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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, September 02, 2017 10:20 pm

Weishar makes presence felt in Irish opener

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

SOUTH BEND – Of all the players who will receive headlines and praise stemming from Notre Dame's 49-16 blowout of Temple on Saturday, Nic Weishar is likely to be pretty far down the list.

That's not to say the junior tight end didn't enjoy a quality performance in the season opener. On the contrary, Weishar gave the Irish three receptions for 20 yards and a touchdown. No surprise to coach Brian Kelly, who noticed Weishar in training camp despite the presence of four other highly touted tight ends in Durham Smythe, Alize Mack, Brock Wright and Cole Kmet.

"He's had the best year anybody can have in terms of his physical commitment to the position itself," Kelly said. "In other words ... he will tell you that, that he looks like a dad, compared to those three, four stallions, but he can catch the damn football. Doesn't matter where you throw it."

The 6-foot-5, 243-pound Weishar embraces Kelly's label, saying teammates do call him "dad."

"It's just having a good time," he said. "Just in joke, in jest. Yeah, I get a couple dad bod jokes here and there, but it's all in fun."

Late in the first quarter, quarterback Brandon Wimbush connected with Weishar on a 12-yard TD pass for a 21-3 lead. It was Weishar's first score since 2013, when he was a senior at Marist High School in Chicago.

"It's been a while since I've been in the end zone," Weishar said. "It feels good to make that catch today. I'm not really the primary option, but if I cross the quarterback's face, it's levels he's looking at, so I was kind of surprised he threw it.

"We don't really get thrown that ball that often in practice, but it's a climb route for me, and I kind of tried to use the ref a bit as a pick. I don't know if it worked, but I was able to get open enough for him to throw the ball, and I was able to secure the catch."