Story by 89 WLS Web Writer Kim Rasmussen
(CHICAGO) Former University of Nortre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert was selected with the 21st overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. Eifert was the first Fighting Irish player taken in this year's draft.
Eifert became the 64th former Notre Dame player to be drafted in the first round and the third Notre Dame player drafted in the first round in the past two years.
He is the first tight end selected in the first round of the draft since Jermaine Gresham of Oaklahoma in 2011, who was also selected 21st overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. Eifert is the first Notre Dame tight end to be taken in the first round since Irv Smith in 1993, who was selected 20th overall by the New Orleans Saints.
In addition to Eifert and Smith, three other Irish tight ends have been chosen in the first round: Derek Brown (14th overall by the New York Giants in 1992), Tony Hunter (12th overall by the Buffalo Bills in 1983) and Ken MacAfee (seventh overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 1978).
"This is such an exciting time for Tyler and his family," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. "He was faced with a difficult decision following his junior season whether or not to return to school. Tyler returned for his senior season and that decision was rewarded today. He proved to be the best tight end in college football, solidified himself as a first-round draft pick and, most importantly, earned his degree from the University of Notre Dame."
Eifert becomes the first Notre Dame player drafted by Cincinnati since 2007, when the Bengals selected both Dan Santucci and Chinedum Ndukwe in the seventh round.
He finished his career as the most prolific tight end in Notre Dame history. The 2012 John Mackey Award Winner, Eifert holds the school record for career receptions (140) and career receiving yards (1,840) by an Irish tight end. MacAfee had hed both records, which had stood since 1977. Eifert also holds single-season school records for receptions (63) and receiving yards (803) by a Notre Dame tight end.
In 2012, Eifert started all 13 games and either tied or led the Irish in receptions (50) and receiving yards (685). He also tied for the team high with four touchdown catches. Thirty-six of Eifert's 50 catches resulted in a touchdown or first down. He led Notre Dame with 12 receptions of at least 20 yards.
Eifert's honors and awards:
• 2012 Mackey Award
• 2012 Pro Football Weekly First Team All-American
• 2012 AP Second Team All-American
• 2012 Sporting News Second Team All-American
• 2012 Sports Illustrated Second Team All-American
• 2012 Walter Camp Second Team All-American
• 2012 CBS Sports Second Team All-American
• 2012 Notre Dame Offense Player of the Year
• 2012 Lombardi Award Watch List
• 2012 Maxwell Award Watch List
• 2012 Walter Camp Award Watch List
• 2011 Walter Camp First Team All-American
• 2011 Mackey Award Finalist
• 2011 Associated Press Second Team All-American
• 2011 Rivals Third Team All-American
• 2011 Phil Steele Third Team All-American
• 2011 SI.com Honorable Mention All-American
• 2011 Sporting News Midseason First Team All-American
• 2011 Phil Steele Midseason First Team All-American
Eifter's Notre Dame records:
• Single-Game Receptions By Tight End (Nov. 12, 2011 vs. Maryland, 8, t-2nd)
• Single-Game Receptions By Tight End (Oct. 8, 2011 vs. Air Force, 8, t-2nd)
• Single-Game Receptions By Tight End (Sept. 24, 2011 at Pittsburgh, 8, t-2nd)
• Single-Season Receptions By Tight End (2011, 63, 1st)
• Single-Season Receiving Yards By Tight End (2011, 803, 1st)
• Single-Season Touchdown Receptions By Tight End (2011, 5, 2nd)
• Single-Season Receiving Yards By Tight End (2012, 685, 3rd)
• Single-Season Receptions By Tight End (2012, 50, 3rd)
• Single-Season Touchdown Receptions By Tight End (2012, 4, t-4th)
• Single-Season Receptions (2011, 63, 9th)
• Career Receptions By Tight End (2009-12, 140, 1st)
• Career Receiving Yards By Tight End (2009-12, 1,840, 1st)
• Career Touchdown Receptions by Tight End (2009-12, 11, 2nd)
• Career Receptions (2009-12, 140, 6th)
• Career Touchdown Receptions (2009-12, 11, t-12th)
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