Tight end will be one of the deepest positions for the Irish heading into the 2011 season. Kyle Rudolph is heading to the NFL, but the Irish have quality depth in place to carry on. Tyler Eifert emerged as a star when Rudolph went down in the sixth game of the season. Mike Ragone will return for a fifth year. The Irish will also have junior Jake Golic and promising sophomore Alex Welch. In June, the Irish will add Under Armour All-American Ben Koyack to the depth chart.
At this point, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Koyack is as much a jumbo wide receiver as he is a tight end. Eifert was a wide receiver in high school, and Brian Kelly compared Koyack to Eifert during his signing day press conference. Koyack is prototypical tight end for Kelly's offense. Koyack has the ability to split out as a wide receiver, and also has the ability to put his hand down and help out in the running game.
Koyack has better than average speed, so he can stretch a defensive secondary. He has outstanding body control, which allows him to go up and battle for jump balls. He has the ability to create space with the defender and come down with the football. Koyack has outstanding hands and is a natural receiver.
Koyack is ranked as the No. 1 tight end in the country by Scout.com. As a senior, he had 62 receptions for 1,031 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Koyack has the talent to play as a freshman, but with the amount of depth and experience the Irish have at tight end, it might be wise to put Ben on ice, let him develop physically, and then bring him out in 2012.
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