Jones watched as Book threw a pass to Kmet, who used his 6-foot-6 frame to bring down the football. It was at that early point that Jones began to look at Kmet as an NFL tight end.
"Yeah, he's going to be out of here quick," Jones recalled of Kmet, imagining his NFL Draft stock.
Once a standout at St. Viator, Kmet followed through on Jones' vision over the course of three seasons at Notre Dame.
Kmet established himself as one of the top tight ends in college football and declared for the NFL Draft in January. He hauled in 45 receptions and six touchdowns over 11 games in 2019, and it was plenty to impress NFL scouts.
Kmet considers himself a still-developing prospect and hopes to model his game after Pro Bowl tight ends like the 49ers' George Kittle and the Chiefs' Travis Kelce, two players whose versatility is an asset in their respective offenses.
"It’s my ability to stretch the field, get open and win one-on-one matchups," Kmet said. "What I really have to work on is my blocking technique, my hands, all that type of stuff. That’s something I’m still trying to improve on today.
"My ability to do both blocking and split out wide receiving, it's kind of unique in that sense. I'm one of the younger guys (at the NFL Combine). I'm only 20. So, I got a lot to improve on still."
Kmet was also a standout on the Fighting Irish baseball team before committing to a career in football last year. That decision began his buildup to the NFL Draft. Kmet is now considered one of the top tight end prospects in this draft, and he could land with the team he grew up watching closely -- the Bears.
While the Bears are hoping U tight end Trey Burton can bounce back from offseason hip surgery and while they signed veteran Y tight end Demetrius Harris recently, they're still seeking solutions at the position.
"That’s an area of focus for us," Bears general manager Ryan Pace said. "I don’t think that’s a secret. This offense, a lot of it goes through the tight end. We’re exploring every avenue."
If the Bears want to address that position for the long term, they could use one of their two second-round picks to do so. They draft at No. 43 and No. 50 overall.
And the local product Kmet may bring the Bears what they seek at tight end.
"He can do everything on the field," Jones said. "He's 6-5, 260, fast, can block. He can do everything."