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
3. Dave Casper (Photo credit should read DAVID MAXWELL/AFP via Getty Images) /

As a blocker, Dave Casper was good enough to be a tackle. In fact, that’s where he started his career at Notre Dame, as an offensive lineman. His hands were so good that they couldn’t be ignored. He made the move to tight end so Ara Parseghian could take proper advantage of his entire skillset.

Today, Casper is better known for his NFL career which was studded with moments like the “Ghost to the Post,” and the “Holy Roller.” Being a Pro Football Hall of Fame player tends to obscure a player’s college career. We forget how good Peyton Manning was at Tennessee, just like we don’t remember how forgettable Joe Montana’s college career was.

Dave Casper was a great player in college, as he was in the NFL, and deserves to be remembered as such. A key cog in the 1973 offense, Casper was an All-American in the same season which his Notre Dame team won the National Championship. In fact, he was so important to that offense that he was named 1973 offensive MVP of Notre Dame.

He had a number of key moments during that National Championship run, including a key catch in the Sugar Bowl to set up the game-winning kick over Alabama.

Casper only had 21 catches for 335 yards and 4 touchdowns for his entire career. This, obviously, feels like a very small number. It comes from a few places, however. First, he spent his first two seasons as an offensive lineman for Notre Dame. This only gave him one season as a true tight end in the offense.

The other factor to remember is the era Casper played in. The early 1970s, especially in college football, were a run-first era. The tight end position was a blocking position first and foremost, and Dave Casper was always dominant as a blocker.

The position of tight end is a shifting one. Expectations change, and certain players make everyone look at the position differently. For his athletic ability, and versatility, Casper is one of those players. Brian Boulac said of Casper, “He did things at tight end I haven’t seen done.”

In 2012, Casper was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. A little something to go with his Pro Football Hall of Fame bust.