Notre Dame football: Top 5 to play tight end in school history

4. Tyler Eifert (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
4. Tyler Eifert (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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Tight end at Notre Dame
4. Tyler Eifert (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

On the early, Brian Kelly coached, Notre Dame teams Tyler Eifert was by far the best offensive player. During the 2012 run to the BCS National Championship Game, Eifert became the go-to target for both Everett Golson and Tommy Rees. It was during that season that Eifert became the first and only Notre Dame tight end to win the John Mackey Award. It’s worth pointing out that the John Mackey Award has only been given out since 2000, but it’s still a massive achievement for a tight end.

Coming into Notre Dame the standard at tight end was excellence, and Eifert had to fill the shoes left by Kyle Rudolph. He quickly took over and surpassed his predecessor. Eifert caught 27 balls for 352 yards in 2010. That’s the season he replaced Rudolph midway through due to injury.

From that point on, Eifert took off. He caught 63 passes for 803 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2011. That mark of 803 yards broke Ken MacAfee’s mark for yardage in a season by a Notre Dame tight end. He was also a Mackey Award finalist in 2011 but lost the award to Dwayne Allen of Clemson.

2012 would be his final season, and he made it count. His 50 catches for 685 yards and 4 touchdowns were a statistical step back but saw him honored with several awards. Eifert’s performance against Stanford was key in preserving the undefeated regular season. He caught a touchdown and drew a pass interference which kept the offense moving enough to outlast the Cardinal.

From there, he’d forgo his final season of eligibility and declare for the NFL Draft. He was a 1st round pick. He ended his time at Notre Dame with 140 catches for 1,840 yards and 11 touchdowns. Massive receiving numbers for a tight end.

Tyler Eifert personified the modern tight end at Notre Dame. He was big and strong, standing at 6ft 6in and 255lbs. At the same time, he was fast, a good route runner, and could catch the ball as well as any wide receiver. A prototypical tight end, Eifert personified greatness at the position and reminded the country why Notre Dame is “Tight End U.”