Notre Dame tight end Tommy Tremble declares early for NFL Draft

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame tight end Tommy Tremble will forgo his senior season and declare early for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Tremble announced the news via social media Thursday and wrote in his post that it was “not a decision I came to easily.” He’s the 19th true junior in program history to enter the NFL Draft since the league started accepting underclassmen in 1989.

Tight end Cole Kmet was the last Irish player to declare early as a true junior. The Chicago Bears selected him in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

The 6-foot-4, 248-pound Tremble made a name for himself as a featured blocker in Notre Dame’s offense this season. He also brought multiplicity. The Irish used him in various ways, including at fullback.

But splitting time with true freshman phenom Michael Mayer ultimately capped Tremble’s opportunities in the passing game this season. Tremble ranked sixth among Notre Dame pass catchers with 19 receptions for 218 yards across 12 games. Mayer turned 42 receptions into 450 yards and two touchdowns.

The Irish took a chance on Tremble when signing him as a three-star recruit in the 2018 class. Tremble suffered a gruesome foot injury during his senior season at Norcross (Ga.) Wesleyan School. Yet Notre Dame honored his verbal commitment.

That decision paid off, but not before Tremble overcame some early adversity. He arrived to campus in June 2018 undersized at his position. He did not play in year one. During preseason camp before the 2019 season, Tremble struggled with hydration and vomiting.

Then Tremble broke out in a niche receiving role as a sophomore. He ranked fourth on the team with 16 catches for 183 yards and four scores. As a junior, Tremble assumed more responsibilities because of his improvement as a blocker.

“Honestly, I just love contact,” Tremble said in September. “I love playing the game of football. It's just pure passion for me. Every time I'm out on the field, I want to just be dominant. I try my best to."

Irish tight end Brock Wright also plans to pursue an NFL career next season. He carved a role as a niche blocking tight end, catching only three passes for 21 yards in 2020.

Next season, Mayer figures to receive a significant workload. Who the main contributors behind Mayer will be remains unclear. Notre Dame embraced multiple tight end sets in its offense under coordinator Tommy Rees.

Junior George Takacs (five career catches for 42 yards and a touchdown) and true freshman Kevin Bauman (one reception for five yards) are set to return to the Irish tight end group. Notre Dame will add two three-star tight ends it signed in the 2021 recruiting class: Cane Berrong and Mitchell Evans.

The Irish losing Tremble added to their considerable offseason attrition list.

As of Thursday, Notre Dame will lose all five captains from last season. The Irish likely return only four starters on offense: offensive lineman Jarrett Patterson, running back Kyren Williams, wide receiver Avery Davis and Mayer. They also lost five starters on defense, including unanimous All-American linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (NFL) and third-team All-ACC cornerback Nick McCloud (NFL).

The following Irish players also intend to transfer: center Colin Grunhard (Kansas), running back Jahmir Smith, wide receiver Jafar Armstrong, cornerback Isaiah Rutherford (Arizona), safety Houston Griffith, linebacker Jack Lamb and defensive end Ovie Oghoufo.

Notre Dame tight end Tommy Tremble (24) is greeted by fans as he leaves the field following the Camping World Bowl on Dec. 28, 2019 in Orlando, Fla.