Rudolph’s bumpy road to NFL likely ends tonight


After a final season at Notre Dame that went anything but according to plan, tight end Kyle Rudolph will likely hear his name announced tonight in the first round of the NFL Draft.

The junior from Cincinnati only lasted through six full games of the 2010 season, as a nagging hamstring tweak suffered during preseason camp turned into a season ending injuring in mid-October, forcing the Irish to play without one of their best weapons for the final seven games of the season.

After major surgery and six months of rehabilitation, Rudolph was back on the field at Notre Dame, working out with his teammates during the Irish’s annual Pro Day audition for NFL scouts. has a nice feature on Rudolph’s rehabilitation process in episode ten of their “Everything to Prove” series, leading into the NFL Draft. It chronicles Rudolph’s rehabilitation process as Kyle prepped for the draft in Southern California and reminds you just how impressive Rudolph is as a physical specimen.

Kyle might be up late tonight, as most analysts peg him as a late first-round pick if he goes at all in tonight’s festivities. He’d be the first Irish player taken in the first round since Brady Quinn went 22nd overall to the Cleveland Browns in 2007.

It’s been mentioned here before, but if any set of Notre Dame position players seems to get respect in the NFL Draft, it’s at tight end. Since 2005, the Irish have had Jerome Collins (5th round), Anthony Fasano (2nd round), and John Carlson (2nd round) all get picked, a trio matched only by guards Dan Stevenson, Dan Santucci, and Eric Olsen — all three late round picks.

With Ian Williams likely next off the board for the Irish and Darrin Walls and Armando Allen potentially late round picks, Charlie Weis’ heralded recruiting classes take another hit in hindsight, with Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate the only Irish athletes recruited under Weis to hear their names called early, and neither becoming the first round picks that they expected to become.

It’ll likely be up to Rudolph (or potentially Michael Floyd and Manti Te’o down the road) to finally crack a first round ceiling that hasn’t happened since Quinn’s 2007 freefall.

Even with heavy rain in forecast, kickoff stays in primetime

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Post & Courier (via Twitter)

With rain falling and the forecast expecting much more, Notre Dame and Clemson are kicking off in primetime anyway.

College GameDay was on campus this morning, showcasing the soggy conditions and the mud-covered campus. And while some wondered whether or not the kickoff would move up to earlier in the day to take advantage of a slight lull in the conditions, kickoff is remaining at 8:22 p.m.

“We’ve been in constant communication with state and local law enforcement and have monitored weather throughout the week and today,” director of athletics Dan Radakovich said in a statement Friday night. “I’ve spoken with campus leaders, State Highway Patrol, and Governor Nikki Haley, and feel confident we can play the game as scheduled. We ask our fans to be conscientious arriving and departing from our campus as we will have some limitations due to this ongoing weather event.”

Ball security will be key this evening, and during an interview with Tom Rinaldi this morning Kelly mentioned the punting and kick game as concerns in these conditions. The Irish came to Clemson prepared for miserable conditions and if the forecast holds, they’ll get just that.

Irish get commitment from 2017 TE Cole Kmet

Cole Kmet

Notre Dame’s tight end recruiting keeps rolling. The Irish received a commitment from Illinois tight end Cole Kmet, who adds a third piece to Notre Dame’s 2017 recruiting class.

Kmet is a 6-foot-4, 230-pounder, joining fellow blue-chipper 2017 tight end Brock Wright in next year’s recruiting class (they won’t sign until February 2017). He had early offers from plenty of the top programs around the country, but picked Notre Dame over finalist Ohio State, a nice recruiting victory for Scott Booker and Brian Kelly.

Kmet talked about the decision with Irish 247 who broke the news:

“I think it was just a gut feeling knowing it was Notre Dame,” Kmet to Irish 247. “I didn’t want to pass on playing for that program and attending that university. It’s always been the school I wanted an offer from and Ohio State made it really close, but I just couldn’t pass on Notre Dame.”