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Fighting Irish positional analysis - tight ends

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Returning TE Tyler Eifert
In the fourth of a 13-part series, looking at each position prior to signing day on Feb. 1, here is a quick rundown of the tight ends those departed, those still on hand, those recruited, what the future holds among current junior recruits, and what the future holds at the position.

(Note: The number listed in parenthesis is the years of eligibility remaining and the listing of a player's class is based upon the upcoming 2012 season.)

ON THE ROSTER

Tight ends departed: Mike Ragone
Tight ends returning: Sr.-Jake Golic (2), Sr.-Tyler Eifert (2), Jr.-Alex Welch (3), Soph.-Ben Koyack (3)
Possible position switch: Junior-to-be Daniel Smith has the frame to move to the position, but he is a wide receiver, and with Michael Floyd gone, Smith is a candidate for the W position after an injury-filled sophomore year.
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2012 TARGETS

Committed TE recruits: None
TE offers (2011-12): Kent Taylor (Land O'Lakes, Fla.; Florida commit), Taylor McNamara (San Diego, Calif.; Oklahoma commit), Sean Price (Citra, Fla.; South Florida commit), Laith Harlow (Tallahassee, Fla.; Oklahoma commit), Justin Meredith (Anderson, S.C.; Tennessee commit)
TEs on the ND board: None

2013 TARGETS

Junior tight ends offered (2012-13): Adam Breneman (Camp Hill, Pa.), Mike Heuerman (Naples, Fla.)

ANALYSIS

Notre Dame received a verbal commitment from one of the top-rated tight end in the country in early-January - senior-to-be Tyler Eifert - who chose to use his third year of eligibility in 2012 instead of entering his name in the NFL draft.

Eifert will join fellow senior Jake Golic, junior Alex Welch and sophomore Ben Koyack as the only tight ends on the roster in 2012, which is a bit slim but still a talented group.

The Irish pursued the nation’s No. 1-rated tight end, Kent Taylor, but never made much headway, and he verbally committed to Florida. Notre Dame reportedly backed away from San Diego tight end prospect Tyler McNamara, and he committed verbally to Oklahoma.

It will be interesting to see how Welch and Koyack develop with Eifert still on board. In 2011, they served mainly as blocking/H-back tight ends whose job was to help bolster Notre Dame’s rushing attack. Neither figure to get too many snaps at the Y (slot) position as long as Eifert is on the roster. But someone has to be groomed for the role in 2013

Notre Dame will need to bolster the tight end position in next year’s recruiting class, and Mike Heuerman, a Naples, Fla., product, was the first to receive an offer from the Irish. Presently, Miami and Purdue are his other two offers. Adam Breneman from Pennsylvania also has been offered.

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