Top 25 player countdown: No. 2

No. 2. Tyler Eifert, TE

2011 numbers: Eifert caught 63 passes for 803 yards -- both of which are Notre Dame records for a tight end -- and he added five touchdown receptions last season, becoming a finalist for the Mackey Award and making a number of All-American teams.

Making the case for Eifert: Named to the preseason watch list for both the Mackey and Maxwell Awards -- the only tight end to make the latter list -- Eifert enters 2012 as arguably the nation's best tight end. Having turned down NFL fortunes in the offseason for another year of school, Eifert will be the Irish's go-to target, spread all over the field to stretch defenses. He enters the season 39 catches and 605 receiving yards shy of breaking Ken MacAfee's school career record in each category.