Blue and Gold Illustrated

June-July 2014

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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IN THE TRENCHES ANDREW OWENS O ne. Four. Six. Eight. Those are the number of Notre Dame players drafted under head coach Brian Kelly's watch in South Bend. The rising figure highlights the program's im‑ proved player development in re‑ cent seasons. For the Irish to com‑ pete with college football's elite, it's a number that needs to stay strong. "I don't think it's a coincidence that Notre Dame became a legiti‑ mate contender on the national scene the past few years and all of the sudden they have eight guys drafted,"'s Scott Wright said. "You look at the flip side of that coin, Texas has been struggling and nobody from that program gets drafted. "It doesn't take too much to read between the lines that the best teams have the most talent." Notre Dame's quick ascent to the BCS National Championship Game in Kelly's third season led to raised expectations in year four, but a 9‑4 campaign tempered the good feelings a bit. This draft haul makes the non‑BCS season even more frustrating for Irish faithful when you take into account how much professional‑caliber talent was on the roster. Nonetheless, the NFL trend is one Kelly will be quick to point out on the recruiting trail. NFL Draft Highlights Brian Kelly's Player Development Troy Niklas played linebacker as a freshman before mov- ing to tight end, the position the second-round draft pick will play for the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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