Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 1/6/12

Notre Dame junior tight end Tyler Eifert will remain at Notre Dame for his senior year and not enter the 2012 NFL Draft.

Eifert graded out as a third round prospect by the draft committee, just the perfect place to make the decision a very gray area. He will not follow in the footsteps of Kyle Rudolph, who had a very easy decision in declaring for the draft last year. Rudolph graded out as a first round prospect, and left South Bend to become a Minnesota Vikings’ second round pick.

A 2011 first-team All-American, Eifert led FBS tight ends with 63 receptions and 803 receiving yards. He broke Notre Dame’s record for most catches and receiving yards in a season by a tight end.

“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.”

Eifert ranked second on the Irish in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns (five) behind wide receiver Michael Floyd, a likely first round pick. Irish linebacker Manti Te’o is also a likely first round pick, but he also decided to stay in school another year.

“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.”

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