Less than a month before national signing day, Brian Kelly's best recruiting job may have come in-house.
All-American tight end Tyler Eifert will return to Notre Dame for this senior year.
Eifert told WSBT Sports immediately following the Champs Sports Bowl loss that he had to take time to figure out where his heart was at. Apparently, its still at Notre Dame, and the Irish all-american will follow it back to campus.
"This was a tough decision for me, but it came down to where do I want to be most next year," Eifert said. "I have some great friends on the football team and at Notre Dame and I'm excited about the direction Coach Kelly has us going. Ultimately, the entire Notre Dame experience, including the great relationships I have with my teammates and coaches, told me Notre Dame is where I belong."
"I'm obviously very happy that Tyler will be part of our team next year," head coach Brian Kelly said. "It's always a good thing when an All-American decides he wants to spend another year in your program. Tyler is an exciting, athletic tight end who is an essential part of our offense. I'm happy he has decided to come back to finish his degree and help us to secure a championship season."
The return of Eifert, a 2011 Mackey Award finalist gives the Irish a go-to weapon in the passing game. The graduation of projected first round NFL pick Michael Floyd, along with the possible loss of Eifert, would have meant a major overhaul of the Irish offense.
Eifert caught 63 passes for 803 yards and five touchdowns in 2011.
"I feel I still have many areas I can improve as a player," Eifert said. "I need to get physically stronger to become a better blocker and I can always improve my route running. I'm confident that will happen in the next year."