Notre Dame junior tight end Kyle Rudolph will undergo season-ending surgery Friday to repair his hamstring.
The surgery is a significant one. Rudolph, who had been gutting it out by playing through a pulled hamstring originally injured over the summer, had the tendons in his right leg snap, separating the muscle from the bone against Pittsburgh, Saturday.
Though only a junior, Rudolph is widely considered to be among the top eligible tight end prospect in the country. The injury and resulting surgery, however, could put a damper on any plans that the 6-6, 260 pounder had on entering the NFL draft after this season. Rudolph's rehabilitation is expected to last six months, meaning that he may not be able to fully workout for scouts prior to the draft.
As alarming as that might be for scouts, Rudolph's ability to impact the game stands out on film. It should also be noted that the two tight ends selected highest in last year's draft -- Jermaine Gresham and Rob Gronkowski -- each missed the entire 2009 season prior to being selected with the No. 21 and No. 42 overall picks of last April's draft, by the Bengals and Patriots, respectively.
Should he elect to leave school early for the draft, scouts have plenty of film on Rudolph. A standout since taking over for John Carlson (now a starter for the Seattle Seahawks), was on pace to shatter his previous career highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.
Through six games this year, Rudolph had caught 28 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns.
He has caught 90 passes for 1,032 yards and eight touchdowns for his career.