Notre Dame 99-to-0: No. 85 Holden Staes, incoming freshman tight end

Holden Staes
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Listed measurements: 6-foot-4 ¼, 224 pounds.
2022-23 year, eligibility: An incoming freshman, States has all four seasons of eligibility remaining.
Depth Chart: Notre Dame has no shortage of tight ends, of course led by arguably the country’s best tight end, Michael Mayer. Sophomore Mitchell Evans will complement Mayer most often, but even between him and the incoming freshman duo there is another pair of tight ends on the depth chart.
Recruiting: Staes and classmate Eli Raridon committed to the Irish within a week in early May, continuing a Notre Dame habit of signing two tight ends in each recruiting cycle. Staes was considered the No. 8 tight end in the class by the end of the cycle, three notches behind Raridon. When Staes signed with the Irish in December, he was only the No. 23 tight end in the class, yet his eventual rise was foreshadowed by holding offers from the likes of Alabama, his homestate Georgia and Texas.

Staes initially committed to Penn State in August of 2020, a commitment that held up for six months and one that may have been rash during the dead period of recruiting in the pandemic.

NAME, IMAGE, LIKENESS
Commitment videos are mostly rote, overdone and repetitive. Then there is Staes’ …

WHAT WAS SAID WHEN STAES SIGNED IN DECEMBER
“Staes’ 6-foot-4 frame underscores his wingspan, an ideal trait in a tight end. Combine that with his crisp routes and Staes may already be a college-level receiver. The Irish will not lean on him until he proves an able blocker, but that has often been the shorter learning curve for Notre Dame tight ends. …

“The Irish were quietly very high on both Cane Berrong and Mitchel Evans this season, even if only Evans saw much playing time of the two freshmen. One of them is likely to step into George Takacs’ role as the complementary piece to All-American Michael Mayer, leaving only third-string reps or H-back duties for Staes.”

2022 OUTLOOK
At fifth or sixth on the depth chart, it is hard to envision Staes making an impact in 2022. He should appear in four games, nonetheless, particularly given he could fit well on kickoff coverage teams.

Scout-team work could have a long-term dividend, in that early-enrolled freshman quarterback Steve Angeli will be throwing at that level in many practices, as well, giving Staes a chance to develop a rapport with a possible future Irish starting quarterback.

DOWN THE ROAD
Presume Staes remains at tight end — his body profile could fit at boundary receiver, a position desperately lacking options at the moment. When Mayer heads to the NFL draft’s first round in 2023, Notre Dame will need to find a new all-around option.

Evans and current sophomore Cane Berrong both fit that description on paper, though Evans is still new to the position as a former high school quarterback. Raridon’s athleticism will draw many eyeballs in practice, as well. But Staes has the frame to be the all-around tight end needed.

In many respects, Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees likes a pseudo-receiver at tight end. Tyler Eifert served him well in his playing days, and he has gotten to enjoy the play-calling luxuries of Cole Kmet and Michael Mayer in his current role.

When realizing those are the three Notre Dame tight ends Rees has the most experience with, it is stark how big the shoes will be to fill.

WHY NO. 85?
Notre Dame quietly announced incoming freshmen numbers this week, including Staes at No. 85. This space’s guess was going to be No. 44, based on his high school jersey and thus the seemingly delayed entry in this series, but the 85 digits are more befitting a tight end who could line up as a receiver as often as not, and they are available after Takacs transferred to Boston College this winter.

RELATED READING: ND pulls in second tight end commitment of the week in Georgia’s Holden Staes
Notre Dame gets the letters: Tight ends Eli Raridon and Holden Staes
The top tight ends in the class of 2022, per rivals.com

NOTRE DAME 99-TO-0
From Blake Grupe to Braden Lenzy, the offseason countdown begins anew
No. 99 Blake Grupe, kicker, Arkansas State transfer
No. 99 Rylie Mills, junior defensive lineman, a tackle now playing more at end

No. 98 Tyson Ford, early-enrolled freshman, a defensive tackle recruited as a four-star end
No. 97 Gabriel Rubio, sophomore defensive tackle, still ‘as wide as a Volkswagen’
No. 92 Aidan Keanaaina, a junior defensive tackle who tore his ACL in March
No. 91 Josh Bryan, sophomore kicker
No. 91 Aiden Gobaira, early-enrolled freshman defensive end, four-star recruit
No. 90 Alexander Ehrensberger, junior defensive end, a German project nearing completion
No. 88 Mitchell Evans, sophomore tight end
No. 87 Michael Mayer, junior tight end, likely All-American
No. 84 Kevin Bauman, junior tight end
No. 83 Jayden Thomas, sophomore receiver, former four-star recruit
No. 80 Cane Berrong, sophomore tight end coming off an ACL injury
No. 79 Tosh Baker, one of four young Irish offensive tackles
No. 78 Pat Coogan, sophomore center, recovering from a meniscus injury
No. 77 Ty Chan, incoming offensive tackle, former four-star recruit
No. 76 Joe Alt, sophomore starting left tackle
No. 75 Josh Lugg, sixth-year offensive lineman, likely starting right guard
No. 74 Billy Schrauth, early-enrolled freshman offensive guard coming off foot surgery
No. 73 Andrew Kristofic, senior offensive tackle-turned-guard
No. 72 Caleb Johnson, sophomore offensive tackle, former Auburn pledge
No. 68 Michael Carmody, junior offensive line utility man
No. 65 Michael Vinson, long snapper, ‘Milk’
No. 65 Chris Smith, defensive tackle, Harvard transfer
No. 59 Aamil Wagner, consensus four-star incoming freshman offensive tackle
No. 58 Ashton Craig, incoming freshman center
No. 57 Jayson Ademilola, fifth-year defensive tackle, coming off shoulder surgery
No. 56 Joey Tanona, early-enrolled offensive guard coming off a concussion
No. 56 Howard Cross, senior defensive tackle with heavy hands, and that’s a good thing
No. 55 Jarrett Patterson, fifth-year offensive lineman, three-year starting center, captain
No. 54 Jacob Lacey, senior defensive tackle, now lighter and a starter
No. 54 Blake Fisher, sophomore starting right tackle, ‘ginormous’
No. 52 Zeke Correll, senior center or perhaps left guard
No. 52 Bo Bauer, fifth-year linebacker, Ironman
No. 50 Rocco Spindler, sophomore offensive guard
No. 48 Will Schweitzer, sophomore end-turned-linebacker
No. 47 Jason Oyne, sophomore defensive end-turned-tackle
No. 41 Donovan Hinish, incoming freshman defensive tackle, Kurt’s brother
No. 9 Eli Raridon, incoming freshman tight end with a torn ACL