Notre Dame's tight end depth takes another hit with Cane Berrong's season-ending injury
Notre Dame football couldn’t escape the bye week without an injury.
During practice on Tuesday, freshman tight end Cane Berrong tore the ACL in his right knee, a source confirmed with ND Insider. Irish Sports Daily first reported the season-ending injury Friday morning.
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Berrong played his most meaningful snaps of the season in limited action for Notre Dame’s offense in last Saturday’s 32-29 win at Virginia Tech. Berrong was elevated to third string on the tight end depth chart with starter Michael Mayer sidelined by a hip adductor strain.
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Though Mayer should be able to return to play in No. 14 Notre Dame’s next game against USC on Oct. 23 (7:30 p.m. ET on NBC), the Irish will be without freshman tight end Mitchell Evans for the first half of the USC game due to the targeting penalty called against him in the second half against Virginia Tech.
If Mayer isn’t healthy enough to play for Notre Dame (5-1) against USC (3-3), the Irish could have only one scholarship tight end available for the first half: senior George Takacs, who started in Mayer’s absence against Virginia Tech.
The Irish have been playing without sophomore tight end Kevin Bauman since he broke his fibula in the season opener at Florida State. Head coach Brian Kelly said last week Bauman remained on schedule for a six-week recovery from the injury, which could allow him to return to the lineup soon.
When Takacs caught a 15-yard pass on Notre Dame’s game-winning drive in the final two minutes against Virginia Tech, he became the first tight end not named Mayer to catch a pass for the Irish this season. Despite missing the Virginia Tech game, Mayer leads Notre Dame in receptions (32) and receiving yards (360) and is tied for a team-high with three touchdown receptions.
Berrong enrolled at Notre Dame in February as a three-star recruit out of Hartwell (Ga.) Hart County. 247Sports slated him as the No. 31 tight end in the 2021 class. Rivals ranked him No. 35 at the position.
Follow ND Insider Tyler James on Twitter: @TJamesNDI.