Durham Smythe signs with Notre Dame over Michigan, Stanford

Durham Smythe with Team USA - Wescott Eberts (SB Nation)

Stanford looked like the favorite until Notre Dame secured the big tight end's commitment on an official visit.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish need to replace departing starter Tyler Eifert and landed a strong dual-purpose tight end in Belton (Texas) prospect Durham Smythe, who signed with the Irish on Wednesday.

A consensus four-star prospect, the 6-5, 230-pound Smythe is considered the no. 8 tight end nationally and the no. 36 player in the state of Texas, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Smythe held offers from Baylor, Florida, Kansas, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Stanford, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech.

He originally committed to Texas in March of 2012, shortly after visiting Stanford, but decommitted in December and began taking other visits. Given his previous trip to Palo Alto and the fact that the Cardinal were a finalist the first time he committed, they seemed like the leaders. But a trip to Notre Dame sealed the deal and Smythe cancelled plans to visit any other schools, including Michigan.

Here's what Smythe will bring to the table in South Bend:

Though Smythe spends some of his time flexed out as a wide receiver for Belton, he spends most of the time with his hand on the ground as an in-line blocker. He needs to add some bulk to his frame to hold his own at the next level against opposing defensive ends, but he has the frame to eventually reach 250 pounds or more. The willingness to do the dirty work as a blocker and keep his legs moving on contact with a solid punch gives him some upside as a blocker.

In the passing game, Smythe looks like a natural receiver, catching the ball easily and consistently away from his body. A solid route runner, he has adequate speed, though he's not among the elite at his position in terms of straight-line speed and likely won't be able to simply outrun most linebackers in college.

It's not easy to find tight ends who can block and catch, but Smythe is one of them and that means that the Irish got themselves an excellent prospect.

Twitter: @D_Smythe88

Recruitment timeline: For more on Smythe's recruitment, check out his StoryStream.

Highlight video:

Durham Smythe (junior highlights) (via 247SportsStudio)

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