It’s that time of the year again. The NFL is coming to Notre Dame. Yes Pro Day 2021 is upon us. After successful careers at the University of Notre Dame, fourteen of Notre Dame’s eligible players will put their skills on display Wednesday March 31, at the Irish Athletics Center.
Previous to the NFL Pro Days, Notre Dame sent the highest amount of invitee’s to the Reese’s Senior Bowl with seven, as well as the most with six participants (Ben Skowronek did not participate due to injury). Notre Dame has had much success in the NFL and this class looks to continue that tradition. This years Reese’s Senior Bowl was very important as the NFL did not have the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this year. So every opportunity to get in front of the NFL Head Coaches, their staff and NFL Scouts is important. (*denotes invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl)
Thank you to John Tholen for the cover photo ☘
2021 NFL Pro Day Participants
Ian Book *
What a career for Ian Book. Book would trade all the awards and accolades in for a National Championship. He was one of the best interviewees in my short time of covering Notre Dame football. He is a natural leader despite all the criticism he took as the QB1 at Notre Dame. Book is a two time Team Captain and also a Pop Warner National College Football Award Winner. He had many other acknowledgements and recognitions during his Senior and Grad Student tenure.
To finish his career at Notre Dame, Book finished with the best record with a (30-5) at quarterback. Book finished tied for third all-time among all Irish quarterbacks with 17 rushing touchdowns, joining Rick
Mirer. Book finished second in passing yards with 8,948, passing touchdowns 72, total offense yards 10,466, total touchdowns 89, behind Brady Quinn. Book played in forty seven games, Passing Stats: 728 completions, 1,141 attempts, 20 INT’s, 8,948 Yards, 72 TD’s, 63.8 Passing %, AVG/G 190.38 QB Rating 147.00.
Ian Book was the leader of this team. When you would speak with him, it was talking to Coach Kelly. He knew what it took to get the job done. He held his teammates accountable for their actions, but he held himself to an even higher standard. Book will be missed from the ND line-up in 2021.
Aaron Banks *
What a career for Aaron Banks. He finishes his career as a consensus All-American. Associated Press All-America First Team, ESPN All-America Team, Sporting News All-America Second Team. He also made the All-ACC First Team, Associated Press First Team All-ACC.
Banks played in 38 games for the Fightin’ Irish. He made his first start against Navy in 2018. His Junior he only allowed two sacks in 844 snaps. His leadership on the offensive line helped the Irish develop a methodical and time of possession oriented team. With his leadership along with his battery mate’s Eichenberg and Hainsey the Irish were ranked eighth in the FBS in time of possession.
Liam Eichenberg *
Liam Eichenberg is the epitome of an offensive linesman. He finishes his career as a consensus All-American. Eichenberg was named to The Athletic All-America First Team and CBS Sports All-America Team. Most noted in his Grad Student season for playing with an eye that was swollen shut after taking a finger to the eyeball. During his tenure at Notre Dame, Eichenberg played in 43 games for the Fightin’ Irish. In his Senior year, he did not concede a sack on the year, allowing just three QB hits and nine hurries, while playing 845 snaps (496 pass plays), his Junior year he allowed just three sacks on the year while playing 939 snaps. Liam and his offensive line teammates with be dearly missed with their leadership and their “you’re not getting to our QB” attitude.
Robert Hainsey *
Robert Hainsey was one of the most stand-up guys on the team. Along with Book, Hainsey was a two time Team Captain of the Irish as well. Hainsey played in 46 games for the Fightin’ Irish. His Junior season was cut short by a season ending injury versus Virginia Tech. He did not allow a sack in 423 snaps, (252 pass plays) on allowing 2 QB hits and six QB hurries.
In his Senior year, along with his battery mate’s Banks and Eichenberg, rank eighth in the FBS in time of possession, controlling the ball for 33:57 minutes of game time. Behind its powerful offensive line, Notre Dame won the time of possession battle in 10-of-11 games this season. The 33:57 time of possession average leads the ACC by more than two minutes per game.
Tommy Kraemer was another one of those staples on the offensive line protecting Ian Book. He played in forty three games for the Fightin’ Irish. Kraemer was awesome along with the rest of his battery mates. Was a member of the Notre Dame Offensive Line that won the Joe Moore Award in 2017. In his Senior season, Kraemer not allow a sack, while conceding just one QB hit and three hurries, on pass-block snaps on the year. His Senior season was shortened after a knee injury at Michigan. The offensive line is losing quite a lot of experience.
JaVon had a slow start to his time at Notre Dame. Played in six games his Freshman season. Missed his Sophomore season due to an injury suffered in his Freshman season, played in four games his Junior year. In all McKinley played in thirty one games at Notre Dame. His career stats, 7 TD’s, 15 Rushing Yards, 53 catches for 985 Receiving Yards, Total Yards is 1,000. McKinley and Book hooked up late in the season on senior night for three touchdowns against Syracuse.
Tommy Tremble is exiting Notre Dame after his Junior season like Cole Kmet last season. Tremble was the epitome of a Tight End. Primarily tasked with blocking duties, Tremble made it possible for plays to develop and as he said, “he liked the physical contact” on the offensive side of the ball. But he could make the catch and run play as well. His two seasons for Notre Dame he garnered 4 TD’s (Sophomore season), 4 Rushing Yards, and 401 Yards Receiving. Tremble would make the opponent tremble with the catching and blocking skills.
Ben Skowronek *
What can you say about Big Ben Skowronek. Skowronek joins the Irish in a pandemic season and got his chance to be part of a crazy Team 132 season, After transferring from Northwestern University, he came in and filled a void left by Chase Claypool. Ben headed out west to California to start his workouts with Book. During that time the two formed a bond that carried into the regular season. Skowronek became Book’s go to receiver. Big Ben played in 11 game for the Fightin’ Irish. Skowronek racked up 6 TD’s (5 receiving and 1 rushing), and 439 receiving yards. Skowronek had to withdraw from the Senior Bowl after an injury occurred earlier in the week.
Daelin Hayes *
Daelin Hayes! Enough said right there. Another Team Captain on the field and off. If you were on offensive player you did not want to come up against him. When you got hit by him, you would now it was Daelin Hayes. Daelin was also the Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award Winner. Hayes played in 53 games for the Fightin’ Irish. He finished with 54 unassisted tackles, 41 assisted, for a total of 95 tackles. He also had 20.5 tackles for loss, 1 INT, 3 forced fumbles, and 5 fumble recoveries. Daelin is going to be a force to be reckoned with on Sunday’s in the NFL.
Can you say Concensus All-American! There are just too many accolades for “Wu” to document them all. All-American sums it up nicely. His Junior year paved the way for his Senior with the Fightin’ Irish. Started all thirteen games and tied the team high with 80 tackles his Junior season. Team high of 13.5 Tackles For Loss with 5.5 sacks. He also had 4 pass break ups, 3 QB Hurries, 2 Forced Fumbles, and 2 Fumble Recoveries. Three sacks in the Camping World Bowl and a fumble recovery.
His Senior year was stellar. Played twelve games, 42 Solo Tackles, 20 Assisted Tackles, 1 INT, 3 Forced Fumbles, and 2 Fumble Recoveries. His career numbers are just amazing 96 Unassisted Tackles, 46 Assists (142 total), 1 INT, 5 Forced Fumbles, and 4 Fumble Recoveries. Wu is going to bring a level of leadership wherever he goes in the NFL. The desire to do your best and bring others along is what Wu did. He is going to be a major absence on the defensive side of the ball this coming season.
Adetokunbo “Ade” Ogundeji *
Adetokunbo Ogundeji, I am going to missing trying to type and pronounce his name in my articles. Ade was not just the vocal leader of the defense, he was a Team Captain as well. During his tenure at Notre Dame, Ogundeji racked up 43 games played, 44 unassisted tackles, 36 assisted tackles, for a total of 80 tackles. He also had 17 tackles for loss, 6 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. Ade leaves a defense that has been turned around. That is the goal of any player. Leave a program that is much improved from the time you came in.
Talk about a guy being around for a while. Shaun Crawford joined the Irish in 2015. Plagued by injuries his Freshman, Sophomore and Senior seasons, Crawford had been with the program for six seasons. He has been around half of Coach Kelly’s tenure as Head Coach. When he wasn’t plagued by injuries he was an impactful player and named team Captain for the 2020 season. When Crawford made a play you knew it, especially if you were on the receiving end of his play.
In all Crawford played in thirty six games for the Fightin’ Irish. He also had the stats behind him as well. In his tenure at Notre Dame, he racked up 82 Unassisted Tackles, 39 Assisted for 121 Total Tackles, 7 Tackles For Loss, 4 INTS, 1 Forced Fumble and 3 Fumble Recoveries. Crawford was very patient through his injuries. He always came back better after getting bit by the injury bug. His leadership as well is going to be missed on the defensive side of the ball this coming season.
Nick McCloud transferred to Notre Dame from NC State and had an immediate impact on the Irish defense. In his first start, McCloud racked up five tackles (4 solo) as well as a pass break up against Duke. In his grad student season McCloud had 22 tackles, 16 solo tackles, 6 assisted tackles, 8 pass break ups and, 1 INT. McCloud played a role in the Clemson as he had two fumble recoveries, he was the first to do that since Julian Love did it against Vanderbilt in 2018.
As a Junior at NC State he ranked ninth in the ACC in passes defended. In his eleven games that season he had 2 INT’s, and 8 pass break ups. Ranked fourth on the team in tackles.
Brock Wright was an early enrollee at Notre Dame in January 2017. His freshman season, he played in eleven on special teams and a reserve Tight End. His Sophomore season he played in twelve games, his first career TD came against Wake Forest. Wright’s Junior year he played in thirteen games while starting in three. Two catches for forty five yards and was a utility guy playing on special teams, including kickoff return, punt coverage and field goal units. For his career Wright played in 48 games, 1 TD and, 78 Receiving Yards. Wright definitely was the utilitarian player for the Fightin’ Irish. He did what he was asked to do for the best of the team and just kept giving his best.
How To Watch The Pro Day Workouts
The on-field testing and drills will be televised live, beginning at 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN. NBC Sports commentators and Fighting Irish alumni Jac Collinsworth ‘17 and Corey Robinson ‘17 will host the one-hour live broadcast on-site. NBC Sports analyst and former NFL quarterback Chris Simms will provide analysis remotely. Notre Dame’s Dick Corbett Head Football Coach Brian Kelly will join Collinsworth and Robinson on air to discuss draft-eligible prospects, while John and Bobbie Arlotta Offensive Coordinator Tommy Rees and Bob Hinton Defensive Coordinator Marcus Freeman will also sit down with the hosts.
Additionally, fans can stream Pro Day live on Fighting Irish TV. For more info on how to access Fighting Irish TV, the University’s new way to watch Notre Dame Athletics on your television (e.g. Peacock, Hulu, etc), visit und.com/fightingirishtv.
Cheers and Go Irish!☘🏈🌩