Blue and Gold Illustrated

June July 2018

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

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22 JUNE/JULY 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED "Awesome," Fighting Irish offen- sive coordinator/tight ends coach Chip Long replied instantly when asked about Kmet's progress this spring. "It's what I thought he'd be. What's amazing to me is he'll come in Sunday around 3 in the morning from baseball [returning from a road trip]— and be the first one at weights at 6:30 a.m., and doing a great job. "I don't know how he does it." For the baseball team, the 6-6, 255-pound southpaw recorded eight of the team's 12 saves this year, in- cluding against top-10 teams LSU, Florida State and Clemson. His 46 1 ⁄3 innings pitched (with one start) were the fourth most on the team. Last but not least to complete the triple play, Kmet has recorded a 3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale at Notre Dame. After leading St. Via- tor to the Illinois Class 3A state title in baseball last June, he assimilated right into summer school in col- lege later that month, and after six months of football made the transi- tion to baseball virtually seamlessly. "I'm just making sure I'm having fun with it," Kmet said this spring after a baseball game, the one time he was made available to the media. "If I'm getting too stressed about it then it may get a little hectic. … Being able to balance everything can get diffi- cult at times, but I'm making it work, and it's been a lot of fun so far. "Football is obviously why I'm on scholarship here. I want to be able to continue my development in that sense." His schedule usually began with 6:30 a.m. workouts on non-football practice days, classes from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., baseball workouts and then study time. In one of this spring's weekends, he pitched in relief on a Friday night and was at football practice the next morning. Notre Dame director of football performance Matt Balis has worked closely with Kmet to ensure his body does not get overworked. "He's been great about what days I've been pitching, and certain work- outs I can do and can't do. He modi- fies certain things so I can still throw and still get my development in," said Kmet, who said staying consis- tent with his nutrition program has been a challenge as well. "I'm making sure I stay on top of all of my meals and keep my weight up. I've been able to do so, but that's been a thing I tend to forget about sometimes." There are no regrets about filling his schedule so tightly this year and in the coming seasons. "It's always been a dream of mine," Kmet said of playing both sports at the collegiate level. "I never wanted to quit one or the other. I noticed this is the best place for it, seeing other guys have done it … I like being in- season a lot. "It's a lot of fun. Staying competi- tive is a good thing for me." The "others" he references as hav- ing excelled in the past as a pitcher at Notre Dame were football All-American Jeff Sa- mardzija (2003-06), who has made well north of $200 million as a Major League Baseball pitcher the past de- cade and is currently with the San Francisco Giants, and current Port- land Trail Blazers reserve Pat Con- DOUBLE DUTY, TRIPLE PLAY Cole Kmet displayed many talents in his first year at Notre Dame Kmet saw action at tight end as a true freshman and caught two passes for 14 yards, and then became an important member of the baseball team's pitching staff while recording eight of its 12 saves this season — all while maintaining a 3.5 grade point average. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL "It's always been a dream of mine. I never wanted to quit one or the other. I noticed this is the best place for it, seeing other guys have done it … I like being in-season a lot. It's a lot of fun. Staying competitive is a good thing for me." KMET ON PLAYING BOTH FOOTBALL AND BASEBALL AT NOTRE DAME BY LOU SOMOGYI T riple plays in baseball are a rare event. Notre Dame tight end/pitcher Cole Kmet's own triple play — football, baseball and academic excellence — might be even more unique in collegiate athletics. Kmet already earned one monogram in football when it appeared he would be redshirted at his position with the 2017 presence of fifth-year senior Durham Smythe, senior Nic Weishar, junior Alizé Mack and fellow freshman Brock Wright — who was an early enrollee and rated as the nation's No. 1 tight end, just ahead of Kmet at No. 3. Yet Kmet saw action as a position player — two catches for 14 yards, plus a pass at- tempt in the Citrus Bowl — and on special teams. This spring, he was vying for a co- starting role with Mack.

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