College football’s best tight end will be heading to the NFL a year early.
Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert, this year’s Mackey Award winner, hasn’t officially said he’s going to forego his final year of eligibility, but if you read between the lines whatsoever, you know the Fort Wayne, Ind., native has already mind up his mind to enter the NFL Draft come April.
The 6-foot-6, 251-pound Eifert toyed with the idea of leaving the Irish program after the 2011 season and even though he discovered he was more than likely a first-round pick, Eifert opted returned to Notre Dame.
At Notre Dame’s BCS National Championship Game media day earlier this month, Eifert wouldn’t commit to having made up his mind about making the leap.
“I’ll figure that out after the game,” he said.
With that said, Eifert did say this year his decision-making process won’t be nearly as difficult as it was last year. Translation: Bye bye Notre Dame.
“I took a lot of time after the bowl game (last year) trying to decide,” Eifert explained. “For me, I’m not a selfish person, but I had to look at it from a selfish point of view and what was best for me. If the NFL would’ve been best for me, that’s probably what I would’ve done.
“Coming back was definitely the right choice.”
There’s really no reason for the standout tight end to return to South Bend.
After all, he’s already graduated, is projected as the No. 1 tight end in the 2013 NFL Draft and has etched his name in the school’s record books. Eifert is Notre Dame’s career receptions (134) and career receiving yards (1,779) leader for a tight end.
As if that wasn’t enough, Eifert has played a pivotal role in leading the Irish to a 12-0 mark and a chance at a national championship. He is pacing what has been a somewhat inconsistent offense in receptions (44) and receiving yards (624).
So the Jan. 7 BCS National Championship Game against Alabama will be his last in an Irish uniform and then he’ll turn his attention on the NFL.
Many of the mock drafts have him going mid- to late-first round. Just which teams select him is what’s up for debate as many would covet his versatility at the tight end position.
When asked if he’s aware that so many pro teams would crave to have him on their roster, Eifert said, “I hope they do, that’s better for me.”
Eifert admitted he’s found himself on more than one occasion watching NFL games and focusing on his position.
“I watch the other tight ends to see how they’re doing and how they do things like block,” he said.
One team that would love to have Eifert’s services is the Chicago Bears, who have gotten little to no production from the tight end position this season.
Playing in Chicago, which is just about 100 miles from the Notre Dame campus, would be just fine with him.
“I’m game for wherever,” Eifert said. “I don’t really care.”
Come late April, no doubt he will make one NFL team very happy.