SOUTH BEND, Ind. — When the NFL draft ended Saturday night after seven rounds, Notre Dame football was in elite company.
Notre Dame’s eight draftees were tied with Alabama and second only to LSU for the most over the weekend.
The deep draft success marked the most Irish players drafted in one year during the Brian Kelly era. The previous high was six in 2013.
While Notre Dame’s overall presence at the draft was somewhat newfound and noteworthy relative to the last few years, the school continued an equally noteworthy performance in another area—but one that has come to be expected over the years.
When the Arizona Cardinals selected Troy Niklas with the 52nd pick, the school noted that Niklas became Notre Dame’s fifth consecutive starting tight end to be drafted in the first two rounds.
Such recent success, coupled with the long-term history—Niklas became the 12th tight end in program history to be chosen in the first or second round—has earned Notre Dame the nickname “Tight End U.”
5th TE in last 10 years at University of ND drafted in 1st or 2nd round ND is TE U!!— Scott Booker (@CoachSBooker) May 10, 2014
So with Niklas gone, will Irish senior tight end Ben Koyack be next?
So Ben Koyack can pretty much bank on going in the second round next year, right?— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) May 10, 2014
It’s early, but let’s check in on some 2015 rankings and mock drafts and evaluate Koyack’s prospects.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.