Notre Dame should have its full compliment of tight ends to throw at South Florida when the season kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Notre Dame Stadium.
Irish coach Brian Kelly said backup tight end Mike Ragone is recovering well from his quad injury and ran well at practice Monday. As long as Ragone continues to progress well, he will be the No. 2 tight end Saturday, Kelly said.
But the Irish have plenty of talent at tight end and all four could be used this year.
"I think it's really been about (former Bishop Dwenger standout) Tyler Eifert being the starting tight end. That's been clear since Day 1," Kelly said Tuesday. "It's really who is No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, because they are all very equal.
"I think what put the other two guys, and the other two guys being (Alex) Welch and (Ben) Koyack in the mix is that Mike has been slowed in camp with a quad injury. … I think you are going to see all four of them play as the season progresses."
Notre Dame will need all of its weapons in the season opener against South Florida.
The Bulls went 8-5 and are coming off a bowl win like the Irish, and South Florida has a second year coach as well with Skip Holtz, the son of Notre Dame legend Lou Holtz, at the helm.
"I think a lot of publications have picked them to be a BCS team. It's a big challenge for us in our opener," Kelly said. "There's enough talent there for them to beat anybody on their schedule."
Kelly is familiar with South Florida's talent level after facing the Bulls in Big East play when he was at Cincinnati, and Bulls quarterback B.J. Daniels was at the front of Kelly's mind.
Daniels threw for 1,685 yards and ran for 259 yards last season.
"We will have to try to defend B.J. Daniels, and it's a challenge to say the least," Kelly said. "He's extremely athletic. He can throw the football. If you look at the last game he played, he was the MVP of the Meinke Car Care Bowl.
"Here's a young man who has a lot of confidence and momentum coming into the season."
Kelly also note that he will use a five-man receiver rotation of Michael Floyd, TJ Jones, Theo Riddick, Roby Toma and former Bishop Dwenger standout John Goodman. Sophomore Daniel Smith and freshman DaVaris Daniels, who is No. 2 on the depth chart behind Floyd, will see spot duty.