Listed measurements: 6-foot-4 ½, 240 pounds.
2021-22 year, eligibility: A sophomore, Bauman would have four years of eligibility with or without the universal pandemic waiver.
Depth Chart: Given his year in the program, Bauman figures to be the one of an underclassmen trio to emerge as Notre Dame’s No. 3 tight end in 2021, behind sophomore Michael Mayer and senior George Takacs.
Recruiting: The No. 5 tight end in the class of 2020, per rivals.com, Bauman spurned a Michigan offer to choose the Irish. The No. 130 overall prospect in the country and a consensus four-star recruit, his offer list was far from short but arguably not as stocked as one would expect from those rankings.
CAREER TO DATE
Bauman appeared in four games as a freshman, catching one 5-yard pass against South Florida.
NAME, IMAGE, LIKENESS
Bauman has the misfortune of having arrived at Notre Dame along with a generational talent at the same position. Mayer will demand the attention, both of opposing defenses and of the media, for as long as he is in South Bend (so until April of 2023). A heralded recruit in his own right, Bauman will thus fly below the radar until he makes a loud statement on the field.
“Kevin Bauman has been pretty steady for us here, especially early in spring,” Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees said last month. “He’s a guy that we’re counting on this year to have an expanded role. He has an extremely high ceiling, which we will continue to develop as he gets stronger and more comfortable within the offense.”
WHAT WAS SAID WHEN BAUMAN SIGNED
“Bauman’s physicality and frame will demand playing in time. His lower body alone establishes him as a capable blocker. That may not be the most flattering way of saying a player will need to get on the field, but Bauman’s day will come.”
There are two versions of 2021 for Bauman, both of which involve playing time and neither of which is negative, one just being more notable than the other.
Bauman has skill in receiving the ball. That was clear in his high school film. If that ability is now not only at a collegiate level but also better than Takacs’, then Bauman may become the complement to Mayer not only in their recruiting class, but also in the Notre Dame offense. Rees will use multiple tight ends, including on passing downs. That role is up for the taking with Tommy Tremble now learning the Carolina Panthers’ playbook.
Bauman could also spend this season as the third tight end in the Irish jumbo packages. In other words, he could follow the path of development taken by Takacs: sit out as a freshman, situational roles as a sophomore, …
Even in that role, primarily as a blocker, Bauman will get some red-zone chances. So in either of these scenarios, the sophomore should find the end zone in 2021.
DOWN THE ROAD
Any Notre Dame tight end conversation for the next two years begins with a focus on Mayer. Not to sound like a broken record, but he is that good. Barring injury, Bauman will not have an opportunity to be thee tight end at “Tight End U” until Mayer enters the 2023 NFL draft.
He will, however, have an opportunity to be the supporting tight end once Takacs departs, presumably after 2021, if Bauman does not take hold of that gig this season. The further players get from high school, the less weight their recruiting rankings should carry, but Bauman was sought as a typical Irish tight end star. He was higher rated than either of the early-enrolled freshmen tight ends looking to leapfrog him in the depth chart, Cane Berrong and Mitchell Evans.
Bauman will have an impact at Notre Dame. But due to Mayer, the “When?” of that could be truly down the road.
— Kevin Bauman (@kbauman3) May 7, 2021
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
No. 85 George Takacs, senior tight end, ‘152 years old’