You only have to look at Notre Dame's starting tight ends the past two years, Tyler Eifert and Kyle Rudolph, to know that the Fighting Irish are no strangers to standout players at the position.
That's why it wasn't a surprise that Notre Dame pursued 4-star tight end Durham Smythe this year, despite having three juniors and two other 2013 recruits at the position.
Now that the Fighting Irish have landed Smythe, it's only going to make them better moving forward.
Notre Dame not only has juniors Troy Niklas, Ben Koyack and Alex Welch at tight end, it also landed 4-star recruit Mike Heuerman and 3-star recruit Jacob Matuska in 2013. But while it may seem the Fighting Irish are overloaded at tight end, this only makes the team deeper and more talented at the position.
Niklas and Koyack, 4-star recruits in 2011, both spent the most time with Notre Dame's second team in 2012 while Eifert locked down the starting spot. Alex Welch, a 4-star recruit in 2010, suffered a torn ACL and missed the 2012 campaign, but could legitimately enter the mix in 2013.
Combined with Heuerman and Matuska, there will be plenty of players trying to show they are capable of succeeding Eifert.
There's nothing like a little competition to motivate players to work their tails off in the offseason. On top of that, incorporating these players into multiple tight-end sets will give starting quarterback Everett Golson more options in the passing game and only aid his development under center.
Notre Dame may not have another Tyler Eifert or Kyle Rudolph in 2013, but the depth at the position figures to be an asset for the football team. The hardest part will be determining who gets the most reps and finding a way to blend the talented tight ends into the mix.
If anything, the Fighting Irish have some youngsters to develop until it's their time to shine, whether it be in 2013 or down the road.
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