Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate said there experiences at Notre Dame will be some of the best in their lives
And when the two juniors announced they would not return for their senior seasons and instead enter the NFL draft, they both said they still have unfinished business at the university – getting their degrees.
Clausen and Tate, who are both listed as sociology majors in the team's media guide, said the planned to finish their degrees at some point at Notre Dame.
That was likely good news for Charlie Weis, who was fired Nov. 30 but sat between the two players Monday.
"I look forward to the day they'll join me as Notre Dame alumni," Weis, who did not answer questions Monday, said in a statement. "
As far as Clausen's and Tate's football degrees, you could say they graduated with flying colors after the numbers they put up this season.
Clausen completed 68 percent of his passed (289 of 425) for 3,722 yards with 28 touchdowns and four interceptions. He averaged 310 passing yards per game.
Tate, a converted high school running back, set the school's single-season records for receptions (93) and receiving yards (1,496) this year and leaves with the career receiving yards record (2,707).
He caught 15 touchdown passes and scored two rushing touchdowns and returned a punt for a score.
"Based on all the information that's available, they've both put themselves in position to advance their football careers to the next level and have a great chance to be successful," Weis said.
Here are some more subjects Clausen and Tate addressed during their news conference:
Clausen on where he is projected in the draft: "We talked about that a little bit. Me and Golden are going to send out paper work in and see where our projections are. At this point in time, there are still college games being played. To be honest, I don't know where I'll be projected. There are people talking different things all over the TV and the Internet. I'm just real excited. This is a great time in my life, and probably the biggest decision I've ever made.
Tate on where he is projected in the draft: "I've talked to a few people; I think they predicted me to go between the first and the seventh round (laughing). Seriously, I'm not sure. I'm just going to start working toward getting up there."
Clausen on his Notre Dame legacy: "I don't know. That's still to be determined. I just hope I left this place better than I found it. It's been a special time here. I'm probably not going to realize that until a few years down the road. When I think about not being here next semester and next year, it gives me the chills. It's just been a great time in my life, and I couldn't ask for anything more."
Clausen on the possible changes in the NFL salary structure factoring into his and Tate's decision: "Not at all. A lot of people have that talk about the rookie salary cap and things like that, but this is the right time for us to go out. I don't think we could have done more than we did the past year."
Clausen on the attention he got from the media at Notre Dame: "I think that is all going to help me down the road. When you come to a place like Notre Dame with all the media attention, it's hard at one point, but when you look past it, it is only going to help you down the road. It's been a rollercoaster, but it's prepared me for the next level. And hopefully down the road, it is going to make me a better player and a better person."
Tate on focusing on football and not continuing his baseball career: "As of now, I'm going to focus on football. But who knows, maybe in about five or six years, I'll enter some softball league."
Tate on if he thought he would be talking about going to the NFL after having six catches for 131 yards as a freshman: "Absolutely not. (As a freshman) you could tell me a play and I still didn't know how to run it. I've grown a lot. I've made big steps, but I never thought I'd be sitting here, declaring for the draft."