Notre Dame tight ends have averaged 47 receptions and 531 receiving yards a season since coach Weis took over the program. You'd be hard pressed to find that kind of production at other college football programs. Although those numbers are enticing to Alex Welch, he had several reasons behind his decision to select Notre Dame.
"There wasn't just one thing about Notre Dame, everything was very impressive," Welch said about his decision. "It's not just football, but the academics. There's a lot more to picking a college than how they use their tight end, but that definitely helped in my decision."
With Elder product Kyle Rudolph already on Notre Dame's campus, the former teammates will be competing for playing time. Scout.com recruiting analyst Bob Lichtenfels has watched both players play in person, and came away impressed by both.
"It is unfair for folks to compare the two just because they are from Elder," Lichtenfels explained. "Rudolph is one of the best I have seen play the position in the last five years. Welch is not far behind though. He has a great frame that will allow him to get a lot bigger. He is an outstanding blocker at the point of attack. Like Rudolph, he is also a vertical weapon that can line up in the slot or outside and stretch the field. In today's game you see so many specialized tight ends who are either big receivers or an extra lineman. Welch is a rarity, because he fits both styles."
Like Litchenfels, Scout.com recruiting analyst Baron Flenory believes that Welch will be one of the top tight ends in the 2010 class.
"Welch is a dynamic tight end that brings a lot to the table," Flenory said of Notre Dame's most recent commitment. "He is big, powerful and can run and catch. From a coaching standpoint, he is an O-Coordinators dream and a D-Coordinators nightmare. Because he is so physically gifted, you can play him so many different ways and in so many different schemes. You don't have to take him out of the game when you change the offensive package and that is huge. He can play flexed tight end (pass catching tight end) or you bring him into the box as a blocking TE.
"When he gets into a college offensive system, where the coach has him motioning and shifting, he is going to cause a lot of headaches. Going from inside the box, to motioning to a flex tight end and getting lined up against backers in space or motioning from flexed to then coming down and sealing the outside linebacker or defensive end on outside zone. You can only imagine how a coach is going to use him. Welch is big time."
Despite the glowing reviews from analysts and coaches from around the country, Welch still sees room for improvement.
"I think I need to work on my blocking at the point of attack," Alex said. "I think I'm kind of a little high at times. I also want to make my routes a little more crisp."
As a junior Welch caught 32 passes for 470 yards and four touchdowns.