Notre Dame tight end and former Bishop Dwenger standout Tyler Eifert and linebacker Manti Te'o filed paper work with the NFL's College Advisory Committee to be evaluated for the draft, coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday.
The paper work is the first step for underclassmen in their decisions to remain in college or leave a year early. Receiver Michael Floyd, who returned to the Irish, and tight end Kyle Rudolph, who was selected in the second round of the draft by the Minnesota Vikings, went through the same process at this time last season.
"I think it's important that both of them get evaluated so they can see where they stand," Kelly said. "But as far as it goes towards a decision, I think that's only part of it.
"I don't want to speak for either one of those guys, but I think we all know why Manti is here. If Manti just wanted to go pro, he'd be somewhere else. He loves Notre Dame, and he loves what it's about, the same thing with Tyler. We'll see where it goes. But this is the time we encourage them to get all the information and then we can make a decision."
Eifert is Notre Dame's second leading receiver with 57 catches for 713 yards and five touchdowns.
The 6-foot-6, 249-pound junior is rated he No. 1 tight end prospect by nfldraftscout.com and the No. 55 overall prospect, according to espn.com. He has been projected as a late first-round or second-round selection.
Te'o is the highest rated pro prospect at Notre Dame, according to ESPN analysis Mel Kyper Jr. The 6-2, 255-pound junior is the 13th overall prospect, according to Kyper.
Te'o led the defense with 113 tackles, 13 for loss and 461/27.sacks.
He would be competing against fellow inside linebackers Luke Kuechly of Boston College and Vontaze Burfict of Arizona State for top billing at the position. Kyper rates Kuechly as the No. 12 prospect and Burfict No. 15.
While Eifert and Te'o prepare to face No. 25 Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 29 and ponder their future, Kelly will make every effort to keep the two players with Notre Dame for one more season.
"We want them to be part of the program if they want to be part of the program," Kelly said. "We're not going to hold a kid back if their heart is set on moving on. It's too hard to be a Notre Dame student and not have your heart in it. We'll provide them with all the resources we have, but we certainly want these two young men back as well."