Notre Dame Tight End, Wide Receiver 2022 Preview

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While the Irish’s quarterback situation may be hazy, the Notre Dame tight end and wide receiver position groupings are taking shape. Which players will be catching passes from Tyler Buchner or Drew Pyne next fall? Here’s a look at an early prediction of the depth chart.

Tight End

1st string: Michael Mayer

Not much of a shocker here. Michael Mayer returns as one of the best, if not the best, tight end in the country. He led the team with 71 receptions, and he will likely put up similar numbers in 2022, barring injury. There’s no mystery here, and there shouldn’t be surrounding Mayer.

2nd string: Mitchell Evans

This is definitely a bit of guesswork. The Notre Dame tight end room lost some stability with the transfer of George Takacs. That leaves a few inexperienced options to fill in the important second-string role. Mitchell Evans notched two receptions for 21 yards in 2021. He could increase that total slightly and play a big role as a blocking tight end. Don’t overlook junior Kevin Bauman, another very feasible option for this role. Evans and Bauman will both likely get solid reps behind Mayer throughout the season.

Name to Watch: Cane Berrong

It looked like Cane Berrong may get overshadowed by a pair of top tight end recruits entering in 2022. However, between an injury to Eli Raridon and Holden Staes not enrolling early, there’s a potential opening for Berrong. As aforementioned, that No. 2 tight end role is pretty open. Evans and Bauman probably have the inside track, but a solid spring from Berrong could put him in a position to challenge for snaps. The Irish have loved their multi-tight end sets for years now. So Berrong could find some opportunities next season.

Wide Receiver

1st String: Lenzy, Davis, Styles

For a wide receiver room that’s spent a lot of the last year under great scrutiny, this feels like a relatively stable situation. All three starters have starting experience. Avery Davis was on his way to a second straight consistent season before his season-ending injury. Braden Lenzy and Lorenzo Styles flashed their potential, and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees utilized them constantly in his first game without Brian Kelly. They figure to get a hefty load of targets next year. Davis can serve as the glue guy, the possession receiver role he’s filled so well since becoming a wide receiver.

All three receivers have fantastic speed and can be stretch targets for whoever is under center. But all three have demonstrated abilities in the slot, and they can also make a difference in gadget run plays. This starting trio offers a lot of weapons and diversity to the Irish attack. A Notre Dame offense that has felt one-dimensional in the past may finally have a diverse corps of receivers that can impact the game in a variety of ways.

2nd String: Wilkins, Colzie, Thomas

Joe Wilkins figures to be another steady veteran presence on the two-deep for Notre Dame. He was among the injury casualties last season, but if he can sure up his hands and be a reliable route runner, Wilkins could be a huge depth piece for the Irish. His presence is also key on a young projected second string, with sophomores Deion Colzie and Jayden Thomas sitting on the two-deep. Thomas took a redshirt his freshman season but showed promising development. In a thin Irish receiving corps, he should have an opportunity to step up. The same can be said for Colzie, who is of similar size to current Pittsburgh Steeler Chase Claypool. The Irish would love to have that kind of physical mismatch on the outside again. Colzie can become that guy, he just needs more experience.

Name to watch: Tobias Merriweather

The only wide receiver commit in the 2022 class, Tobias Merriweather could be an instant impact player. However, he’s not included in the current projected two-deep because he’s not enrolled early. It’s tough to overcome a missed spring and then still get significant playing time early as a true freshman. However, Merriweather has the speed and potential to crack the two-deep. Just probably not at the start of his career.

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