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Kelly adds Floyd and Rudolph to his recruiting list

Dec 6, 2010, 4:54 PM EDT

Getty Images - Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

Brian Kelly addressed the media as he discussed the Irish schedule heading into their December 31st date with the Miami Hurricanes in El Paso. We’ve got plenty of time to discuss some of the intricacies of the bowl preparation, but one comment should likely steal most of the attention from today.

After avoiding the topic for much of the regular season, Kelly came out openly as he pushed hard for wide receiver Michael Floyd and tight end Kyle Rudolph to stick around for their senior seasons.

“We’re heavily recruiting them,” Kelly said candidly. “We’re recruiting them for Notre Dame. But they’ve got to make decisions. We’ve already begun the early evaluation process for them, they’ve asked, both of them.”

That Floyd and Rudolph would request the NFL advisory committee to give them an idea of their draft ranking should be a surprise to absolutely nobody, and might be the best thing to happen if the Irish want to keep either Floyd or Rudolph around for a senior season. Kelly alluded to the fact that neither Jimmy Clausen nor Golden Tate did that after big junior seasons led them to leave Notre Dame early.

“Last year, I don’t know if either one of those players even asked to be evaluated early,” Kelly said. “They were going to go. Both of these men asked to be evaluated by the NFL committee. We should be able to get some information on where they’re projected to go in the next few weeks.”

Kelly’s philosophy here is obviously different than the one employed by former head coach Charlie Weis, who had many more connections to the NFL through his coaching tree than Kelly. Still, if Tate or Clausen didn’t get a draft grade by the advisory board, you’ve got to think they were dealing with some pretty faulty information when deciding whether or not to forgo their senior season at Notre Dame. This might have been a case where Weis’ NFL relationships actually hurt his players, providing biased information to both Irish stars last year instead of an accurate predictor of where Clausen or Tate would end up.

It’s easy to play a guessing game now, but another year of Clausen or Tate in college wouldn’t have hurt either players’ draft standing, barring a major injury. If you look at the work that Floyd did becoming a more complete wide receiver and the QB-friendly system Clausen would’ve learned, it’s doubtful that he’d have been picked any later than 48th, regardless of guys like Andrew Luck and Jake Locker in the draft.

Still, the wildcard in all of this is the uncertainty of the labor agreement between the NFL and its players union. There’s no one out there that truly has any idea when this will get settled and what the landscape will look like after a new agreement has been reached, and what the timeline for signing draft picks will be.

It’s easy for those of us not making a multi-million dollar decision to say that your senior season at Notre Dame is priceless. But for the legacy of two great players, both Floyd and Rudolph could become immortal as Irish players if they sign up for one more autumn in South Bend.

  1. ndfootballfan4life - Dec 7, 2010 at 12:04 AM

    I find it hard to believe that Floyd or Rudolph would forego their senior seasons to be drafted in the second or third round. But I guess stranger things have happened…

  2. domer2003 - Dec 7, 2010 at 4:17 AM

    Keith, small oversight – the bowl game is dec. 31, not jan. 31.

    Thanks for the post. That’s actually really interesting, and, I would say, strange. Neither Clausen nor Tate consulting NFL AC. My guess is they both thought they would go slightly higher than they did. However, it was fairly clear that neither of them would fall to the 7th round.

    That said, with a decision that important, I don’t know how you forgo an outside opinion. I guess they figured it was best to get out of dodge. Strange to think what this season’s team might have looked like with them around. It would have been completely different. Frankly, I liked the team with the make-up it had.

    • 9irish - Dec 7, 2010 at 5:50 AM

      I agree. I think they would’ve stayed if Weis had. But! you always have this problem, especially with the QB, of always thinking, “that’s not the way we used to do it”. I wanted them to stay, but it might not have been such a bad thing that they left, in the long run. Very good players though…would’ve been interesting.

      • domer77 - Dec 7, 2010 at 10:42 PM

        2 comments worth noting. It is never a good think that first round/early second round draft choices leave early from a team essentially void of superstars. Second, your punctuation is an abomination. May I suggest either “Hooked on Phonics” or move your cursor over “Mr. Spell Check”. Maybe mommy can get you the latest edition of Kate Turabian, except she passed in ’87…that’s 1987 to you. BTW, Happy Holidays!!

      • domer77blowsgoats - Dec 8, 2010 at 10:00 AM

        What is this? A little holiday cheer between fierce adversaries? Well played. As for my holiday wishes for my two favorite ND Nation gents:

        9Irish – may the holidays bring you visions of sugar plums and Urban Meyer dancing in your head (preferably all wet and slick)

        Domer77 – may the holidays bring you a bountiful hornia and your very own feast plate (hint for 9Irisih – think the ’89 (thats 1989) ND squad and you should get my reference!!)

      • domer77blowsgoats - Dec 8, 2010 at 5:28 PM

        9IRISH!!! Looks like my holiday wish for you came early (pun intended)!! In case you haven’t seen, Urban Meyer (former ND wide receiver coach) just resigned…..AGAIN!! Oh lucky day for one Mr. 9Irish and may all the rest of your, ummmm, wet dreams come true (pun most definitely intended)!!

  3. gregiz - Dec 7, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    Recruiting Floyd and Rudolph just say “There won’t be an NFL next season because of the lockout so how about one more year”. Matter of fact no NBA either, college football is really going to be big next season.

  4. tim4nd - Dec 7, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    With clauson and tate it would have been the best offense in the country.I dont see how any team could have a denfense against them. If only!!!! by the way,thats december 31 not january 31

  5. bostonjan - Dec 8, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    As I mentioned on the Bennet Okotcha article, my Christmas list for all Irish fans:

    Hey Santa, All I want for Christmas is a “Six Pack”:

    1. Michael Floyd return commit
    2. Kyle Rudolph return commit
    3. Ishaq Williams commit
    4. Savon Huggins commit
    5. lineman commit; Troy Niklas, Cameron Clear, Antonio Richardson, and/or Aundrey Walker
    6. ATH commit: Christian French or Amir Carlisle

    Please Santa – it’s only a six pack and I’ve been good all year (well mostly good and for most of the year).
    😉 Happy Holidays!

    P.S. How about a small New Year’s gift – as in an injury free win in the Sun Bowl?

  6. hbmichael9 - Dec 10, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    I disagree with the articles premise – that Jimmy wouldn’t have been hurt by returning. While I definitely do not think Claussen would have taken a step back, a counterpoint to that would be Jake Locker. Last year he would have been a first rounder for sure, and likely a high one. This year he will be early 2nd round at best, depending on how the NFL season shakes out.

    Additionally, with the lockout looming, Locker likely will not get paid nearly as much as he would have. All to return for a mediocre season and get one more year of tutilige under Sarkissian.

    For Golden, at his size he would never have been a first rounder. He likely would have improvd (and for sure would have made ND significantly better) but from a selfish perspective he made the right move for him.

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