Standout junior tight end Tyler Eifert announced Friday he will remain at Notre Dame for his senior year and not enter the 2012 NFL Draft.
A 2011 first-team All-American, Eifert led all tight ends in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 63 receptions and 803 receiving yards. He broke Notre Dame’s record for most catches and receiving yards in a season by a tight end.
“This was a tough decision for me, but it came down to where do I want to be most next year,” Eifert said. “I have some great friends on the football team and at Notre Dame and I’m excited about the direction Coach Kelly has us going. Ultimately, the entire Notre Dame experience, including the great relationships I have with my teammates and coaches, told me Notre Dame is where I belong.”
With Michael Floyd departing, Eifert's return gives whomever the Irish quarterback is, a go to target.
“I’m obviously very happy that Tyler will be part of our team next year,” head coach Brian Kelly said. “It’s always a good thing when an All-American decides he wants to spend another year in your program. Tyler is an exciting, athletic tight end who is an essential part of our offense. I’m happy he has decided to come back to finish his degree and help us to secure a championship season.”
Eifert started all 13 games in 2011 for the Fighting Irish and ranked second on the Irish in receptions(63), receiving yards (803) and receiving touchdowns (five) behind wide receiver Michael Floyd.
A finalist for the 2011Mackey Award (nation’s top tight end), Eifert was named first-team All-American in 2011 by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, was a second-team All-America selection by Associated Press and was named a third-team All-American by both Rivals.com and Phil Steele.
“I didn’t come to Notre Dame just to help me get to the NFL,” Eifert said. “The value of the Notre Dame degree is so great, and since I am only two semesters away from graduating it would have been crazy for me to walk away now. Having the opportunity to go to the NFL will eventually be a bonus on an already great college experience.”
On pace to graduate in December 2012, Eifert is majoring in management-entrepreneurship in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, the No. 1 undergraduate business school in thenation according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
Eifert has 90 receptions for 1,155 yards in his Notre Dame career. He is tied with Kyle Rudolph for the fourth-most catches in a career by a Notre Dame tight end and ranks second all-time in receiving yards by a Fighting Irish tight end. Eifert needs 39 receptions and 605 receiving yards to break Ken MacAfee’s school records for career catches and career receiving yards by a Notre Dame tight end.
“I feel I still have many areas I can improve as a player,” Eifert said. “I need to get physically stronger to become a better blocker and I can always improve my route running. I’m confident that will happen in the next year.”