Blue and Gold Illustrated

April 2023

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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36 APRIL 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY PATRICK ENGEL M ichael Mayer didn't reportedly impress NFL teams in inter- views at the scouting combine because had jokes or an eye- popping hidden talent, though he will- ingly belted Miley Cyrus' song "Wrecking Ball" when asked by one NFL team. The former Notre Dame tight end didn't stand out because he crafted a sales pitch tai- lored toward what teams wanted to hear. Rather, Mayer earned "rave reviews" in team interviews — per NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah — because he was Michael Mayer. That's all he tried to do. It's his approach to every step of the pre-draft process and in every meeting with a team. "I'm going in there and being myself," Mayer said. "I'm intense about the game of football. I love the game of football. For me, it's going in there and not being any fake person or anybody else. Ex- plaining how I play the game of football, how I attack the game, how I prepare for the game." Anyone who spent time around Mayer at Notre Dame can confirm. Mayer say- ing he loves football is a water-is-wet declaration, but NFL teams don't know him like former Irish teammates and coaches do. The Feb. 28 through March 5 NFL Combine in Indianapolis was the best setting to tell them and show them what he's about. Mayer knows what he offers, knows he belongs in the NFL and knows his three years at Notre Dame turned him into a projected first-round pick. No reason to deviate from it now during one big job interview. "I don't try to change for anybody," Mayer said. Why would he? Mayer is a former team captain who left Notre Dame af- ter setting program tight end records for catches, yards and touchdowns in a career and in a single season. His 180 career catches are third best in Irish his- tory, regardless of position. He added 2,099 yards and 18 touchdowns, and amassed it all in 36 games. His blocking became a strength, even if he still feels there's more room to grow. That's the résumé that vaulted him into first-round discussion, put him atop tight end rankings since last spring and provoked visions of a three-and-done draft pick during his freshman year. He's not altering it even as his grip on TE1 sta- tus has loosened as other later-bloom- ing players at that spot have turned this year's tight end class into a deep one. "All I'm trying to do here is play my best ball, show these teams my personality and how intense I am about the game of foot- ball," Mayer said. "There's no pressure to this. It's coming out here, playing my best TRUE TO HIMSELF Michael Mayer lets his tape and Notre Dame career speak for itself as he goes through NFL Draft process Mayer is Notre Dame's leading prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. He is the top-ranked tight end and is projected to be taken in the first round. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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