Sports

Notre Dame TE Niklas starting to blossom for Irish

  • In this Aug. 31, 2013 photo, Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas crosses the goal line for a touchdown against Temple, in South Bend, Ind. Niklas is intimidating figure to opponents at 6-foot-6, 270 pounds and a physique so impressive former teammate Manti Te’o gave him the nickname “Hercules.”(AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

    In this Aug. 31, 2013 photo, Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas crosses the goal line for a touchdown against Temple, in South Bend, Ind. Niklas is intimidating figure to opponents at 6-foot-6, 270 pounds and a physique so impressive former teammate Manti Te’o gave him the nickname “Hercules.”(AP Photo/Joe Raymond)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Aug. 31, 2013 photo, Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas heads up field during an N CAA college football game against Temple, in South Bend, Ind. Niklas is intimidating figure to opponents at 6-foot-6, 270 pounds and a physique so impressive former teammate Manti Te’o gave him the nickname “Hercules.” (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

    In this Aug. 31, 2013 photo, Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas heads up field during an N CAA college football game against Temple, in South Bend, Ind. Niklas is intimidating figure to opponents at 6-foot-6, 270 pounds and a physique so impressive former teammate Manti Te’o gave him the nickname “Hercules.” (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)  (The Associated Press)

Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas is a touchdown catch away from tying a school record.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound junior has five touchdown catches as No. 24 Notre Dame (7-2) heads into Saturday's game at Pittsburgh (4-4). The school record is six TD catches by Ken MacAfee in winning the national title in 1977.

Niklas also has seven catches of 20 or more yards this season, his first as the primary option for the Irish at tight end. Niklas said he's still learning the position and working on getting better at a lot of the little things.

Notre Dame has a history of producing standout tight ends. Niklas feels the pressure of following in their footsteps, but says it pushes him to improve.