Tyler Eifert is the top target for Everett Golson in Notre Dame's passing attack, and the athletic tight end is considered the best in the nation, both for his play in college and potential impact on the next level. He'll need to find seams in Alabama's highly-touted defense to provide an aerial attack if Notre Dame is to win the 2013 BCS National Championship game Monday night.
The Irish don't prefer to move the ball through the air, but their tight end is the go-to target when they do. Eifert led the Fighting Irish in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns in 2012, making him an easy pick for the Mackey Award, given to the nation's best tight end. He's not known for his blocking, but he's got size and strength at 6'6 and 250 pounds, leaping ability to reach high passes, and has tremendous hands, making him an easy guy to get the ball to in the red zone.
Now a junior, Eifert had been a reserve as a freshman behind current Minnesota Viking Kyle Rudolph, but nearly doubled his production in 2011. He reeled in 63 catches for 803 yards, earning him a Mackey Award finalist spot, but he wasn't the team's featured target with Michael Floyd reeling in 100 passes for over 1,000 yards. This year, T.J. Jones was close behind Eifert, but the senior tight end led the team provided a big target for first-year starter Everett Golson, and ended up as the team's leader in most receiving categories.
The next level is promising for Eifert, as he's the top draft pick at the tight end spot, according to Dan Kadar of SB Nation's Mocking the Draft. Alabama blog Roll Bama Roll was worried about Eifert when comparing Notre Dame's receivers and tight ends to Alabama's.
Here's a look at Eifert's vital stats and performance in 2012:
|Receiving||Kickoff Returns||Punt Returns|
Here's Eifert's 2012 highlight reel: