The collegiate ranks are the laboratory of football. Every year, teams are looking for any and every edge they can get to keep up with the powerhouse football factories. That desperate search for new ways to attack opponents and get the most out of their recruits leads to constant innovation on both sides of the ball.
We’ve seen plenty of evidence of defensive players becoming generalists as that side of the ball tries to adapt to counter high-octane offenses. But we’re also seeing similar blurring of lines on the offensive side of the ball, particularly at the tight end position.
Notre Dame tight end Tommy Tremble is one of those players who doesn’t fit neatly into an established box. His athleticism and versatile build allowed him to play all over the Notre Dame offensive formation, but he largely did so as a blocker. As the role of the tight end has changed in college, so to has it changed in the NFL, and the league has been warming to the idea of hybrid tight ends and H-backs over the last decade.
Tremble is inexperienced and doesn’t have much production as a receiver, but will the NFL see his potential?
Prospect: Tommy Tremble
Games Watched: vs. Duke (2020), vs. Clemson (2020), vs. Alabama (2021)
Red Flags: Ankle/foot (2017), Leg (2021)
Games Played: 19
Yards (YPC): 401 (11.5)
Total Touchdowns: 4
Games Played: 10
Yards (YPC): 285 (11.5)
Total Touchdowns: 0
Best: Blocking, athleticism, versatility, physicality, competitive toughness
Worst: Receiving, experience
Projection: A moveable piece in a spread offense with upside as a blocker and receiver.
(Note: Tremble is H-back No. 24)
Notre Dame tight end Tommy Tremble is a compact, powerful, and athletic player with great positional versatility.
Tremble was listed as a tight end on Notre Dame’s depth chart but aligned at a variety of positions. He played as a true “Y” tight end, both attached and detached from the offensive line, out of the backfield as a fullback or H-back, and aligned in the slot. He was also frequently asked to motion from one position to another before the snap.
Tremble was primarily asked to block for Notre Dame, contributing in a variety of blocking schemes from a variety of positions on both running and passing plays. Tremble plays with good athleticism and lower-body flexibility as a blocker, moving easily in space while maintaining leverage.
He shows a good understanding of blocking technique, routinely fitting his hands well while playing with good hip and pad level. Once engaged, he is capable of explosively uncoiling his hips and pressing the defender, using his leverage to drive and control them through the play. Despite his size, Tremble is even able to block EDGE defenders when able to maintain his leverage. Notre Dame routinely made use of Tremble’s athleticism as a pulling or lead blocker on power run plays, and he is agile enough to squarely deliver blocks while on the move.
Tremble was only rarely targeted as a receiver, but he flashes tools worth developing. His athleticism is apparent when running routes, with good speed running down or across the field. Likewise, he can sink his hips and change direction and is willing to extend for the ball.
However, he is a largely unpolished and inexperienced receiver. His routes still need work, as he can be prone to rounding his routes or running into coverage. Tremble can also find himself fighting the ball at the catch point, though some of that can be credited to poor placement from the quarterback.
Overall Grade: 6.9 - This prospect has a high athletic upside, but will need development to be more than a role player.
Tommy Tremble projects best as a moveable piece in a spread offense which makes heavy use of 12-personnel. In that role he should be an important role player to start, but could work himself into a starting job with some development.
Tremble will likely begin as a blocking specialist, and his athleticism could land him a starring role on special teams as a rookie. However, he could have the potential to be a versatile weapon in the right offense with the right coaching. Tremble’s potential upside as an offensive weapon is easy to see, both as a receiver and as a ball carrier. However, he will need some significant development as a pass catcher. Both his route running and ball skills are raw and unpolished, as Notre Dame rarely used him as a receiving option. That being said, it’s also possible to see the foundation for future development in Tremble. He has the lower-body fluidity to become a successful route runner, able to sink his hips and change direction at speed. Likewise, he is unafraid of contact and willing to extend for passes, and at times flashes soft hands.
Tremble’s inexperience, both his limited number of games played and as a receiver, could cause him to fall in the draft. However, if he lands in the right situation, he could become a George Kittle-like value.