Dec. 16, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame junior tight end Tyler Eifert headlines a quartet of Irish football players that have been named to various 2011 All-America squads. Eifert was not only a first-team selection by the Walter Camp Football Foundation and second-team choice by the Associated Press, but also he earned third-team accolades from Rivals and Phil Steele as well as honorable mention status from Pro Football Weekly and SportsIllustrated.com.
Eifert (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger) - a Mackey Award finalist - hauled in 57 receptions for 713 yards and five touchdowns this season. He led all NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision tight ends in catches and ranked second among the same group in receiving yards. Eifert broke the single-season school record for receptions by a tight end and only eight players in single-season school history have recorded more catches. He stands second on the single-season receiving yards by a tight end list. Eifert needs 85 yards in the Champs Sports Bowl against Florida State to break Ken MacAfee's single-season school record for receiving yards by a tight end (797, 1977).
Eifert became the 185th first-team All-America selection in Notre Dame history and the first tight end to garner such status since Derek Brown in 1991. Eifert is the sixth Notre Dame tight end since 1973 to earn first-team All-America accolades joining Dave Casper (1973), Ken MacAfee (1975-77), Tony Hunter (1982), Mark Bavaro (1984) and Brown.
Te'o (Laie, Hawaii/Punahou) leads the Irish with 115 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and four and a half sacks. He became the 10th player in Notre Dame history to record 300 tackles for a career and currently ranks eighth in school history with 311 career stops.
Floyd (Saint Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) set a school single-season record with 95 receptions and led the Irish with a career-high 1,106 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches. His 174 receptions over the last two seasons are the most by any Notre Dame player in consecutive seasons - and Floyd became just the second Notre Dame player to record two seasons with at least 60 receptions.
Owner of five career school records, Floyd will leave Notre Dame as the most prolific wide receiver in school history. He already has registered the most career receptions (266), receiving yards (3,645), touchdown receptions (36), receiving yards per game average (86.8) and 100-yard receiving games (17).
Floyd, who ranks tied for 17th in NCAA FBS history in touchdown grabs, has the chance to become the eight wideout in FBS history to rank among the top 25 all-time in touchdown receptions, catches and receiving yards. He needs to register at least six catches and 57 yards in the Champs Sports Bowl against Florida State to join the select group.
Lynch (Cape Coral, Fla./Island Coast) was named a first-team freshman All-American by Phil Steele and Scouts Inc. (ESPN's Todd McShay) listed him as the No. 3 overall freshman in the nation. He has registered 28 total tackles, including 17 solo stops, five and a half tackles for loss and four sacks. Lynch ranks second on Notre Dame in sacks and fourth in tackles for loss and leads the team with 13 quarterback hurries. While the Irish track quarterback pressures at home, not every Notre Dame opponent does the same on the road. Nonetheless, the 13 quarterback hurries are the most by an Irish player in a single season since the stat began getting tracked in 1998.
Atkinson (Stockton, Ca./Granada) - who was a SportsIllustrated.com honorable mention All-America selection - was named a second-team freshman All-American by Phil Steele. He has averaged 27.4 yards per kick return and returned a pair for touchdowns in 2011. Atkinson III is the first Irish player to have multiple kickoff returns for touchdowns in the same season since Allen Rossum in 1997. The two touchdown kickoff returns in a single-season also equal the Notre Dame school record. He is the second Irish freshman to ever return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same season. Raghib "Rocket" Ismail had a pair in 1988.
Tuitt (Monroe, Ga./Monroe Area) was named a third-team freshman All-American by Phil Steele. He collected 27 tackles, including nine solo stops, two tackles for loss and one sack, despite playing in just eight games. Tuitt registered the fourth-most tackles of any Irish defensive lineman.