While Notre Dame returns only one receiver with more than seven catches from 2020, Irish head coach Brian Kelly sees an offense with more “known commodities” than he enjoyed in last season’s push to a Playoff berth. And he just might be right.
“We know what a guy like [fifth-year receiver Avery Davis] can do, we know what a guy like [sophomore tight end Michael Mayer] can do,” Kelly said a week ago. “I would argue that we have probably more known commodities coming back this year than maybe we did going into last season, and that kind of sorted itself out.”
When comparing the two offseasons, Notre Dame is definitively in better statistical shape along the perimeter in 2021 thanks to Davis and Mayer. A year ago, the Irish were led by Tommy Tremble’s 16 catches returning from 2019 along with receiver Lawrence Keys’ 13 and Javon McKinely’s 11. Compare that now to Mayer’s 42 (for 450 yards and two touchdowns) and Davis’ 24 (for 322 yards and two touchdowns), and Notre Dame has a decent idea who will lead the way in its passing game in 2021, even if Kelly would maintain the starting quarterback remains unclear as Wisconsin graduate transfer Jack Coan competes with rising sophomore Drew Pyne for the honor.