Report: Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet Suffered Broken Collarbone Injury; Out 3-6 Weeks

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2019

FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2017, file photo, Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet, right, runs with the ball against Wake Forest defensive back Ja'Sir Taylor during the second half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly offered freshman tight end Cole Kmet a day off last Saturday. It came 12 hours after Kmet earned his third save of the season, striking out one and allowing one hit in two-thirds of an inning of Notre Dame’s 5-2 baseball victory over Wake Forest. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet broke his collarbone during the team's practice Thursday and is facing three to six weeks on the sidelines, according to Tom Loy of Irish Illustrated.

Kmet is expected to be an important part of Notre Dame's offense this season and got a shoutout from head coach Brian Kelly on Friday when asked about the players who could have the biggest impact on the offense during the 2019 season, per Loy:

"I hope there are 10 guys that can impact our football team. There are certainly a number of players, but I think you always look toward your veterans. Chase Claypool is going to be a guy that I think will make a huge impact on our football team. Cole Kmet, Brock Wright, I think there are a number of guys who are poised to have an impactful season. Like you guys, I'm excited to watch those guys get after it."

The junior tight end had a limited impact in 2018, catching 15 passes for 162 yards in 11 games. But offensive coordinator Chip Long said in the spring that getting the team's tight ends more involved this season was a major priority, per Loy:

"We have to work on (Kmet’s) fundamentals, but with his speed and size, he should absolutely dominate in the middle of the field...None of (the tight ends) broke any tackles last year, so I kind of got away from (throwing to them). That's been our No. 1 emphasis (this spring). The amount of yards we left out there is absolutely embarrassing.

"Being able to get yards after contact is a major emphasis as an offense. We have to be explosive. We had two plays over 50 yards last year and we went to the college football playoffs. That's very rare. I don't think last year we really scared anybody... and that caught up to us."

Namely, it caught up to them in the College Football Playoff, when they were blown out by Clemson 30-3 and managed just 248 yards of total offense and 160 yards through the air. It was a tough end to an otherwise excellent season for the 12-1 Fighting Irish, and expectations are high for 2019.

Expectations were high for Kmet too, though this injury will slow down that hype, at least temporarily. It's a disappointment for the junior, who has battled through injuries his first two seasons.

If he indeed misses any regular-season games, look for Brock Wright—who mostly served as a blocking H-back last season—to handle the tight end duties. Tommy Tremble and George Takacs could also see playing time, though Wright will be the clear favorite for the starting position while Kmet is sidelined.