SOUTH BEND, Indiana (AP) – Michael Mayer is back from injury just like his season, soccer ball in hand on the first click of the game.
That took the form of a fast 4-yard pickup on Saturday, which marked the beginning of Notre Dame’s 31-16 victory over USC. In Florida’s first season, the first game of the rally began in a similar fashion, with a short throw from quarterback Jack Coan, which Mayer turned into a 25-yard win.
There was a month in between that Michael Mayer was Michael Mayer – Notre Dame’s most consistent No. 11 offensive weapon and one of the best tough ends in college football. The tension in his adductor thigh prevented him from confronting Cincinnati and overshadowed him at Virginia Tech, but after a week of farewell, Mayer returned triumphantly under the lights of Notre Dame Stadium.
The 6’4 ” sophomore was aiming for Notre Dame’s first or second attacking game in four of the six games he played. Of his 414 receiving yards in the season, 153 came on the team’s first offensive move in the game – 37% of the total. Of his three touchdowns, two are the result of early attempts, with Notre Dame hitting the board in the third minute against Florida and Toledo.
Meyer said he likes to be in the mix early, considering his opening drive goals as an initial adrenaline rush.
“I think it sets the tone for the whole game,” Mayer said. “I definitely like it. I like this style of play, and it kind of prepares me for the game. “
After seven games, Mayer’s 414 yards made him Notre Dame’s leading receiver by a wide margin. George Takach is the only other tight end with a takeover – one catch per 15 yards – that happened when the Irish were without Meyer in Blacksburg.
Mayer’s season kicked off wildly, with 120 yards in the first leg against Florida and in a two-touchdown game against Toledo. This impulse was stopped by a hip injury, which Mayer said was related to the fall of the camp, but was “tweaked” during the Cincinnati game.
While working with the injury, Mayer said he had decreased strength when running on routes and setting his feet. Initially optimistic that he could play for Virginia Tech on October 9, Mayer said he and coach Brian Kelly discussed the dangers of returning too quickly, possibly worsening injury. He sat down.
“It’s a risk / reward,” Mayer said, “and I think I made the right decision.”
Farewell week in Notre Dame gave a few extra days to recover. On Tuesday, after being in full force against the USC, Mayer described himself as “probably very close to 100%.” The Irishman can breathe a sigh of relief with Mayer in the squad with five remaining regular season games starting Saturday night at home against North Carolina.
A five-star recruit at Covington, Kentucky Catholic High School near Cincinnati, Mayer has always worked with high expectations in Notre Dame. He will not be drafted until 2023, but it is already predicted that he will be selected in the first round. Meanwhile, he will likely continue to climb the Notre Dame Book of Records, inscribing his name in the names of people like John Carlson, Ken McAfee and Tyler Eifert.
Mayer will likely continue to gain attention as one of the best in college football; he has already been on the John McKee Watchlist, awarded annually to the nation’s best tight ends.
Mayer said he has become better at blocking outside noise and has become an accomplished player who sets an example.
“I’m not a vocalist,” Mayer said. “But one thing: I really see myself as a leader, and for the actions that I do, people will follow me.”