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Sources: Rudolph opting for NFL

Jan 4, 2011, 9:35 PM EDT


It appears that Kyle Rudolph has played his last game for the University of Notre Dame. According to two sources, Rudolph will forgo his senior season for the Irish and opt into next Spring’s NFL Draft.

A preseason All-American candidate before the year started, Rudolph’s final year at Notre Dame didn’t go according to plan, as he was plagued with a hamstring problem from preseason camp. That same hamstring was injured against Pitt in the sixth game of the year, requiring season-ending surgery.

Rudolph looks to have zeroed in on agent Drew Rosenhaus and will likely withdraw from school to prepare for the upcoming draft workouts. He completes his Notre Dame career with 90 receptions, 1,032 yards and 8 touchdowns during three seasons, the final two plagued by injuries.

While Rudolph hasn’t publicly revealed what the NFL Draft Advisory Board told him, many pundits believe that the 6-6, 265-pound tight end is the best available in the draft. Even with the injury, there’s been a tight end taken in the first round of every draft since 1999, so if Rudolph is as good as his ranking, he could hear his name called on the first evening of picks.

Rudolph situation is similar to that of New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who sat our his entire junior season at Arizona with a back injury and still was picked 42nd overall.


  1. bradwins - Jan 5, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    It pains me to say this, because I really want to like Kyle and I wish him the best as a pro, but in my opinion his career at Notre Dame was disappointing and he never lived up to his billing. If he is still considered the top TE prospect in college football, then good for him. To me, he was clearly a good player but never dominated. I’m sure a lot of it was due to injury, but in that regard he had a similar time at ND as similarly regarded Michael Floyd. Floyd was clearly a dominant player when he was on the field. I do not feel the same way about Rudolph.

    As a Patriots season ticket holder, I can say that I have seen Rob Gronkowski and my friends, Kyle Rudolph is no Rob Gronkowski. I see him as more of a John Carlson, who is a nice player. Catches a bunch of balls. Gets a legit NFL paycheck. Gronkowski is going to be a perennial pro-bowler and is an absolute monster in the passing game and the running game.

    I don’t think Rudolph is making a mistake because you can’t tell a kid to turn down first round money (or 2nd round money even, at worst). I’m just disappointed he didn’t do more in his time at ND before he moved up to play on Sundays.

    • seamus05 - Jan 5, 2011 at 9:26 AM

      I would beg to differ. Rudy has much better speed, especially in the open field, and with the extra pounds he will put on in his first year in the NFL, he will be a much better blocker.

      Put him on the field with say, Aaron Rodgers, or the like and I would say that he will a very good career, if not great. Lose him on a team like Seattle or San Fran, and your right, not much to talk about.

      Tom Brady and Bellicheck make a lot of good players look great!

    • borromini - Jan 5, 2011 at 12:17 PM

      I’m with Seamus on this one. I’ve seen both Gronkowski and Rudolph play and would put Rudolph as an equal but with more overall upside/potential. Not doing more during his time at ND was more due to injuries and having to share receptions with receivers like Tate and Floyd than not living up to his potential. He improved dramatically as a blocker from his days as a true freshman.

  2. 1historian - Jan 5, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    If he gets with the right QB the sky is the limit. Would Gronk be as good as he is without Brady throwing the passes?

    Good luck kid

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