Like varsity letterman jackets, standout tight ends have proven to be of abundance at the University of Notre Dame.  First it was superstar Anthony Fasano, then John Carlson leading the way for what is becoming "Tight-End U."   Now it’s sophomore Kyle Rudolph’s turn. And he might be the best one yet.
It took very little time for Rudolph to make his presence felt for the Irish last season.  He established himself quicker than a mosquito bite. 
Rudolph ended up re-writing most of the freshman tight end records:  first player to start every game (13), total receptions (29) and receiving yards (340) in a season. 
He was once Notre Dame’s best kept secret, now he’s marked with the proverbial X in opposing locker rooms. But don’t tell that to the humble Ohioan.     

“I think that’s definitely something that we’ll have to go through game- plan wise,” Rudolph told reporters after being asked if he thinks he’ll be a marked man this year.   “There are so many weapons in our offense with Mike [Floyd] and Golden [Tate] that if they put too much attention on me, then they might have other problems to worry about.”
The talent doesn’t stop at Rudolph either. Competing to back him up is senior walk-on Bobby Burger, junior Mike Ragone and freshman Tyler Eifert.  And just recently, Burger, who transferred from Dayton, was awarded a scholarship for his outstanding efforts.
 “That’s great for Bobby, we all knew it was coming,” Rudolph told reporters.  “Bobby was a hard worker last year on scout team and moved his way up and he’ll see a lot of good time this year.”
So often the tight end position is overlooked.  Head coach Charlie Weis is vastly changing that.  When you’re busy watching Clausen and Tate this year, make sure you pay some attention to Rudolph, No.9.
That is, if he doesn’t grab it first.