(Photo by Chad Ryan for Fighting Irish Preview)

Michael Mayer, frequently referred to on these pages as the World’s Greatest College Tight End, announced through his twitter account that he will forgo his final two years of eligibility (senior year plus pandemic year) and enter the 2023 NFL draft. He will not play in the December 30 Gator Bowl game against South Carolina. The decision came as no real surprise.

“It’s been an honor to wear the Gold helmet and share a locker room with my brothers the last three years.” Mayer wrote. “The time has come for me to start the next chapter of my career,” he added.

Mayer holds every meaningful career tight end career record at Notre Dame, including most receptions (180), touchdowns (18) and yards (2,099). He holds virtually every school tight end, game and season record as well.

Mayer, who entered Notre Dame as a top-100 recruit from Covington Catholic (Ky.) High School in 2020 hit the ground as a starter his freshman year in that season’s first game against Duke. Beginning with that game, he has played in 37 consecutive games and has notched at least one reception in each.

In what was perhaps his most impressive game, against BYU this year, he looked virtually unstoppable and had 11 catches for 112 yards and two TDs. It was after the BYU performance that Fighting Irish Preview bestowed upon him the well earned title of World’s Greatest College Football Tight End.

In what will now be remembered as his last game in an ND uniform, at USC, Mayer had eight catches for 98 yards and two TDs.

Mayer is widely expected to be the first tight end selected in the 2023 NFL draft. Most analysts project him as a first round selection.

The Notre Dame tight end room remains well stocked, all though injuries have had an impact this season. Sophomore Mitchell Evans, who missed the first five games has seen extensive action since and has earned a reputation as a “quarterback sneak” artist. Kevin Bauman is a junior with three years of eligibiity left. Eli Rairdon and Holden Staes are highly thought of freshman. Sophomores Cane Berrong and Davis Sherwood round out the roster. Both Bauman and Staes have missed most of 2022 with knee injuries. 4-star Cooper Flanigan will arrive with the 2023 recruiting class.

It is hard to imagine that any of the aforementioned names will have similar impact to what Michael Mayer has had. But Notre Dame has rightfully earned the nickname “Tight End U”, for some good reasons. Since 2000, 14 Notre Dame tight ends have been selected in the NFL draft. Four are currently on NFL rosters, Cole Kmet, Tommy Tremble, Durham Smythe and Kyle Rudolph.

In a few months Mayer will join that group and get to work on establishing himself as the World’s Greatest NFL Tight End.

Don’t bet against him.

ByPhil Houk

For over 25 years, bringing you the glory of Notre Dame football.

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