5 Manti Te’o, Linebacker, Senior 6’2″ 255 pounds
Te’o is becoming one of the most complete and dominant linebackers in the entire country. He is the ideal size and athletic ability for his position, and by coming back for his senior season, he has cemented his status as the top linebacker in the draft, possibly an even more appealing prospect than Luke Kuechly was in 2012. Te’o has all the tools to be a great leader at the next level, and potentially one of the top linebackers in the NFL before too long. He has the look of an instant impact player who can make plays behind the line of scrimmage as well as dropping back in coverage. In his last two seasons (2010, 2011) he has had 129 and 128 total tackles, leading the Irish. He’s got great range and can play sideline to sideline as well as stuff the middle. Pure MLB prospect who will start immediately upon being drafted, could be a top 10 pick.
Te’o is built like a freight train, and he hits like one. Not only is he one of the top linebackers eligible for the 2012 NFL Draft, he could be one of the best linebackers to come along in quite some time. Strong, tough, athletic linebacker prospect who had 63 tackles, 5.5 for loss, a sack, and a broken up pass as a starting true freshman. Followed up a stellar freshman campaign with 133 tackles as the clear starting inside linebacker in 2010, and added 9.5 tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble, and three passes broken up. He will have at least three years starting in a 3-4 defensive alignment, making him all the more attractive to those teams. Will be a force against the run in the NFL, and is athletic enough to make plays sideline to sideline. Bottom line is, this guy is a high effort player who vacuums up ball carriers like they are going out of style. He will be a tackling machine in the NFL, and should be a high draft choice should he choose to leave after his junior season.
80 Tyler Eifert, Tight End, Senior 6’6″ 251 pounds
Eifert has all of the attributes you look for in a dominant tight end, as a receiver at least. He has great length as well as athletic ability, and he is a nightmare to cover in the red zone. As a junior in 2011, Eifert had 803 yards on 63 catches, including five touchdowns. He’s got a slower start to the 2012 season, but the Irish are successful and he is a big reason why. Does a good job going up and getting the ball at its highest point. Not a great blocker but a good one who will really improve in that area as he continues to get bigger and stronger. Usually sure-handed, and should be one of the first tight ends drafted in the 2013 draft.
20 Cierre Wood, Running Back, Senior 6’0″ 215 pounds
Senior tailback is really shifty and quick, and good in the open field. Wood had over 1,000 yards as a junior, and displayed some solid ability as a pass catcher as well as a featured runner. Was suspended in 2012 for violating team rules, so he obviously has some off-field issues to get worked out, but he’s a solid overall prospect. Chose Notre Dame over UCLA and runs with good vision and patience. He has the ability to be an inside the tackles runner as well as a shifty back outside the tackles. He has the capability to score any time he touches the ball, but he needs to prove he is more dedicated to the team than whatever he’s getting into off the field.