"The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work." -Heisman Trust Mission Statement
Sophomore DE Stephon Tuitt has already collected 12.0 sacks in 2012. He ranks third in the FBS in sack yardage (89), tied for sixth in total sacks (12.0), tied for eighth in sacks/game (1.00) and tied for 10th in solo sacks (10).
Among FBS underclassmen, Tuitt leads the nation is sack yardage (89), ranks second in total sacks (12.0), ranks second in sacks/game (1.00) and ranks tied for second in solo sacks (10). He has already registered at least two sacks in three separate games (Navy, Purdue and BYU).
Only four underclassmen over the last eight seasons have averaged more sacks per game than Tuitt in 2012.
Tuitt was added to the midseason watch list for the Bednarik and Hendricks Awards. The Bednarik is presented annually to the top defensive player in college football, while the Hendricks is awarded to the nation's top defensive end.
Tuitt has more than doubled Aaron Lynch's total of five and a half sacks, which led Notre Dame in 2011. Tuitt is on pace for 13.0 sacks when including a bowl game.
Tuitt's 12 sacks are the most by an Irish player since Justin Tuck set the school record with 13.5 in 2003. They are also the most by an Irish underclassmen in school history.
Tuitt recorded a sack in four consecutive games to open the season. He was the first Irish player to accomplish the feat since Ryan Roberts had a sack in the first four contests of the 2000 season.
Tuitt scooped up a fumble and rumbled 77 yards for a touchdown to give the Irish a 27-0 second-quarter lead on Sept. 1 over Navy.
The touchdown fumble return was the longest since Steve Lawrence had a 79-yarder in 1985 and third longest in school history.
Tuitt is the first Irish defense lineman in 18 years to score a touchdown. The last time it occurred was a 20-yard fumble return by nose guard Alton Maiden on Nov. 9, 1996 in a 48-21 victory at Boston College. A week earlier, defensive end Renaldo Wynn had a 24-yard fumble return for a score -- against Navy in Dublin, Ireland as well in a 54-27 win.
Notre Dame's offensive line is led by senior LT Zack Martin. He was a candidate for the prestigious Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy.
Martin, who has another year of eligibility after 2012, has started all 38 games for Notre Dame over the last three seasons. He has won the Guardian of the Year Award, presented by the Guardian Life Insurance Company, to the top Irish offensive lineman in each of the last two years.
Martin has allowed zero sacks since the second possession of the season opener. Martin, who grades out at a team-high 92 percent and leads the offensive line with 123 knockdown blocks, allowed his only sack of the season on the opening drive of the Navy game.
In 2011, Martin had the highest grade of any offensive linemen and recorded the most snaps. He led the team in knockdown blocks, extra individual effort and allowed only one sack plus permitted the fewest defensive pressures.
#80 tyler eifert
Senior Tight End 6-6 251 Fort Wayne, IN Bishop Dwenger HS
Mackey Award Winner (Best Tight End) | All-America Candidate
Senior TE Tyler Eifert - a 2011 and 2012 Mackey Award finalist - was the only tight end on the 2012 Maxwell Award Watch List, an award that goes to college football's player of the year. He was also on the watch list for the Lombardi award, and was the consensus preseason first-team All-American tight end.
Eifert now ranks No. 1 in school history for career receptions (134) and career receiving yards (1,779) by a tight end.
Thirty-three of Eifert's 44 catches this season have resulted in a touchdown or first down.
Eifert leads Irish with 12 receptions of at least 20 yards.
Of his now 134 career catches, 31 have gone for at least 20 yards.
Eifert is the second Notre Dame tight end ever to collect 11 or more touchdown receptions. Ken MacAfee (1974-77) holds the school record with 15.
Eifert's 134 career catches rank eighth in school history.
Eifert became the third Irish tight end to ever collect at least 100 career catches. Eifert joined Ken MacAfee (128; 1974-77) and John Carlson (100; 2004-07).
Eifert had a reception in 22 consecutive games, which was the longest streak by an FBS tight end in the country, before failing to make a catch in the victory at No. 10 Michigan State on Sept. 15.
Eifert was the fifth Irish tight end in school history to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in a career. He joined Ken MacAfee (1974-77), Anthony Fasano (2002-05), John Carlson (2004-07) and Kyle Rudolph (2008-10).