Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 85 George Takacs, senior tight end, ‘152 years old’

George Takacs
Notre Dame Athletics
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Listed measurements: 6-foot-6, 245 pounds.
2021-22 year, eligibility: A senior, Takacs still has three years of eligibility remaining since he did not play as a freshman and the universal pandemic waiver made it so he might as well not have in 2020. There is virtually no chance Notre Dame would welcome Takacs back as a sixth-year player in 2022, given the coming roster crunch due to that waiver, but he will be eligible, nonetheless.
Depth Chart: One thing is sure among the Irish tight ends: Sophomore Michael Mayer will lead the way. Takacs needs to beat out sophomore Kevin Bauman and early-enrolled freshmen Cane Berrong and Mitchell Evans for the contributing role of No. 2, something that seems likely but by no means will Notre Dame defer to an elder statesman at tight end if a younger option has earned more playing time.
Recruiting: A rivals.com four-star prospect and U.S. Army All-American, Takacs could have gone to Georgia, Wisconsin or his homestate Georgia when the No. 15 tight end in the class chose the Irish.

CAREER TO DATE
Takacs saw nominal duty as a sophomore in 2019 after spending his freshman year on the sidelines. That mop-up work was highlighted by an impressive touchdown catch at Duke.

Last year, Takacs was Notre Dame’s third tight end, meaning whenever Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees wanted to use a jumbo package in the red zone, Takacs was called upon. He was rarely a piece of the passing game, but via that jumbo package, Takacs did play in 10 games in 2020, taking 67 snaps.

2019: 6 games, 2 catches, 12 yards, 1 touchdown.
2020: 10 games, 3 catches, 30 yards.

NAME, IMAGE, LIKENESS
This is just good caption work.

QUOTE
Not mentioned in that “career to date” is that Takacs caught three passes for 32 yards in the Blue-Gold Game to start May. All three receptions came from presumptive starting quarterback Jack Coan, with Takacs serving as the No. 1 tight end while star sophomore Michael Mayer sat on the sidelines (in pads, a precautionary day of rest).

Spring finales should be taken as only possible harbingers of coming seasons, but it was Takacs’ first chance to date to showcase his ability, and he succeeded in that chance.

“It was nice to see old man George out there today,” head coach Brian Kelly said, jokingly referring to the senior as a 152-year-old. “George is an undervalued player on our roster. He can make plays for us. He’s a talented player, and it was nice to see him have some success. I think he’s going to have more success moving forward.”

Tight end is not usually a slow-growth position at Notre Dame, not like both the defensive line and offensive line have successfully proven to be. But Takacs serves as a reminder that development can occur at any position. To Rees, his slow growth is a bit of a template.

“You look at a guy like George Takacs and he can be a great model for what a developmental player looks like at Notre Dame,” Rees said last month. “You come in as a freshman, not ready to play yet. Sophomore year, still developing. Last year, he took some steps in the right direction where you say George is going to have a role for us next year. He’s a guy that’s come in and he’s owned that role right now.

“He’s done a really nice job of being the [number 2] tight end in some of our 12 personnel packages and been able to go in there as the single tight end in 11. He’s continued to develop his passing game. In terms of being at the point of attack, he’s done a really nice job of being a lead tight end.”

WHAT WAS SAID TWO YEARS AGO
The idea is not to often quote the last complete rendition of “Notre Dame 99-to-0,” being two years old and two seasons removed from present realities, but when it is applicable and can serve as a small pat on the back, let’s go ahead and indulge …

“A significant role may have to wait until 2021, since both (Cole) Kmet and (Brock) Wright have two years of eligibility remaining. That is part of Notre Dame’s larger plan, given the coaching staff passed up signing any tight ends in the most recent recruiting class.”

2021 OUTLOOK
Both Rees and Kelly suggesting Takacs is primed to contribute stands out in that they did not necessarily dole out the same thought regarding the other tight ends not named Michael Mayer. And if anything can be assumed of a Rees offense, it is that he will use multiple tight ends.

So Takacs’ time is apparently now.

What that looks like in the passing game is very unclear, both because Takacs is so unproven in that regard and because the entire Irish offense is unproven in that regard — Blue-Gold Game and Mayer each aside, respectively. If Takacs can provide about a catch per game, ideally perhaps a first-down per game, that would garner enough respect from defenses to open up options even when utilizing a multiple tight ends look.

That is a conservative baseline, but when Mayer is your lead tight end, even your lead receiver, a conservative baseline may be all that is needed.

DOWN THE ROAD
Mayer will be back in 2022, so Takacs’ role would not increase much as a fifth-year tight end, and Bauman, Berrong and Evans will all be a year older, not to mention the arrival of two tight end recruits who committed last week. Takacs could return to South Bend for another season, but it is hard to envision, simply given logical roster management.

Combining his able body with some worthwhile work in 2021, though, could set up Takacs for a transfer, particularly given his two years of remaining eligibility. Whether that is to a lower-tier Power Five or a stable Group of Five program may depend on this fall.

NOTRE DAME 99-TO-0
Let’s try this again
No. 99 Rylie Mills, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 98 Alexander Ehrensberger, sophomore defensive end
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, early-enrolled freshman defensive tackle the size of a Volkswagen
No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, fifth-year defensive tackle-turned-end
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, sophomore defensive tackle
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, early-enrolled freshman tight end, a former high school quarterback
No. 87 Michael Mayer, star sophomore tight end and lead offensive weapon