Michael Mayer headed to the NFL, opts out of Notre Dame’s appearance in the Gator Bowl Isaiah Foskey heads to NFL, joining Michael Mayer in opting out of Notre Dame’s Gator Bowl appearance Notre Dame lands dazzling athlete recruit, Brandyn Hillman, with signing day just two weeks away Things We Learned This Season: Notre Dame’s culture created progress, though inexperience begat losses Leftovers & Links: Transfer portal opens fast, but slow for Notre Dame … for now; Mayer & Foskey status TBD


The highest-scoring tight end in Notre Dame history ends his Irish career with a catch in each of the 36 games he has played, a testament to his consistency despite the defense knowing he plays more than not. Junior Michael Mayer announced Wednesday that he will enter the NFL Draft despite having two years of eligibility left and will miss Game 21 of the Notre Dame Gator Bowl (December 30; 3:30 AM ET; ABC) vs. No. 19 South Carolina.

Mayer holds the record for all career and season records in Irish history. It’s an extraordinary feat when he realized that Notre Dame was called “TE U” for a reason, partly why he went to South Bend in the first place.

“I really enjoyed my visit to Notre Dame” Mayer told ESPN. “The first reason I chose Notre Dame was the NFL, I thought about it for a very, very long time. I’ve seen a lot of good NFL endings from Notre Dame. That was one of the main reasons I went there.”

Mayer has caught 67 passes for 809 yards and nine touchdowns in 2022, all of which have outpaced the Irishman, though no other receiving threat has consistently taken the spotlight off the All-American.

He finishes his career with 180 catches in 36 games for 2,099 yards and 18 touchdowns. Only Michael Floyd (271) and TJ Jones (181) More passes have been caught in Notre Dame’s history, taking both of them four years.

Without Mayer vs. Gamecocks, sophomore Mitchell Evans he will most likely get a start, possibly his first extended role outside of quarterback, who has been successful 6 of 8 times this season. Evans has yet to catch a pass this season, although he had two passes for 21 yards as a freshman.

In addition to his increased role, offensive coordinator Tommy Rhys can refer to his three runners more often when queuing up on sophomores Logan Diggs or junior Chris Tyree in the slot in Mayer’s absence, while one or two other defenders remain in the rear.

Next season the Irish will have some difficult moments that the current juniors will have to face. Kevin Baumansophomore Kane Burrong and freshman That is, Redon Joined by Evans, everyone is finally in full health after various injuries limited to each of three in the past calendar year. Freshman Holden Stace will be in this mix as well.

In some NFL draft previews, Mayer is listed as one of the top 10, and even if he doesn’t rise that high, he should be the tightest end in Notre Dame history. IN 2013, Tyler Eiffert was selected 21st overall by the Cincinnati Bengals.

A year ago, Florida product Kyle Pitts was selected No. 4 overall, meaning Mayer is unlikely to set a new standard for the position.

The Notre Dame career leader in sacks will no longer break a single-season record by finishing first on defense. Isaiah Fosky announcing on Thursday that he will be heading to the NFL and will miss Ireland’s 21st Gator Bowl (December 30; 3:30 AM ET; ABC) against No. 19 South Carolina.

The All-American ends his career at Notre Dame with 26.5 sacks, breaking Justin Tuck’s record of 24.5 sacks set nearly 20 years ago.

When Fosky returned for the 2022 season, his stated goals were to win the national championship and break Tak’s single-season record. He never had the guts to chase the last mark of 13.5, finishing with 11 for the second straight season.

A cynic might point out that Tuck played in fewer games than Fosky, but both were redshirted in their rookie seasons, Fosky was simply allowed to include four games, nominal performances for him, as he made five tackles. In three seasons of real action, Fosky has outpaced Tak, he just hasn’t had a single dominant season in the process. On a per-game basis over those three years, Fosky recorded 0.72 sacks per game, 0.68 ahead of Taka.

Fosky ends his career with 122 tackles, including 31.5 for losses. He led the country in 2021 with an astonishing six forced fumbles, adding another in 2022.

Without Fosca vs. Gamecocks, fifth year Justin Ademilola could get the starting nod, a precursor to his 2023 role, if he decides to return for another season. Older And Priest-Mensah may also begin, also a possible omen of a defensive front in 2023.

There may be some concern about the future depth of the defensive line, but the Irish have always expected Fosky to move on after this season. To be fair, his return in 2022 was itself considered uncertain. There is a lot of talent in Notre Dame’s defense hall, perhaps the most talented positional group on the list, but admittedly inexperienced.

Adding one or two transfer portals can help with this, like Chris Smith’s defensive tackle from Harvard this season.

Fosky may not have dominated enough this season to be a first-round pick, but he needs to make sure he comes out on day two.

The last Irish fullback to be drafted was Ade Ogundeji in the fifth round in 2021, just 11 picks after Daelin Hayes. The latter was selected as highly as in the second round. Stephon Tuitt with 46th overall pick in 2014.

The early signing period opens in two weeks, and Notre Dame hasn’t finished replenishing its class yet. Rivals.com three-star athlete Brandin Hillman (Churchland High School; Portsmouth, VA) joined the Irish class of 2023 on Wednesday afternoon, while rejecting offers from North Carolina Tech, Kentucky and Virginia.

Hillman’s hiring process was unique, also including offers from USC, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, as well as closer offers such as Virginia, West Virginia, and Boston College.

Hillman had none of those offers three months ago, startlingly late for a man who is expected to sign a contract in two weeks. In less than one week in September, Hillman turned down only one FCS scholarship offer from Norfolk State. During the week, nine proposals were received by FBS. In mid-October, he visited South Bend, watching Notre Dame surrender to Stanford.

Some of this may be groupthink, with one school following the lead of another in uncovering hidden talents, but Hillman’s spring and early summer recruit camps brought him to the attention of those schools. On a test of physical ability, Hillman’s abilities were evident.

He was reportedly pursued by the Irish with open thoughts about where he would play, offensive or defensive. In high school, he played both quarterback and cornerback, and at 6’1 and 200 pounds, he could easily adapt to the role of running back, receiver, or defensive back.

Looking at his best moments, Hillman’s abilities are almost comical compared to his high school rivals. In fact, let’s skip the usual 2-3 paragraph summation of these clips and instead just post the notes we took while watching with a little editing.

Source: irish.nbcsports.com