Sports, Football, Fall

At BC, Tight End George Takacs Has The Chance To Become A New Version Of Himself

In three years at Notre Dame, tight end George Takacs registered eight receptions for 78 total receiving yards. In just one game at Boston College, he caught seven passes for 84 yards. 

Takacs has already proved that he’s just what BC’s roster needed this season: a sturdy deep threat who can utilize his physical gifts to make downfield gains. 

Takacs is not just a means to take pressure off the offensive line, as he was at Notre Dame. He has a chance to create a new identity in a new system unlike the one that existed for him in South Bend. His higher ceiling is a result of his four years of experience as the secondary guy in tandem with his physical frame as a receiving weapon.

When the Eagles lost tight end Trae Barry and four offensive linemen this offseason, head coach Jeff Hafley was in a recruitment mop-up process. To deliver on a new tight end, Hafley worked alongside his new offensive coordinator. BC landed Takacs due in large part to John McNulty, who coached tight ends at Notre Dame before coming to BC this offseason. 

But McNulty wasn’t the only one who played a part in getting Takacs to the Heights. 

“Phil [Jurkovec] was big in getting me here,” Takacs said. “He was a guy that I stayed in touch with when he went to Boston College, and just having someone here that I can trust in a prominent position was huge in getting me to where I am.”

Now Takacs has the opportunity to play with Jurkovec, who also transferred to BC from South Bend. The trio’s reunion builds anticipation for BC fans who haven’t seen an eight-win season since 2009 and a seven-win season since 2018.  

“We’ve been out there before,” Takacs said of Jurkovec. “We’ve been playing together on and off for four years now. So yeah, I think when I got out there it definitely played a factor with that connection, that non-verbal communication type stuff that worked out so well.” 

Takacs was a four-star recruit out of Naples, Fla. and the No. 244 player nationally according to 247Sports. He participated in the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas as a senior, one year after he committed to play for the Fighting Irish over Georgia and Florida.  

But Takacs found himself primarily in a blocking role at Notre Dame. He arrived at BC having played just 122 snaps and made five catches for 42 yards through his first three years. 

Even with just two games as an Eagle under his belt, he’s already showcasing the skills that have been on reserve for the last four years. 

Until he transferred, barriers keeping Takacs from playing any role other than clean-up duty or goal-line man wouldn’t move. So in his first time as a true receiving tight end—BC’s season-opening loss to Rutgers—it was no surprise to learn that he’ll have to make some physical adjustments before he fully finds his role.

“It’s just something that’s going to come as you play more games,” Takacs said. “I’m trying to get a little extra conditioning in after practice. The heat was kind of a factor, but it’s something I have to be prepared for. I just have to keep working at it, and eventually it’ll catch up.”

In Takacs’ freshman year at Notre Dame in 2018, the barriers keeping him back from playing a receiving role were Alizé Mack and Cole Kmet. Kmet played in 2019 before the Chicago Bears drafted him, and Mack went to the Green Bay Packers that same year. 

Tommy Tremble was ready to assume a role in the offense before Takacs was. Michael Mayer, a top-40 recruit, arrived in South Bend in 2020. All together, Takacs sat on the bench behind second-round pick Kmet, third-rounder Tremble, seventh-rounder Mack, and potential first-rounder Mayer.

Even for a former four-star recruit, that’s a challenging lineup to break into. On the Heights, Takacs is finally the clear No. 1 tight end.

“I definitely think that there’s a lot of things I can do,” Takacs said. “We have some talented receivers outside—Zay [Flowers] and Jaelen [Gill]. Having someone else who can run down the seams really stresses the defense. It’s a huge advantage, especially for the safeties who have to respect the outside.” 

While Takacs could have chosen a different path—continuing to be a role model for developmental players in the run game—all the way through his collegiate career, the Eagles have already used him in a different way. McNulty should continue to do everything in his power to make that transition seamless after former BC tight end Joey Luchetti medically retired from football. 

Takacs was primarily a Y tight end for the Fighting Irish—spending most snaps he got as a blocker—but he provides a burst of speed off the line and heavy ammunition downfield in Chestnut Hill.

“The tight end room got hit hard with the loss of Joey [Luchetti],” Hafley said the day after the Rutgers loss. “I thought George did a really nice job of stepping up. I think that was a career day for him. All along, I said it: George can run. He’s fast, and he caught the ball really well.”

On 60 percent of his snaps prior to BC, Takacs was a blocker in short-yardage situations and played mostly in a run-dominant, 12-personnel package, according to Pro Football Focus. In 67 snaps last season, he ran a route just 15 times and caught three passes for 36 yards. 

Since arriving at BC, Takacs has been a play-action threat and has played in the slot and on the outside for deep shots. 

Takacs is now in a position to not only complement the offense, but to enhance it, just like former BC tight end Hunter Long did in 2020.

“During the game, that was the first thing I thought about,” Flowers said. “When I was seeing him make plays I was just thinking about Hunter [Long] the whole time. And he wore No. 80 too, so it kind of threw me off a little bit.”

As a redshirt junior, Long led all tight ends nationally in receptions with 57 and ranked second in receiving yards with 685. Takacs looks like the same kind of player. 

“The defense has to pay more attention to everybody else,” Flowers said. “Not just me, to George [Takacs], to Jaelen [Gill], to Jaden [Williams], and I feel like we’re all threats at the end of the day, so you gotta pay attention to everybody.” 

Takacs isn’t a stronghold by himself. He is a cog in the offensive machine, bolstering it and fine-tuning its operations. He’s a complement to Flowers’ speed, Gill’s hands, and Pat Garwo III’s explosiveness. In some ways, he embodies a tradition that extends way back in BC history: Takacs is a “man for others.”   

With as inexperienced an offensive line as BC has, taking pressure off the backfield is paramount to a successful offense, and Takacs has that ability as well. 

The coaching staff may want to consider pulling Takacs back in order to accumulate plugs up the middle, creating space for Garwo on the outside and in the creases. At the very least, it’s a way to set up battles Garwo can and will win, and Takacs can play in a variety of offensive systems. With his proven run-blocking ability and developing pass game success, he’s evolved into a model for hybrid tight ends. 

This is the second straight year BC has landed a tight end from the transfer portal. While Takacs’ collegiate legacy leans toward being a model developmental tight end in the run game, there is still a chance for him to make a real impact, and that impact isn’t just going to be on the ground.    

With time, details, and execution, he’ll be a top target. Best of all, iron sharpens iron, and Takacs takes the best of his game to new levels for everybody else surrounding him.

“It’s a role that I’ve kind of stepped into,” Takacs said when asked about emerging into a leadership position. “I’m happy to do it. I like to do it. It’s really just about helping the younger guys stay confident—taking what helped me and trying to pass it along to the younger guys.”

I’m happy you’re in that role, too, George.

September 11, 2022

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