2021 Tight End Calls Notre Dame ‘Elite’

Mason Plummer

As the Notre Dame staff continues its search for a tight end to pair with four-star commit Cane Berrong in the 2021 class, Mitchell Evans has become a top candidate. The 6-7, 240-pound rising senior out of Wadsworth (Ohio) High School has shown great interest in Notre Dame since he received his offer on June 30.

Evans included Notre Dame in his Top 10, which he released this past Saturday. 

The other schools included were Florida State, Michigan State, Louisville, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa State, and Cincinnati.

The Ohio tight end is ranked as a three-star by 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN, and all three services have Evans as a top 20 player at his position.

Notre Dame appears to be near the top of Evans’ options as he continues to narrow down his potential landing spot, even though the staff offered him relatively late in this recruiting cycle.

“I can’t even describe how it felt (to receive the Notre Dame offer),” Evans explained. “My mom started tearing up! My dad was not surprised, but I could tell he was really proud of me.”

Evans had been in contact with the Notre Dame staff for the past few months, but it was difficult for him to gauge their interest.

“I was talking to them (Notre Dame) for a while, but I wasn’t sure if the offer would come,” Evans explained. “Other schools just throw offers out, but if you get an offer from Notre Dame you know it is for real. That is elite.”

The long-limbed tight end has been in close contact with many members of the Notre Dame staff, but none more so than the new tight ends coach, John McNulty.

“I have been talking to Coach McNulty off and on since March, but in the past three or four weeks, he and Notre Dame have really stepped up how much they have been contacting me,” Evans recalled. “He is really cool. He was in the NFL for so long and he definitely knows what he is talking about. He is easy to talk to, he knows football, and he really knows what he is talking about. He and I really click.”

Notre Dame held virtual tours with Evans twice over the past two weeks as the interest seems to continue to grow from both parties. The first call last week involved academics and what life is like as a student-athlete at Notre Dame. Tuesday’s call, however, was much different.

“I got on a call with the coaches and we talked about more football stuff this time,” Evans recalled. “We talked about how they would use me in the offense and where they see me in the future.”

With Evans’ already impressive size and the weight he will gain in college through strength training, some experts have likened him to play offensive tackle in his college career, but Notre Dame has not talked about that with him just yet.

“I like tight end way more, but if it looks like I need to make the switch in order to play at the next level and in the NFL, I’ll do it," said the Wadsworth standout. "I would like to play tight end, though.”

Evans’ priorities for the school he attends next year are not all about football.

“Notre Dame is an elite school all around,” Evans stated. “Sure, Florida State and Michigan State are good at football, but with the prestigious academics at Notre Dame, on top of how good they are at football, they are setting themselves apart.”

As to whether Notre Dame can set itself far enough apart for Evans to commit, though, is a unique challenge facing him and his family. Due to COVID-19, the Grizzlies tight end has not been able to take visits to his top schools. He did tell Irish Breakdown, however, that he plans to take trips to visit campuses in his top group that are close to his home in Ohio, which would include Notre Dame.

Evans plans to make his commitment relatively soon, but he does not have a date in mind. He told me he would like to commit before his senior year begins, but not being able to take visits is a definite concern for Evans and his family.

As it stands, Notre Dame is the favorite here, with Michigan State, Louisville, and Pitt as the other major players. Evans and McNulty have a great relationship and it is clear there is genuine interest from both sides. If Evans makes a decision soon, my pick would be for the Irish.

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