NFL Draft Analyst Matt Miller On Notre Dame Football’s Tommy Tremble: Traits Are ‘What You Want’ At Tight End
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NFL Draft Analyst On Tommy Tremble: Traits Are ‘What You Want’ At Tight End

The NFL evaluation on Tommy Tremble is best summed up with an old scouting adage.

Traits over production.

And Tremble, the Notre Dame junior tight end who turned pro this month, has plenty of the former that makes him an intriguing prospect despite a relative lack of the latter.

“Every time I watch Notre Dame, he’s one of my favorite players because he just makes plays,” TheDraftScout.com’s Matt Miller said in a recent interview with BlueandGold.com’s Mike Singer. “He’s the most athletic one I’ve seen come through there in recent memory.”

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Tremble is headed to the NFL Draft after three years at Notre Dame and 35 career catches.
Tremble is headed to the NFL Draft after three years at Notre Dame and 35 career catches. (Andris Visockis)

Tremble’s speed and agility were his hallmarks as a recruit, making his pre-draft testing numbers well worth monitoring. Back in high school, he ran a 4.63 second 40-yard dash at The Opening regional in Atlanta. No tight end at any regional that year ran a faster one.

His best work in 2020, though, came as a run-blocker, where his athleticism and strength shined. Notre Dame showcased it as part of the run game. Tremble was a lead blocker as a fullback, a traditional in-line tight end and occasional slot receiver. On run plays, the ball often followed No. 24. No Football Bowl Subdivision tight end who played at least 60 snaps in 2020 had a higher Pro Football Focus run blocking grade than Tremble’s 83.7 mark.

But in both seasons where he saw playing time, he was second among Notre Dame tight ends in snaps. He was Cole Kmet’s No. 2 in 2019. And while he started 10 games this year, freshman star Michael Mayer seized the majority of the work at tight end. Mayer, a top-40 recruit, was the primary tight end in 11 personnel (one tight end, one running back) and tied for the team lead with 42 receptions.

Tremble ended the year with 19 catches for 218 yards and zero touchdowns. In his Irish career, he caught 35 passes for 401 yards and four touchdowns.

“The problem is he didn’t get a lot of touches or reps because the ball is so spread around there, especially over the last two years,” Miller said. “Never more than 20 catches in a season. That’s going to raise question marks. The athleticism is there. The body type is [New York Giants tight end] Evan Engram-esque. It’s what you want at that position.”

The 2021 tight end class is deeper and stronger at the top than 2020’s, an unusually weak crop that yielded only two selections in the first 97 draft picks. Kmet was the first tight end taken, going No. 43 overall to the Chicago Bears. He was the only player at the position seen as worthy of a first- or second-round pick.

Tremble being the first to go at the position or even a top two-round pick is unlikely, Miller thinks. Florida’s Kyle Pitts is the clear-cut No. 1 prospect at the position who might be taken in the top 10. Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth and Miami’s Brevin Jordan are also widely viewed as likely Day 2 picks and superior prospects to Tremble.

“We might be looking at the fourth or fifth tight end this year,” Miller said, “and that’s all based on potential and not as much of what we’ve seen.”

Tremble is the 19th three-and-done Notre Dame player and the 12th under Brian Kelly. Four of those 12 have been tight ends.

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