Prized Early Enrollee

All-American tight end Tyler Eifert will return for his senior season in South Bend.

He broke a 34-year-old mark for receptions in a season. He fell just short of his position's record for touchdown grabs, but in the process surpassed the mark for receiving yardage among the program's long list of legendary tight ends.

And now Tyler Eifert has followed in the footsteps of teammates Michael Floyd and Manti Te'o with his choice to return to Notre Dame for his fourth and likely final season in South Bend.

In short, Notre Dame just landed its top offensive recruit for the 2012 season.

After a quality seven-game starting stint to conclude the 2010 campaign, the record-setting Eifert emerged as one of Notre Dame's best players in 2011, catching 63 passes for 803 yards and five scores. His 90 career receptions are tied with former teammate Kyle Rudolph for fourth all-time, 38 shy of Ken MacAfee's career mark.

Eifert's return offers head coach Brian Kelly and position coach Mike Denbrock a conveniently staggered depth chart at tight end for 2012. Eifert will be a senior as will the untested Jake Golic, with promising backups Alex Welch a junior and Ben Koyack a sophomore entering the fall. All but Koyack have a redshirt-season they could tack on after graduation, though in Eifert's case, that appears unlikely. Top Stories