Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer declares for NFL draft, won't play in Gator Bowl

Michael Mayer has played his last game at Notre Dame.

Mayer, Notre Dame’s star tight end, announced Wednesday that he will declare for the 2023 NFL draft. Mayer told ESPN that he will not play in the Gator Bowl vs. South Carolina.

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Mayer was a true junior for the Irish this season. He has been one of Notre Dame’s best players since he stepped on campus.

The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Mayer caught 42 passes for 450 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman. As a sophomore, he caught 71 passes for 840 yards and seven scores.

This season, Mayer totaled 67 catches for 809 yards and nine touchdowns. With the team depleted at wide receiver, he was the Irish’s leading pass-catcher by a wide margin. Lorenzo Styles had the team’s second-best statistical output with 30 catches for 340 yards.

Mayer's 180 catches, 2,099 yards and 18 touchdown receptions all rank No. 1 in Notre Dame history among tight ends. His 180 catches ranks third in program history. He accomplished those numbers in just three seasons.

Also an accomplished blocker in the run game, Mayer is widely expected to be the first tight end selected in the 2023 NFL draft.

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Notre Dame started the season 0-2 but then won eight of its final 10 regular season games.

The 8-4 Irish were ranked No. 21 in the final College Football Playoff rankings. Notre Dame’s Gator Bowl opponent, South Carolina, is ranked No. 19.