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Sunday, April 21, 2024
The Observer

Mitchell Evans out for season with ACL tear

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Junior tight end Mitchell Evans and Irish offense celebrate during Notre Dame's 17-14 loss to Ohio State at Notre Dame Stadium on Sept. 23.

Notre Dame junior tight end Mitchell Evans has a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the 2023-24 season, head coach Marcus Freeman announced Monday afternoon. Evans suffered the injury on a 13-yard catch-and-run in Saturday’s 58-7 win over Pittsburgh. He is expected to undergo surgery within the next week.

After a five-catch, 66-yard showing against Pitt, Evans currently leads the Irish in receptions (29) and receiving yards (422). He also caught a touchdown earlier this month at Louisville. Evans’ breakout season featured a combined 209 yards in Notre Dame’s two tightest games of the season, Sept. 23 against Ohio State and Sept. 30 at Duke.

With their top tight end on the shelf, expect the Irish to lean on sophomore Holden Staes. Staes, who has 12 catches for 163 yards and a team-high four receiving touchdowns, shined during Notre Dame’s 4-0 start to the season. He scored four touchdowns in the first three weeks of September, racking up 115 receiving yards in Notre Dame's win at NC State. However, with the emergence of Evans, Staes has just 44 yards since his showcase in Raleigh.

Behind Staes, Freeman specified that sophomore Eli Raridon will shoulder a heavier workload in the passing game. Raridon suffered a season-ending ACL injury of his own last year and missed the first six games of 2023 while recovering. Raridon, junior Davis Sherwood and freshman Cooper Flanagan, the leading candidates for the second tight end spot, have combined for three receptions this season.

In other injury news, Freeman announced his top two cornerbacks, sophomore Benjamin Morrison and graduate student Cam Hart, will play Saturday at Clemson. Morrison did not suit up against Pitt due to a quad strain. Hart dealt with a shoulder injury during the game.

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