NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame junior wide receiver Michael Floyd (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) will return for his senior season, Floyd announced Wednesday.
The 6-3, 227-pounder enters his final year at Notre Dame with the most touchdown receptions, second-most receptions and third-most receiving yards for a career in Irish history.
"This was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make in my life," Floyd said. "On the one hand, there was Notre Dame. This place has been an incredible home to me and the relationships I built here are ones I know I'll have for the rest of my life. On the other hand, there was the NFL. It has always been a lifelong goal to play football at the highest level and that is something I look forward to doing at some point. However, I'm pleased to say I will be returning to the University of Notre Dame for my senior season in 2011.
"I'm returning to Notre Dame for three reasons: to earn my degree, return Notre Dame to the top and improve myself as a player. First, I promised my mom I would graduate from Notre Dame and I am 40 credit hours shy of attaining that goal. I chose to attend Notre Dame in part because I knew it was a 40-year decision and not a four-year decision.
"Graduating from Notre Dame will help me for the rest of my life. Second, I want to get Notre Dame back to a BCS game. I believe we are very close to returning the Irish to where we belong and I want to be part of something great. Lastly, I want to show everyone in the country that I'm the best wide receiver in college football in 2011. There are many things I need to improve, but I feel with the coaching I have at Notre Dame, I can become the best at my position in this game."
Floyd has tallied 171 career catches for 2,539 yards with 28 touchdowns and started 29 of the 30 games he played for the Irish. Only Jeff Samardzija (179) has recorded more receptions than Floyd and only Golden Tate (2,707) and Samardzija (2,593) have totaled more career receiving yards than Floyd. He has registered 13 games in his career with at least 100 receiving yards (tied for second with Tom Gatewood; Golden Tate had 15) and Floyd's 84.6 receiving yards per game is the best career average of any Notre Dame player.
"I know Michael put a great deal of thought in determining whether he should enter the NFL this year and I truly appreciate and respect him for realizing the gravity of his decision," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. "Whether Michael went to the NFL this year or next year would not have changed my opinion that he will have a long and successful career at the next level. I would have supported Michael's decision either way, but obviously I am thrilled he will be part of our team in 2011.
"As I have said many times, I have never had a player work as hard as Michael. That work ethic and passion for football proved to be contagious in our locker room and it was not a coincidence that he represented the offense as a gameday captain more than any other player this year. I'm happy Michael feels it is in his best interests to return to Notre Dame to continue his education and I look forward to the expanded leadership role he¹ll have with the team this year."
The 2010 season was Floyd's best statistical season as he led the Irish with 79 receptions for 1,025 yards and 12 TDs. Only one Notre Dame player ever caught more passes in a season than Floyd in 2010 (Tate, 93 in 2009) while Floyd¹s touchdown reception total tied for fourth in Irish history and he ranked seventh in most receiving yards in a season by a Notre Dame player.
Floyd started a career-high 12 games in 2010 – missing only the Navy game – and was at his best in the last six games he played. Despite sitting out much of the second halves versus Western Michigan and Miami, Floyd totaled 44 receptions for 558 yards and nine TDs in the final six games of 2010.
As a sophomore, Floyd ranked second on the team with 44 catches for 795 yards and nine TDs while starting all seven contests he appeared in. Floyd eclipsed 100 yards receiving in a game on five occasions, tied for fourth most in a season by a Notre Dame player. His best performance occurred in the season opener versus Nevada as he set career highs with 189 receiving yards, three TDs and a long reception of 88 yards.
In 2008, Floyd set freshman records at Notre Dame for receptions (48), receiving yards (719) and receiving TDs (seven). He started 10 of 11 games played and his first career reception was a 22-yard TD catch, making him the fourth Notre Dame player since 1988 to record a TD with his first reception (Raghib "Rocket" Ismail and Derek Brown in 1988 and Derrick Mayes in 1992).