Jimmy Clausen wasn't the only big name to announce he won't be returning to South Bend next year as Golden Tate made it known that he will also enter his name into the 2010 NFL Draft.
Tate, a 5'11" junior out of Hendersonville, Tennessee, leaves Notre Dame as one of the most prolific receivers in the program's long history.
Catching 93 balls for almost 1,500 yards through the air (both single-season school records), Tate hauled in 15 touchdowns from Clausen.
Serving as a threat out of the backfield in the wildcat formation, he also rushed 25 times for 184 yards along with a touchdown. Tate's versatility may serve him well in the upcoming draft as he has the mind and skill-set of both a receiver and a halfback.
In addition to his offensive talent, Tate is an exceptional return specialist when giving opportunities as he displayed in his punt return for a touchdown vs. Pittsburgh, keeping the Irish in the game single handily.
According to draft experts, Tate is projected to be taken somewhere in the 25 to 40 pick range. The only question mark for teams will be Tate's undersized frame.
"With the year I had this year, it was kind of hard to stay," Tate said at a press conference today. "To be honest, I don't think I can do much better next year or any year in college. The time was right."
The next head coach at Notre Dame will now be left with some major question marks with the absence of two of most important pieces to the 2009 team leaving South Bend. Dayne Crist, the successor to Clausen, went down with an ACL injury and will most likely not be fully healthy for spring practice, a critical time period for a to-be new starter.
Although the Irish will still have sophomore-sensation Michael Floyd next season, their wide receiver depth chart consists of elite, yet youthful and unexperienced, talent.
According to ESPN, Brian Kelly will be interviewed by Notre Dame on Tuesday in New York City. Expect the Irish to make a full push to get Kelly if Bob Stoops and others have already turned in their responses with solid "no's".
Jim Harbaugh will also meet with or already has met with Jack Swarbrick.
Kelly's latest tweet from 4:00 PM ET reads: "Just informed our team that Notre Dame has contacted me and I will listen to what they have to say."
Many Irish fans are already speculating why the current Cincinnati coach would even leak such information while rumors are already circulating that an agreement has been made between Kelly and the University.
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