The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have done an excellent job at utilizing their tight ends in the passing game since Brian Kelly arrived in South Bend. From Kyle Rudolph to Tyler Eifert to Troy Niklas last year, the Irish know how to incorporate the tight end effectively into the passing attack. This season, it is time for Ben Koyack to continue the tradition.
Heading into his senior season in 2014, the 6-foot-5, 261-pound Koyack only has 14 career receptions, 10 of which came in 2013. But he has made the most of his opportunities, as he turned his 10 catches last season into 171 yards and three touchdowns. He has excellent size and speed and the Irish coaching staff believes he is athletic enough to be lined up in multiple positions, including split out wide.
Koyack is going to benefit greatly from Niklas’ decision to leave early for the NFL in 2014 as he steps into an excellent position to showcase just what he can do. Last season, Notre Dame fed their tight ends regularly with Niklas finishing third on the team with 32 receptions for 498 yards and five touchdowns. This fall, Koyack steps into a starring role in the offense as the starting tight end and will benefit greatly from the added looks he’s sure to get.
With this opportunity, there’s no saying how high Koyack’s stock will rise this season. If he seizes control of the job and flourishes, he should earn some All-American attention, a Mackey Award nomination, and high marks heading into the 2015 NFL Draft. Notre Dame knows how to utilize their tight ends. Can Koyack take advantage with a monster senior season?