April 27, 2008
NEW YORK - Former Notre Dame safety Tom Zbikowski (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) was selected Sunday by the Baltimore Ravens in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft with the 86th pick overall. Zbikowski was the first Irish player drafted Sunday and the third Notre Dame graduate to be taken in this year's NFL Draft (J. Carlson and T. Laws, second round).
Zbikowski becomes the third Notre Dame defensive back drafted in the last two years (Mike Richardson, New England and Chinedum Ndukwe, Cincinnati) and the earliest Irish defensive back taken since cornerback Brock Williams was selected with the 86th pick in the 2001 draft by New England. Zbikowski is the first Notre Dame player drafted by Baltimore since strong safety Gerome Sapp was taken in the sixth round (182nd pick overall) of the 2003 draft.
Zbikowski was one of the most exciting and electric players in school history and a true fan favorite. He started all 48 games in his career at safety and finished with 300, eighth-most in school history. Zbikowski became the eighth Notre Dame player to ever reach the 300-tackle plateau and shattered Jim Browner's previous school record for career tackles by an Irish defensive back of 228 tackles. Zbikowski was part of 19 turnovers in his career, recording eight interceptions, forcing seven fumbles and recovering four fumbles. He also added six tackles for loss, wo career sacks and eight passes broken up.
The Arlington Heights, Ill., native owns the school record for career fumble return yards (100) and shares the school record for career fumble returns for touchdowns (two) and single-season interceptions returned for touchdowns (two, 2005). He is tied for fifth in career interception returns for a touchdown (two) and his 199 career interception return yards ranks sixth all-time for the Irish. One of the top punt returners in school history, Zbikowski averaged 11.5 yards on 66 career punt returns and tallied three touchdowns on punt returns. He is tied for the school record in career punt returns for touchdowns with four players (Tim Brown, Nick Rassas, Allen Rossum and Ricky Watters).
Just the 15th two-time captain in Irish history (2006-07), Zbikowski was named a second-team All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation in 2006 and a third-team All-American by the Associated Press in 2005 and 2006. In 2007, the American Football Coaches Association honored the charitable work Zbikowski was a part of when they selected him to their Good Works Team. In May 2007, he graduated from Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters with degrees in sociology and computer applications and was enrolled in the graduate studies program during fall 2007.