Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet suffers broken collarbone in Thursday's practice

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

CULVER, Ind — Cole Kmet caught the touchdown pass from Phil Jurkovec during Thursday’s Notre Dame football practice at the Culver Academies, but that’s when the good news ended for the Irish.

Kmet, a junior tight end, landed awkwardly while fighting off tight coverage from safety Alohi Gilman. He received medical attention from trainers and later a cart ride away from the practice fields.

Word surfaced Thursday afternoon that Kmet broke his collarbone on that play, a source confirmed with the Tribune. The source indicated Kmet would be sidelined for three to six weeks, which could put the first few games of the season in jeopardy for Notre Dame’s starting tight end.

Irish Illustrated first reported Kmet’s broken collarbone.

Notre Dame’s coaching staff expected the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Kmet to play a big role in the offense this season. In March, head coach Brian Kelly said Kmet would catch a lot of footballs in 2019.

“He'll be a guy that we'll actually game plan (for) and certainly look at how he touches the football each and every week,” Kelly said in March. “We didn't do that last year."

Kmet’s spring also included left elbow soreness, which led to him cutting short his sophomore season on the Irish baseball team. Kmet pitched 18 2/3 innings with a 2.89 ERA, 27 strikeouts and only three walks.

As a sophomore tight end, Kmet caught 15 passes for 162 yards. He missed two games after suffering a high ankle sprain against Ball State.

Kmet’s absence will push fellow junior Brock Wright into the starting tight end role. Wright’s role last season was mostly limited to a short-yardage packages, which often featured him at fullback. He caught two passes for 12 yards and one touchdown.

Notre Dame only has two other scholarship tight ends on the roster: sophomores Tommy Tremble and George Takacs.

Notre Dame’s roster has already endured a few injuries in the first five practices of the preseason in Culver. Thursday marked the first in full pads and the last practice before Notre Dame resumes on campus Saturday.

At Thursday’s practice, freshman offensive tackle Quinn Carroll was sidelined with a brace covering his right leg, and sophomore running back Jahmir Smith participated with a blue cast on his left hand and wrist.

Carroll, a 6-7, 304-pound product of Edina (Minn.) High, suffered a significant knee injury, a source confirmed with the Tribune, and is expected to miss the 2019 season as a result.

Carroll likely wouldn’t have seen much playing time as a freshman, but he came to the Irish as a four-star recruit ranked among the top 20 offensive tackles in the country for the 2019 class by both Rivals and 247Sports.

The 5-11, 205-pound Smith broke a bone in his left hand earlier in camp, a source confirmed with the Tribune. Smith has been working behind Jafar Armstrong and Tony Jones Jr. with a chance to receive carries this season.

Irish Sports Daily first reported the news on both Carroll and Smith.

A handful of other Notre Dame players were sidelined for parts of Thursday’s practice, including cornerbacks Houston Griffith and Avery Davis, and safety DJ Brown.

Gilman sat out a late portion of practice as well after trainers tended to him.

Kelly should be able to provide additional details on his injured players when he meets with reporters following Saturday’s practice, as scheduled.

— Tribune staff writer Eric Hansen contributed reporting to this story.

Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet is expected to miss three to six weeks as a result of a broken collarbone injury, according to a Tribune source.