INDIANAPOLIS – Notre Dame football means a multitude of things to people around the nation.
Over the past decade, Notre Dame has been referenced as ‘Tight End U’ thanks to a foursome that has taken its college success to the NFL.
In the mid-2000s there was Anthony Fasano (Dolphins) and John Carlson (Vikings), both who became Mackey Finalists, an award given to the nation’s top tight end. Fasano and Carlson have gone on to start at the next level.
Kyle Rudolph (Vikings) became the first freshman tight end in school history to start every game back in 2008 and is coming off an MVP performance at the 2013 Pro Bowl.
When Rudolph suffered a season-ending injury in 2010, the door was open for Tyler Eifert to carry the torch.
Eifert leaves Notre Dame as perhaps the finest pass catching tight end in school history and heads to the 2013 NFL Draft after capturing the 2012 Mackey Award.
“I've talked to all three of those guys before. They offer football advice, but also just about life in the NFL, what it's like, how to adjust to it and things like that,” Eifert said.
“Just the locker room is a little different. The locker room isn't full of college kids. Some guys get done and they go home to kids and a wife. You might be going home to an apartment all alone. Just be ready for that, you'll be all alone in the real world.”
In heading to the “real world,” Eifert is coming off an impressive combine where he posted a 4.6 40-yard dash, a 35.5-inch vertical jump and cranked out 22 reps on the bench press.
Most mock drafts have Eifert labeled as a mid-to-late first-round draft pick with his blocking being the only concern.
“That has been what everyone said I was lacking,” Eifert said of his blocking. “I've spent a lot of time working on my blocking with coaches, working on the technique things, the little things, the footwork, hand placement.
“I think I'm better, I'm still not where I want to be. There is still a lot of room to improve. I've made a conscious effort to improve, and I think I have.”
In becoming a consensus All-American, Eifert hauled in more than 100 passes for 1,400 yards in his final two seasons in South Bend.
Eifert’s father, Greg, was a basketball player at Purdue and Tyler’s own time on the hardwood is showcased frequently on jump balls.
“My ability to catch the ball in traffic, make contested catches, get down the field and create mismatches, understand an offense, being able to be moved around in different positions,” Eifert said of his strengths.
The highlight reel of catches Eifert made at Notre Dame is endless, and firming up his in-line blocking is the final piece in completing the puzzle for the Fighting Irish’s all-time leading receiver at tight end.
“I just try to reiterate I understand that's a concern for most teams. It's something I've been working and that I have the want to do it,” Eifert said. “I don't want to just be labeled as a pass-catching tight end. I want to make the improvements and get better at that."