Jan. 5, 2011
Brian Kelly on Kyle Rudolph:
"Kyle Rudolph has a very bright future ahead of him and he will instantly make some lucky NFL team much better next year. I know this was a tough decision for Kyle because of the great relationships he formed at Notre Dame and he will be missed in the locker room next year. But we are happy for him and his family and are excited to watch him represent the University of Notre Dame during this next chapter of his life.
"Kyle is a terrific talent and I enjoyed coaching him this year. He made some incredible plays for a guy his size. Who will ever forget that 95-yard touchdown play against Michigan? When I recruited Kyle as a high school senior in Cincinnati, I knew he was a special player, but over the last year I witnessed what a great person he is, too. I look forward to seeing him around campus in the future and watching him on TV from my office on Sunday afternoons."
Kyle Rudolph Opening Comments:
Notre Dame is such a special place and because of all the people I met over the last three years this decision was very tough for me. I truly feel I have grown up here and this has become a home away from home for me.
There are so many people to thank for helping me get to this point in my life that if I named every person it would take me all day. But I feel I have to name a few because of the impact they had on me. First, and foremost, I want to thank my parents and my family. You have always been there for me and provided unconditional love and support that I cherish. Secondly, all of the great coaches I've had the pleasure to play for, especially Coach Kelly, Coach Weis, Coach Denbrock and Coach Parmalee. Coach Weis and Coach Parmalee were big reasons why I originally came to Notre Dame and Coach Kelly and Coach Denbrock are reasons why it is so tough to leave. My teammates have been what made this experience so special and made this decision so difficult. This team is about to take Notre Dame back to the top and while I won't be around to help you do that, I'll be watching and cheering every game next year. I also want to thank the teachers and professors at Notre Dame plus all the support staff that helps the football team and student-athletes at Notre Dame. Last, but certainly not least, the Notre Dame fans and community. There truly is a special spirit on our campus and the fans and community are an integral element of keeping that alive.
I truly feel blessed for the last three years of my life at Notre Dame. It has been a great experience I wouldn't trade for anything and wish everyone could experience something like this just once in his or her life. It has also been a dream of mine to play in the National Football League and so I will forgo my final season of eligibility at Notre Dame and enter my name for the 2011 NFL Draft.
Was this a tough decision?
Yes, this was a very tough decision for me because I'm a Notre Dame guy. I love South Bend. I made a lot of great friends and I'll miss my teammates a lot. I came to Notre Dame with the intention of helping to return the program to the BCS and get us back to where we belong. There are still many things I would have liked to accomplish, but I felt this decision was best for my family and myself.
How did you go about making this decision?
I spent a lot of time with my parents. We went through all the possible options and felt this was the best decision for my future and me.
Do you have any idea where you might be drafted?
I have heard anything from late first round to the second round. When I got my evaluation back from the NFL it said second round.
What have you heard about the potential NFL lockout and did the lockout make your decision tougher?
In the beginning there was much more talk about a possible lockout and a missed season but everything I've heard now makes it sound like there won't be any games missed and something will happen after the Super Bowl.
How tough is it leaving your friends and teammates?
It's really tough. You get really close to those guys and it definitely makes a decision like this harder.
How far from graduation are you and do you plan to return to get your diploma?
I have two semesters left and I do plan to return to get my degree.
How is your rehab going and where will you workout between now and the NFL Draft?
My rehab is going great. I am ahead of schedule and I'm coming along nicely. I plan on working out in California.
What will you miss most about Notre Dame?
I'm going to miss my teammates and the guys that I hung around with every day in the locker room and became so close to.