Reports: Kyle Rudolph Heading to NFL

Notre Dame got its first bit of bad news on Tuesday night when reports began surfacing that junior tight end Kyle Rudolph has decided to forgoe his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.  Both Irish Illustrated and Keith Arnold from NBC has reported that Rudolph will enter the draft and has selected an agent.

Reports are that Kyle Rudolph has decided to forgoe his senior season and enter the 2011 NFL Draft. (Photo - Icon SMI)

No official word has come from Rudolph or Notre Dame, but these reports are not that surprising as many have felt that Rudolph was most likely headed to the NFL even after missing the final seven games of the 2010 season with a severe hamstring injury.

Back in December, Rudolph and teammate Michael Floyd requested evaluations from the NFL Advisory Committee.  Those results came in before last week’s Sun Bowl with Brian Kelly telling reporters he would share the results with his star players when they returned to South Bend.

Despite the hamstring injury Rudolph suffered this season and the shoulder injury he sustained during the 2009 season, he is considered one of, if not the best, tight end in this year’s draft.

“I still think Kyle Rudolph would be the first tight end selected, although his injury and recovery time is obviously a major question mark,” NFL Draft Countdown’s Scott Wright’s told me in December.  Wright also said he thought Rudolph might fall to the second round, but if he is the top tight end selected he very well could go in the first round as there has been at least one tight end selected in the first round of the draft since 1999.

It’s hard to fault Rudolph for opting for the NFL if he was advised that he was going to be at least a 2nd round pick.   Last year Rob Gronkowski missed his entire junior year with an injury, and was still a second round pick by the New England Patriots.

If Rudolph is indeed finished with his Notre Dame career, he will leave South Bend with 90 catches for 1,032 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Unfortunately, Notre Dame fans never got to see what Rudolph could really do.  Slowed by injuries and for some reason not used more often when he was healthy a year ago and then missing more than half of this season with the hamstring injury; Rudolph was never able to be the game changing tight end he clearly has the talent to be.

Notre Dame fans will, however, always have the memory of Rudolph’s ridiculous 95 yard touchdown catch and run against Michigan.  That one, singular played showed just why Rudolph is considered one of the top tight ends despite his injury.  The only tight ends that could make a play like that are playing on Sundays.

We’ll wait for official word from Rudolph and Notre Dame, but with both Irish Illustrated and Inside the Irish reporting it, it’s safe to say that at the very least, it’s likely Rudolph’s Notre Dame career is complete.

We wish Rudolph well at the next level and hope that Tyler Eifert is ready to pick up where he left off at the end of this season.

And for your enjoyment, here is that 95 yard touchdown against Michigan.


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  1. Yeah purplepp1eater is right, Washington would DEFINITELY have taken him if he was there, I know peploe talk about Luck next year but apart from him the rest of the QB’s coming out next year don’t have any better stats than Ponder anyway and aren’t nearly as smart. They now have McNabb so he won’t have to be rushed in to start and they have Adrian Peterson to hand off to as well. He’s really smart, accurate and athletic .at least they had the balls to take a chance on him

  2. I really wish he would stay, but i know he will easily go late first round to alot of teams that need a star tight end. Floyd Needs to stay and up his stock. He will not see the light till late second or even third rounds. Thats a HUGE money drop

  3. Good luck Kyle, thanks for the memories!!

    Eifert, Welch, and the “STUD” Koyak will handle it from here!I think Koyack is going to be better then cRudolph. The kid is unbelievable!!

  4. You can’t fault the kid and any others who leave early. They us nothing. D-1 universities make an almost obscene amount of profit from football entertainment.

    But were I to advise any of them, I would advise always to stay in the 4 years and get the degree. There might be millions of dollars available in a short span with a sweet pro contract. But the majority of players are bankrupt by age 40, so all that moeny ends up in someone else’s hands.

    Consider Chris Stewart. With a law degree, he’ll have a job even if he blows a knee out.

    It’s not us whom these kids owe to stay in school, it’s themselves.

  5. When I was a kid I recall the debate on whether Rocket Ismail would leave early for the NFL. A family member asked me whether I want to go to college and I said, “of course.” And he said, “Why?” I wanted to learn some stuff that I could use when I go out into the real world and find a job that makes me happy and pays me decent money.

    And he said, “But what if you could perform a lawful job and make a million or two million dollars in one year — more money than you’d need for the rest of your life? To do it, you’d have to skip a year or two of college. Would you do it?”

    I’m not disappointed, at all, in the thinking that goes into these players. Every morning I get up and commute 40 minutes, work all day, sit on a train in the dark at night, get home to kiss my wife and squeeze my little kids, eat dinner with them and help them get to bed. Certainly I am lucky to have a job I like. But the hours are long, vacations are short and I’m not making anywhere near a million dollars per year.

    Selfishly, I hope the kid stays. There is value in college and the time to get it done is when you’re young. But if the kid has a chance to make several million dollars per year to play a game for seven months out of the year, I can see why he’d take it — especially if the kid is the best TE in the draft.

  6. Good Luck to Rudolph…I will be a fan in the NFL….

    I am really disappointed in the thinking that goes into these players leaving for the NFL… I understand the world we live in. Things are different now and everything is a business and money driven or success driven.. I would love it if Rudolph and Floyd and everyone else eligible committed to play another yr in college to win as a team, family with ND pride… I am not saying They don’t have this pride and desire but they are given no real choice… We are all about MONEY MONEY MONEY…. College is really an amazing exp… which these players will never forget…. That is why former ND players come back to watch games and send their kids to school..

    Rudolph and FLoyd and Gray and whoever else can be at this great Institution with high character people all around them. Forming relationships and character that will last the their lifetime…. and like Teo said in one of his comments get an ND education in a protected environment…. Not real world stuff… a place to help them Mature for some real hard life stuff….

    LOU HOltz said “it’s not WHAT you have but WHO you have that counts”

    Life is tough with tough decision and we are in a world that the decision that we are forced to make is about Money/ success/ Material goods….

    be cool and stay in school

  7. Floyd will return. The fact that we know Kyle Rudolph is leaving and have heard nothing about Mike Floyd strongly suggests to me that Floyd will be returning. I’m assuming that both recieved their NFL evaluations early this week and have spoken to their coaches, team members and each other about the outcomes of those evalutions. So hearing nothing about Floyd is strangely telling.

    This will be okay. I hold no hard feelings whatsoever towards Rudy here, he’s doing what’s right given the situation. Also, we can absorb Rudolph leaving, but Floyd would be worse for the team, IMO.

  8. I agree that Eifert filled in well. However, 95% of the time we didn’t see Rudolph’s true potential…whether it was injury or lack of targeting (the big problem, in my opinion). Eifert did well with the lack of Rudolph, but Rudolph is one of those talents that you just don’t see often. He had SO much potential, and we saw glimpses every once in a while, but if he had really had his potential fulfilled, we would REALLY be missing him leaving early. oh well, he’ll blossom in the NFL. Best of luck to him.

  9. If Floyd showed the other wideouts what it takes to make a catch and do his job… Then leave but if he feels like he has gas in the tank to make it through Longos training and make him a better all around wide receiver then he should come back.. No hard feelings and I hope he gets drafted by the Dolphins right after Andrew Luck… LOL We can all wish right..

  10. Good luck to Rudolph, but this won’t hurt as much as Floyd leaving. Eifert filled in prefectly and with the TE’s behind him, the Irish are set at TE for the next four to five years.

  11. The TE group in this year’s draft class is a lot less strong than the WR class. I hate to see Rudolph go but not concerned…Eifert filled in great and I think that kid will be a weapon in the coming years.

    Floyd should stay though for two main reason: 1.) He needs to show he can get thru a year injury free and 2.) With the likes of Julio Jones, A.J. Green, etc., the WR class is clogged and would shove Floyd down in the pecking order.

    I can’t wait for kickoff 2011…Go Irish!

  12. I think this is a good move for Rudolph. He will be a first or second round pick. Floyd should stay though to up his draft stock next year.

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