SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Even in the bye week, Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate found a way to make some news.
The Irish junior was named the AT&T All-America Player of the Week Thursday after the fifth week of college football action.
It's the only major college football award chosen exclusively by fans, and more than 50 percent of ballots went to Tate. He is the second Notre Dame football player to be honored this season, joining junior quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who was selected after the first week of the season.
Even in Notre Dame's bye week, receiver Golden Tate finds himself in the news.
The Hendersonville, Tenn., product helped the Irish rally past Washington, 37-30, in overtime Saturday at ND Stadium. He hauled in nine receptions for 244 yards -- most in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season -- and one touchdown.
The 244 yards receiving is also the second most in school history, just 32 yards shy of Jim Seymour's 43-year-old record.
The Irish (4-1) began a four-day break from practice Thursday morning. They'll begin preparation for their Oct. 17 showdown with seventh-ranked USC (4-1) on Monday.
Moving on up
Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen continues to move up the NFL draft projections.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., has the 6-foot-2, 223-pound junior at No. 11 overall on his Big Board this week and fourth among quarterbacks behind Oklahoma junior Sam Bradford (No. 1 overall prospect), Washington junior Jake Locker (No. 4) and Texas senior Colt McCoy (No. 9).
Clausen is coming off a career-high 422-yard passing performance in that OT win over Washington that vaulted him to the top spot in the nation's passing-efficiency ratings.
"You're looking at the growth of a kid who always had the polish and now is gaining the intangibles, the patience and the accuracy," Kiper wrote in his ESPN blog. "I'm impressed with how he always finds the open man and goes through his reads. He also has continued to thrive even after losing a star receiver to injury when Michael Floyd went down.
Clausen hasn't committed to coming out as a junior, but ND coach Charlie Weis recently acknowledged that his quarterback might have a tough decision ahead of him this season.
"In Jimmy's case, if you move yourself up so high in the draft that it's an offer you can't refuse, then you have to seriously consider it," Weis said. "But I think that you never want to walk away from a Notre Dame education unless [an opportunity] to complete a Notre Dame education were presented to you.
"I'd love to have Jimmy here for this year and next year, but if he ends up playing so well this year that it warrants him making that decision, that probably will be a good thing for the success of our football team this year."
The 2010 NFL draft will be held April 22-24 in New York.
Eric Hansen covers Notre Dame for ESPNChicago.com and the South Bend Tribune.
Award-winning journalist Eric Hansen, 48, has been covering college athletics since 1983 and is currently assistant sports editor and the Notre Dame football beat writer for the South Bend Tribune.