Notre Dame junior Tyler Eifert has played his final game for the Irish and will enter the 2013 NFL Draft, according to a report by IrishIllustrated.com. He made the announcement shortly after Notre Dame's loss to Alabama in the National Championship Game Monday night.
Eifert ranks as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 1 tight end for April's NFL Draft and is widely considered the top player at his position. He is projected as a late first- or early second-round selection; check out the mock draft analysis here.
Although he didn't match his production from a year ago, Eifert still led the Irish in receiving in 2012 with 50 catches for 685 yards and four touchdowns, including six catches for 61 yards in Monday's title game. Even without a 100-yard receiving game during his time in South Bend, he finishes his Notre Dame career with 140 catches for 1,840 yards and 11 scores, holding numerous school records by a tight end.
Eifert looks the part (6-foot-5,252 pounds) for the position and has always been a reliable receiver, but he really improved as a blocker the past three seasons. He has strong hands and does a nice job making contested catches in traffic with the smooth body control and footwork of a wide receiver. The most versatile weapon on the Irish offense, Eifert lined up both in-line and out wide on the Notre Dame offense, often matching up with opposing cornerbacks.
Since 2006, Notre Dame has had three tight ends drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft (Anthony Fasano, John Carlson, Kyle Rudolph), but haven't had a tight end drafted in the first round since 1993 (Irv Smith).