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Irish Insights


Eifert's decision could come soon

Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert could be making a decision about his future soon.

The former Bishop Dwenger standout is the only high-profile junior still deciding between returning for another season or jumping into the NFL draft. Linebacker Manti Te'o ended questions about his future when he announced his decision to return at the Lott IMPACT Trophy dinner Dec. 11.

"We've had a number of conversations, and we are still having those conversations," coach Brian Kelly told reporters Monday in the final meeting with the media in South Bend before the Irish (8-4) head to Orlando, Fla., to play No. 25 Florida State (8-4) in the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 29.

"From Tyler's standpoint, obviously, the most important thing is to continue to work towards his degree regardless of what his decision is. I think that (decision is) going to come here very, very quickly."

Eifert submitted paperwork to the NFL's College Advisory Committee to be evaluated for the draft after the final regular-season game.

Tight ends coach Mike Denbrock said in a phone interview that the decision Eifert is facing hasn't hampered the 6-foot-6, 249-pounder's preparation to play the Seminoles.

"I think you have to go about your business and keep everybody focused on the task at hand. He's done a really nice job of that," Denbrock said.

"Right now, we are just full-fledge preparing for Florida State and their great defense, and trying to do the best we can to limit any kind of distractions around the football team whatsoever."

Eifert is Notre Dame's second-leading receiver this season, with 57 catches for 713 yards and five touchdowns.

"I think as time goes along you prove your worth to the offense based on the way you perform," Denbrock said. "He's done a great job in a lot of critical situations this year in proving that he is a go-to type of football player.

"As the year has gone along and progressed, we've continued to grow as an offense and featured him as much as we can, knowing he's a pretty reliable guy to get the ball to."

But his value goes beyond his receiving abilities.

Eifert has proven to be a versatile player, a major weapon in third-down situations and has the endurance to play every offensive snap.

"We never take him off the field," Kelly said. "He's a guy you can play on every snap. We use him in short yardage, he's the wing, he's the guy who is taking on the linebacker as well as getting matched up in space against the nickel. His versatility is his strength."

Te'o told reporters Monday that his decision to remain for a final season was based on being able to create memories.

Irish fans, and the coaching staff, can hope that Eifert feels the same way about playing college football for at least one more season. Eifert has two years of eligibility remaining.

"It's the moments that you share with the people you love that you're going to take with you," Te'o said.

"One day we're all going to pass on, and I'm not going to be able to take a Cadillac, I'm not going to be able to take the big mansion and all that stuff. The only things that I'm going to have are the memories I have here at Notre Dame, and with my family and back at home. Millions of dollars can't buy those."