Michael Mayer and friends make Notre Dame tight end corps deep, dangerous

Mike Berardino
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND ― George Takacs was no fool.

Before entering the portal and resurfacing at Boston College as a graduate transfer last spring, the former four-star tight end recruit from Florida no doubt took a look at his competition at Notre Dame and did some quick mental calculations.

Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer (87) during the Notre Dame Blue-Gold Spring Football game on Saturday, April 23, 2022, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.

Even if you take All-America candidate Michael Mayer out of the equation – as opposing defenses no doubt will scheme to do all season – there’s a long line of rising stars behind him on the depth chart. For all of Takacs’ experience, those eight receptions for 78 yards and two touchdowns in three seasons probably weren’t going to be enough to hold off the tidal wave of young talent.

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Redshirt sophomore Kevin Bauman is healthy again after missing the bulk of last season following surgery to repair a fractured fibula. Redshirt freshman Cane Berrong is back after missing spring practice while recovering from a torn ACL.

“He’s really changed his body since I’ve been here,” new tight ends coach Gerad Parker said of Berrong. “He’s got great soft hands. He catches the football easy.”

Sophomore Mitchell Evans, best known for a rare targeting penalty while run blocking at Virginia Tech, should return during the season after undergoing July 14 surgery to repair a broken foot. When Evans returns, his ability to stretch the field should prove useful.

“He’s got a chance to be a special route runner,” Parker said. “Mitch has got really unlimited resources in the pass game.”

Kevin Bauman during Notre Dame football practice Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021 at the Irish Athletic Center in South Bend.

June enrollees Eli Raridon (West Des Moines, Iowa) and Holden Staes (Atlanta) have four-star potential as well. Raridon, who has made a rapid return after blowing out his knee on the basketball court in December, is the son of former Notre Dame long snapper Scott Raridon Jr. and grandson of former Irish strength coach Scott Raridon Sr.

Tight ends depth chart87 | Michael Mayer | 6-5 | 251 | Jr. (3L)84 | Kevin Bauman | 6-5, 242 | Jr. (3L)88 | Mitchell Evans | 6-5, 250 | Fr. (4L)80 | Cane Berrong | 6-4, 235 | So. (4L)9 | Eli Raridon | 6-7, 240 | Fr. (4L)85 | Holden Staes | 6-4, 224 | Fr. (4L)

Mike Berardino covers Notre Dame football for the South Bend Tribune and NDInsider.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBerardino.