‘Rudy' gets Irish offer

Notre Dame is reestablishing its reputation as a tight end friendly program and the top high school prospects are catching on. Junior Kyle Rudolph of Elder High School (Cincinnati, Ohio) might be the top tight ends in the Midwest next year and he was in town last weekend to watch the Irish take on North Carolina.

Prior to the game, Kyle Rudolph (6-foot-6, 225 pounds) listened to coach Weis speak to all the recruits in attendance and then he figured he would head out to the field with the other recruits. That's at least what Kyle thought the plan was.

"They had all 45 recruits in the meeting room," Rudolph explained when asked about the activities leading up the start of the game. "Coach Weis came in and talked to all of us for 45 minutes. At the end of his speech he told us that there were a lot of guys here and that he didn't have time to talk to everyone individually. Then one of the assistant coaches pulled me to the side and told me that coach Weis wanted to talk to me in his office.

"It went really well. He talked to my mom, my dad and me for a while in his office and then offered me a scholarship. I wasn't expecting it at all."

Rudolph will add the Notre Dame offer to othe4rs from Ohio State, Boston College, Virginia, Wake Forest, and Akron. It is very early in the recruiting process and Kyle will likely look at all of his options before he makes a decision.

"I think Notre Dame and Ohio State are my top two choices, but I'm still looking at everyone" Rudolph said. "I like Virginia. I like their history with tight ends so I've always liked them. I've been up to Michigan, and Illinois. I've been down to Wake Forest and I liked that a lot. I went up to Boston College for a camp and I really thought that was fun.

"I'd like to take some visits to see more campuses. I think it would be fun to take look at schools that aren't right here within three or four hours. I think it would be fun to take a look at some schools down south like Florida, or LSU, or something out west like USC.

"This is all kind of hard to put your hands around," Rudolph said. "As a kid growing up you watch all these school on TV and now you have to imagine yourself being on the team. It just hasn't quite hit me yet.

"I was talking to some of my high school coaches about this the other day. You kind of have to look past the football because all the programs are elite programs and they are all going to be good opportunities. But you have to look past that and ask yourself, ‘Do you want to associate yourself with the type of people [in the program]? Do you want to be around these people? What are you teammates like? What are your coaches like? What's the school like? What's the program like?'"

Notre Dame is becoming a program that is known for its tight ends and Rudolph has been impressed with the productivity from the tight end position.

"I will probably take a look at the number of catches that the tight end has. I don't want to go somewhere and just be a blocking tight end," Rudolph explained. "When we got up to Notre Dame, I was talking to coach Minter and coach Parmalee and they told me to watch [John] Carlson today. They said that he'd catch a lot of balls. They were saying how important the tight end is in Notre Dame's offense and how much Charlie Weis loves to use the tight end.

"Carlson had five catches in the first quarter and he ended up with 8 catches and a touchdown."

Maybe Notre Dame will be fortunate enough to have Kyle on the receiving end of those passes. If it were to happen, the Notre Dame crowd might end up chanting a familiar name at Notre Dame Stadium.

"All the guys at Elder call me ‘Rudy' instead of Kyle all the time," he explained. "With my last name being Rudolph. My grandpa was always called ‘Rudy', and then when my dad got older, all his friends started calling him Rudy. Then when I started getting old people started calling me Rudy. My sophomore year of basketball people started chanting it when I was at the line and then in football when I'd make a catch."

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