Notre Dame football tight end Alizé Mack has the talent to be one of the top tight ends in college football.
One of the more frustrating situations to watch unfold in regard to Notre Dame football over the last couple of years is the saga of tight end Alizé Mack. The 6-5, 245-pound tight end is both physically and athletically everything you could ever want at the position. He simply has not lived up to his potential in South Bend — on or off the field.
Heading into 2018 Mack will have every opportunity to seize the starting tight end role and put up some pretty decent stats. He will be challenged by some up-and-coming talent on the depth chart behind him, but if he can stay out of trouble and healthy throughout the Spring and Summer, Mack should be a sure thing in the Irish starting lineup come Fall.
The good news: He’s stayed out of the dog house so far since his bowl game suspension.
As far as stats go this coming season, we can project Mack’s numbers by using the projections we have for Brandon Wimbush and the Irish passing attack in 2018.
Last year, Notre Dame tight ends caught 45 passes for 476 yards and four touchdowns. If we increase the receptions by 15 percent due to an expectation that Wimbush will throw the ball more, we end up with around 52 receptions by tight ends. Assuming Mack wins the starting role and gets 80 percent of those grabs, he will account for roughly 42 receptions on his own. If we round his yards per reception number of 8.7 in 2017 up to 9.0 in 2018, we’re looking at Mack putting up 378 receiving yards.
Additionally, functioning under the assumption that Mack will see more targets in the red zone, it would not be unreasonable to project him having six touchdown catches in 2018.
That stat line — 42 receptions for 378 yards and six touchdowns — would have put Mack in the upper-middle tier amongst all tight ends at the FBS level from a statistical production standpoint in 2017. That’s not all that bad considering how heavily Notre Dame leans on the run.
Regardless of that stats Alizé Mack actually puts up, there’s no question that the Irish will be better with him on the field during the 2018 season, giving opposing defenses one more dangerous weapon to account for when the face Notre Dame.