SportsCrack Blog

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Image courtesy of AP

Notre Dame received some bad news yesterday when it was revealed starting tight end and All-American candidate Kyle Rudolph has a torn hamstring that will require surgery. Immediately.

Losing Rudolph hurts. He's the best tight end in the country and is one of QB Dayne Crist's favorite targets. You can't just replace a 6'7 target who rips off 95 yard TD catches like Rudolph. But the Fighting Irish will have to have players step up.

One of the candidates to replace Rudolph are Tyler Eifert who is a sophomore and has been slowed down by a shoulder sprain this season. Eifert is 6'6 and has good hands but doesn't have the blocking skills of Rudolph. Senior Mike Ragone was expected to be the next budding superstar tight end when he was recruited by Charlie Weis to follow in the footsteps of Anthony Fasano and John Carlson. Knee injuries, an off-field incident and Rudolph has hampered his ability to see the field much in his career at ND. Now is his chance to step up. Also waiting in the wings is sophomore Jake Golic.

My prediction is Ragone steps up and takes advantage of this huge opportunity. Ragone has the speed and the skill to be an excellent choice to replace Rudy at the tight end position. He just needs more reps. He should get them and forget about the drop pass he had last week against Pitt. He knows now that if he messes up he will still be given a chance to see the field which I think will do wonders on his confidence.

Losing Rudy for the season hurts the Irish today but it might help them next season. Rudolph is the nation's premier tight end prospect and was expected to weigh an early entree decision into the NFL draft after his junior season. Now with the expected recovery time of 4-6 months from the hamstring surgery it appears it would be in his best interest to come back for his senior season and rehab while getting his degree.

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