Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Off He Goes | by Pat

After completing a stellar senior season, Anthony Fasano announced that he will bypass his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft. On Monday he held a press conference to announce his decision.

"After a lot of thought and consideration, I have decided to make myself eligible for selection in the upcoming NFL Draft and will not return to Notre Dame for a fifth season," Fasano said. "This was not an easy decision for me to make. I was fortunate to have some of the best people in football to help me make this decision. The coaching staff at Notre Dame did a great job preparing me for the NFL. Coach Weis, the coaching staff, my professors and teammates have been a very positive influence in my personal growth on and off the field. While this ends my Notre Dame playing career, I know I will remain a member of the Fighting Irish football family for many years to come."
We wish him well and really do think it's a good decision for him. He'll have his degree, and he's already proven he's one of the best tight ends in the country. Also, he ended the season healthy which is important for someone who has a back injury on his C.V.

A couple of draftniks are contending that other early entry tight ends in the draft will push down Fasano's stock, but I'd counter that most of those tight ends can't block nearly half as well as Fasano. So while some teams obviously will go after the "jumbo athlete" tight end like Maryland's Vernon Davis (and hope they're getting the next Antonio Gates), I'm sure there are more than a few teams out there that just want a versatile player equally adept at both catching and blocking. As Weis has said repeatedly throughout the season, finding a well-rounded tight end who can do both in the NFL isn't exactly common, and I have to imagine that Weis' recommendation of Fasano won't fall on deaf ears.

He'll be missed, though. Fasano was just a great football player to watch, who never shied away from a hit and usually went out of his way to make sure his tackler left the collision with a new bruise. With sure hands and a mean streak while blocking, Fasano will leave school as one of the most productive tight ends in ND history. Statistically he's ahead of just about everyone other than Ken McAfee: #2 all-time in receptions, #2 all-time in yards.

In the end, though, what he'll probably be most remembered for is one play last September...