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Niklas named a Mackey Award semi-finalist

Nov 18, 2013, 4:43 PM EDT

Troy Niklas Getty Images

A season after teammate Tyler Eifert was named the Mackey Award winner for the best tight end in the country, teammate Troy Niklas was named a semi-finalist. The 6-foot-7, 270-pound junior was one of eight named to the final list.

In his second season at the position, Niklas has 25 catches for 390 yards and five touchdowns, his first year in the starting lineup after apprenticing behind Eifert. In addition to his impressive season as a receiver, Niklas might be one of the country’s most physical blockers at the position.

Other semi-finalists include:

Jace Amaro, Jr. (Texas Tech)
Ted Bolser, Sr. (Indiana)
Eric Ebron, Jr. (North Carolina)
Devin Funchess, Soph. (Michigan)
Gator Hoskins, Sr. (Marshall)
Nick O’Leary, Jr. (Florida State)
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jr. (Washington)

The Mackey Award featured Notre Dame tight ends for almost as long as they’ve been handing out the trophy. Before winning the award, Eifert was a finalist. Before that, Kyle Rudolph was a two-time semi-finalist for the award in both 2010 and 2009. Both John Carlson (2006) and Anthony Fasano (2005) were finalists as well for the award.

Three finalists will be named November 25, with the award handed out on December 12 at the Home Depot College Football Awards.  

  1. whiskeystraight - Nov 18, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    I would like to see him utilized more in the passing game. He is a match-up nightmare for any LB/DB. Next year (assuming he comes back) both he and Koyack should be focal points of the pass offense.

    • alsatiannd - Nov 19, 2013 at 7:50 AM

      Great for Herc, but we could have really used him at LB this year. Now that Koyack is coming into his own this year, is flipping Nicklas back to D completely out of the picture?

      • whiskeystraight - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:44 AM

        Niklas is likely a first round pick when he goes pro. He won’t be switching positions.

  2. tony34343434 - Nov 18, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    I agree. The Patriots use tight-ends and a short passing game, that is what we need. Keep it simple. RUN THE BALL. That is what Notre Dame football has been built on, and good defense. We need a power game we dont get the same tyep of athletes that Oregon does. Forget the spread, pistol etc. I have been hearing Bryant and Folson are thinking of transferring. Ever since the NC game nothing but bad news, we need some good news. Lets win these last two and finish strong, GO IRISH!!!

    • shamrocknroll - Nov 18, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      “I have been hearing…” followed by unfounded negative rumors.



  3. mediocrebob - Nov 18, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    Irish will need to improve the run game next year to possess the ball more and keep the defense off the field as much as possible IMO.

    • nudeman - Nov 18, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      Well I don’t disagree there buddy, but wouldn’t that have been a plan for THIS year?

      Bad QB, good OL and RBs. And so Kelly throws it 40x game. WTF

      So I don’t count on logic ruling the day next yr.

  4. nudeman - Nov 18, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    Some thoughts after reading a couple other ND sites:
    1. There are some who think Rees deserves some special consideration Saturday.

    2. To that I saw “Why?”. Because he’s been heavily criticized? Consider this:
    – He was a lightly recruited 3 star guy
    – He has never once won the starting QB job in pre season
    – Has had the starting job dropped in his lap 3 of 4 years
    – Arguably could have expected no more than token appearances in his ND career
    – Has started ~25 games and has never been held accountable for his poor play
    – I would never boo him, EVER, but I will be glad when this era is over
    – If you want to start at QB for ND you need to be able to take the heat
    – They don’t give awards for a laconic type who plays badly against good teams

    3. Rumors are swirling that Elam might commit. HUGE get, if true

    4. Can’t wait for the post TR era. Good kid, blah blah. Poor QB who’s thrown 7 INTs in ND’s 3 losses this year

    5. If ND has any huevos they will decline a Crap Bowl bid against NIU. The nonsense about the 15 practices being so important is … nonsense

    6. BYU game needs to be a Folston showcase. Give GAIII his requisite 9 carries. Give Cam 5. And give Folston 18 – 20.

    7. If Farley or Jackson starts, I’ll puke. If both start I’ll drink heavily, then puke.

    8. There’s a reason why we don’t hear Russell’s name much. Apparently he can cover. Jackson … not so much

    9. TJ Jones, even if he doesn’t play another down is the team MVP

    10. Very proud of Big Lou, who as a black guy from south FL, RS his first year, was a fish out of water and probably hated life in SB his first couple years. The boy has grown into a man and more than anyone else is the face of this team.
    Big Lou … YOU are the inspiration of this team.

    • sm29irish - Nov 18, 2013 at 11:18 PM

      Nude can you elaborate on the Elam situation. I thought we trailed both Bama and Kentucky. Would be a huge get and in my opinion an almost must get at this point.

      • nudeman - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:46 AM

        There was a 4HL cryptic post by someone allegedly in the know about Elam alluding to him being Irish. Can’t remember the exact post. Will try to find it later.

    • whiskeystraight - Nov 18, 2013 at 11:46 PM

      Elam would be a HUGE get (pun intended). I’m surprised there hasn’t been more interest from DT/NG prospects. With Nix (99.9% likely) going pro, there is a huge void on the defense. There are no pure NG’s left on the team. You could argue for Jarron Jones, but he would need to gain some weight and learn a whole new position. Even Tony Springmann is no more than a serviceable backup at this point.

      The coaching staff has really dropped the ball on this position in my opinion. Some will say that Vanderdoes was supposed to be the guy, but he is a 3-technique DT (think Bears DT Henry Melton) or 5-technique DE. I follow several ND sites and haven’t seen them even remotely close to landing someone who could be considered a true, 0-technique NG. This is the most important position in the 3-4 defense, and needs to be addressed annually.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:50 AM

      Nude…agree on all counts except one minor point. I thought Nix was from northern Fla. Jacksonville area if I remember correctly, an area where ND hasn’t traditionally been a presence on the recruiting trail making Big Lou’s commitment all the more unusual.

    • heartofgoldandblue - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:50 AM

      Agree mostly as with most your views generally…I will also be happy when we are past the Rees era but it feels like its personal sometimes w you. Rees is not a capable D-1 QB, he had some great performances along with some miserable ones, never could take care of the ball but he was the best that Tommy could be. So many people make excuses for him but that’s not his fault. He’s been exemplary teammate and student athlete. Does he need to be honored? Absolutely not, but I think he does need to be respected.

      As for opting out of a bowl game, I completely disagree. You play every game possible and finish your season if only for the seniors.

      • nudeman - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:44 AM

        It’s not personal in a Me vs Tommy way. It’s more Me vs. the Clowns
        My ire is stoked by the nonsense I’ve read from the Rees supporters.
        In the last 3 weeks (not here), I’ve read:

        – He might be the greatest ND man ever. (I’m serious)
        – He should be an honorary captain on Saturday (No he shouldn’t)
        – He is the heart and soul of this team (perhaps this is why they play like they have none)
        – Where would we be this year without Tommy (don’t know; but dying to find out next year)
        – This is Tommy’s team (that came from Kelly himself, after Purdue)

        I understand rallying around the guy because he gets a lot of heat.
        But he’s basically a below average player who’s lucked into the starting job 3 of 4 years.
        He is owed no special level of attention or honor.

        Where would we be without TJ Jones? Or Zack Martin? Or Jaylon Smith?
        Rees is hardly the team MVP. Not even top 10.

    • mtndguy - Nov 19, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      I don’t understand the mentality of declining a bowl invitation. Followers of ND football have heard this before. It’s this idea that ND is “too good” for the bowl game that fuels the ND haters. ND isn’t deserving of a BCS Bowl. That reality sucks, but it’s where ND is right now. They are deserving of whatever bowl they get picked for (if they do), so they should play in it, and they should destroy whatever team they’re up against.

      • nudeman - Nov 19, 2013 at 12:11 PM

        It is admittedly an old school point of view, coming from me anyway
        When ND first started going to bowl games in 1969, their stated position was:
        If we can play someone ranked higher than us and have the oppty to improve our position, we’ll do it. And based on the success of the Parseghian and Devine and Holtz eras, that meant they’d only go to the Orange, Cotton or Sugar, then later the Fiesta the major bowls of that era.

        I realize things have changed massively, but to me, ND in something called the Pinstripe Bowl or the Poinsettia Bowl against a school like NIU is ambarrassing.

        And I don’t necessarily subscribe to the 15 practices being so important.
        I imagine they help to some degree, but not as much as coaches would have us think.

      • mtndguy - Nov 19, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        I agree that it could be embarrassing. I see some teams, BYU for example who end up playing in the Copper Bowl, or Poinsettia Bowl and think that it’s embarrassing. I think the difference though is that ND will undoubtedly be on TV no matter what bowl they get into, and they’ll also sell out the stadium, and hopefully they’ll also win big.

        I guess all in all, I’m longing for the old days like you, when ND deserved the right to be picky.

      • papadec - Nov 19, 2013 at 5:39 PM

        NIU @ 10-0 is currently ranked as #16 on the BSD hit parade. A better record & ranking than our beloved Irish – this year. We should give them the respect they earned, and play them if we are selected to do so……… and beat the snot out of them to further PO the voters who put them there.

    • irishangst88 - Nov 20, 2013 at 8:23 PM

      Good stuff as usual, Nude.

  5. mediocrebob - Nov 18, 2013 at 11:30 PM


    Couldn’t agree more about TR. He gave the Irish what he is probably worth.

    The only reason I’d say the bowl practices would be big this year is to get Golson back prior to spring ball.

  6. mediocrebob - Nov 19, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    The embarrassing part would be losing in said bowl games. But you gotta play.

  7. padomer - Nov 19, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    Yea on TR, I assume his praise comes from the fact that his record and numbers, tho not stellar, greatly exceed expectations based upon what he’s got to offer. Of course one certainly wouldn’t want to root against him (or anyone in ND uniform), I too am excited for the post TR era. Personally, I’m cool when “Rudy” is a practice squad DE, not our starting QB.

  8. padomer - Nov 19, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    And while everything looks to be trending upward with the EG situation, he doesn’t have a large enough sample size for me to be completely comfortable. He could regress given more responsibility or remain stagnate? I pray that isn’t the case, but at the same time I hope MZ is progressing rapidly as well.

  9. irishlee10 - Nov 20, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    If we played NIU, we would lose. Idk why some of you guys are throwing around NIU like they’re Alabama State.. We suck right now, always play down to our competition. We should burry teams like Pitt based solely on talent level

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