoming move from southwest Florida to northern Indiana. As the future Notre Dame tight end has been preparing for Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl this week, he’s kept an eye on the weather in South Bend.
The temperature at his future home dipped to -15 degrees on Tuesday.
“I'm getting ready the best I can,” Takacs said.
Takacs graduated early from Naples (Fla.) Gulf Coast in order to enroll at Notre Dame later this month. He leaves Florida on Jan. 13 with classes set to start on the 16th.
“I had nothing to stay in high school for,” Takacs said. “I had all my credits, so for me it was just making the decision to go early. I don't regret that at all.”
The 6-foot-6, 235-pound recruit has dealt with his share of adverse weather in the last few months. When Hurricane Irma hit Florida in September, it wiped out four games of his senior season. Fortunately for Takacs, the hurricane didn’t damage his family’s home. But it did knock over the scoreboard at Gulf Coast’s football field and left the bleachers unsafe for a couple of weeks.
“Everyone looked forward to the senior season as being this great thing,” Takacs said. “For me, it was a weird year. It could have been a lot worse.”
Takacs said his team lost more than three weeks of practice before resuming the season. As a result, he played in only seven games as senior. He gets to cap his career on Saturday at the Army Bowl in San Antonio.
“It's the best competition in the country in high school,” Takacs said. “It's been great to stack myself against those guys and compete."
Even if his season wasn’t cut a few games short because of Hurricane Irma, Takacs wasn’t going to get a lot of opportunities to showcase himself as a receiving tight end. The run-heavy Gulf Coast offense completed only 117 passes in seven games. Takacs caught 23 of them for 207 yards and one touchdown.
But Takacs has had plenty of time to develop as a blocker. He showed that prowess during practice Thursday when he planted defensive back Tyson Campbell into the ground.
Takacs takes pride in his blocking ability. He hopes it will allow him to find the field early in his Irish career.
“A lot of tight ends come to college and they're not really ready for the physicality of the game, because they never really blocked in high school,” Takacs said. “I've been doing that, and I think I'm pretty good at it."
Rivals rates Takacs as a four-star recruit and the No. 15 tight end in the 2018 class. 247Sports slates him as a three-star recruit and the No. 14 tight end in the class. If Takacs is going to meet or surpass those projections, he will have to prove himself as a threat in the passing game as well.
Takacs hasn’t been targeted a lot outside of one-on-one drills during the week, but has had the chance to work against some talented defensive backs.
"I'm doing a good job getting out, running in space, running routes on these top safeties and doing a good job getting open on them,” Takacs said. “It's been great. The speed of the game is completely different. It's been really good getting used to that before I head off to school.”
Notre Dame used all five of its scholarship tight ends in offensive coordinator Chip Long’s first season with the program. The group accounted for nearly 25 percent of the total receptions in the Irish offense (45 of 182).
The potential for that production was an attractive piece in Notre Dame’s pitch to Takacs.
"That was huge for me in my recruitment: finding an offense I know I'll be utilized in and will showcase everything I can do,” Takacs said. “A lot of schools don't play tight ends like that.”
A lot of schools don’t have quarterback recruits like Phil Jurkovec either. Takacs has been paired with Jurkovec, touted as one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the 2018 class, on the East team for the Army Bowl. Before this week, Takacs had only seen video of his future teammate in action.
“I saw his senior highlight tape when he posted it on Twitter,” Takacs said. “It's nuts. He's a great quarterback. I'm excited to get on campus with him.”
Jurkovec won’t arrive at Notre Dame until June. By that time Takacs should be able to put his boots back in the closet.