Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 8, 2014 Issue

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

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Page 30 of 108

It's easy to understand why Koyack would be humble and understated at first. He arrived in 2011 on the heels of one record-setting tight end, Kyle Rudolph, leaving a year of eligibility behind to pick up an NFL paycheck. Another, Tyler Eifert, was on his way to following the same path. Koyack's classmate, Troy Niklas, would join the room a year later and leapfrog his way up the depth chart and into the NFL as well. Koyack, the country's No. 3-rated tight end prospect coming out of high school, according to 247Sports, was smothered by talented players in front of him on the field and when it came to speaking up in the locker room. Now, prior to the Rice opener, he's the only one of Notre Dame's five tight ends who has taken a snap in a college foot- ball game. He's as reliable a receiving option as the Irish have on their ros- ter for pressure situations, especially with the indefinite loss of senior wide receiver DaVaris Daniels. With those new responsibilities, he's also finding his voice. "The team definitely does respect me," he said. "There are a lot of guys who I remember last year weren't used to hearing me talk because I didn't really say much my first two years. When the time came to be a leader, MAKING NOISE Ben Koyack is on track to be the next breakout tight end at Notre Dame BY DAN MURPHY I rish senior tight end Ben Koyack is the quiet type. When he first started to reveal a talkative side a couple years ago, Koyack surprised everyone in Notre Dame's locker room. "I think he even surprised himself when he would speak up," tight ends coach Scott Booker said. "I don't think he was comfort- able yet speaking up. He's still not Mr. Rah-Rah, or a guy like Manti [Te'o], who really captivates and gets guys' attention. "He doesn't speak often, but when he does they know that he knows what he's talking about. He's been through a lot of fires with us."

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