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He’s got big shoes to fill, no doubt. Then again, all he really has to do is continue his in-game performance. Eifert caught 27 passes for 352 yards and two touchdowns, with 26 of those catches coming in the last seven games of the season. Not bad production by any means, and if he can play strong all season, look for him to continue the Fighting Irish run of top notch tight ends.
So can he? If tight ends had any worries that Kelly would not use the position much in his version of the spread, those fears have been quickly erased. Rudolph and Eifert combined for over 700 yards last season. So the system is definitely in place for Eifert to have some footballs thrown his way.
Eifert himself has already proven his skills, racking up over 350 yards. While Eifert came in as a moderately ranked three star recruit, other major programs also extended him offers, indicating that coaches clearly saw his upside. And at 6'6" and 250 pounds he does not have much to worry about in the size department.
Given his already proven performance, there should be little doubt that Eifert will not under-perform, barring a serious injury of course. Listed as one of the 34 members of the Mackey Award list, Eifert has the speed and ability to break free of defenders and get open for big plays.
Further, Eifert, along with most Notre Dame players, had to switch from Weis' pro-style attack to Brian Kelly's version of the spread. Now that all of those X's and O's have been settled, defenders on the other side of the line of scrimmage are going to have a heck of a time slowing the Fighting Irish down.
And if you don’t take my word for it, look to the Rivals.com experts. They have him ranked as the eighth best tight end in the nation.